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Bus to tiny home conversion

 
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I have a 40' bus, which we are converting to a tiny home. I purchased it partially converted. I'm a single mom, definitely not a carpenter, but thankfully have my dad and a few other brave volunteers. 🙂

My ultimate goal is solar power, off-grid, but it will be a work in progress for awhile. We are getting ready to level it, and do a pole barn type metal roof.

I have plans for a homemade composting toilet, stand-alone bathroom and kitchen sinks, (& hoping all those YouTube diy videos will pay off!! 🥴) and a freestanding shower, (round & tiny).
My primary reason for the added roof is the extra insulation and a gutter system for the water catchment system I plan on building. Any thoughts or advice in general are appreciated!

My primary question at this time, however, is this:  I'm currently planning on installing a stone floor in the front, living area where my tiny woodstove will be. What I'm wondering is, is there anything special that would need done before stone is laid on the plywood? I live in the Ozarks and we grow rocks profusely around here (😂), so finding enough thin, large stones shouldn't pose a problem for this small area, approximately 7 or 8 ft in length. Also, does anyone know of any reason this wouldn't be a good idea?

My other question is, I've studied earthen floors for almost 2 years now and absolutely love them, and have gotten to thinking on the possibility and feasibility of perhaps installing an earthen floor in this small space, instead.

Any advice from anyone more knowledgeable than me? The gentleman who began converting my bus laid plywood subflooring throughout. Does anyone have any ideas as to how the plywood could affect the earthen floor-creating process?

Thanks, and have a great rest of the week! 🙂
 
pollinator
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In my opinion fro experience and earthen will crack because there still may be movement under the earth.
As for protecting the floor from a fire, and air gap of aboiut 30mm minimum , plus a solid layer in non combustible material IE cement sheet is a minimum requirement.
 
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Hi,  I'm not sure of the weight bearing load of the bus floor. You may have to support the floor between the frame to make it strong enough to support the concrete pad, or earthen floor, for the stove.
 
Debra Rains
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I'm not a builder, so this question may sound stupid. How do you go about providing that tiny air gap?
Also, I believe we are supporting the frame in strategic areas with rr ties.
Thank y'all.
 
gardener
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There are several good "Skoolie" conversion sites online, with folks who have actually done conversions and have real experiences with those conversions.  Couple of quick questions: It sounds like you are not really going to be travelling?  My concern with heavy stone flooring additions is that if you are traveling and for some reason you are in a crash does that flooring become a reason for concern in flying debris.
 
John C Daley
pollinator
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Any gap can be provided by installing a frame around the perimeter of the 'hearth', with a couple of bars in the middle.
These bars would be steel and 30mm high.
The cement sheet would be screwed to those bars giving you a flat surface with a space underneath.
 
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Hi, Debra

Here are some threads that may answer your question about earthen floors:

https://permies.com/t/33660/suitable-layout-earthen-floor-cob

https://permies.com/t/92756/Earthen-Floor-Idea-Wood-Subfloor

https://permies.com/t/17088/earthen-floor-wooden-floor
 
Debra Rains
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Great information and links. Thanks!
 
Debra Rains
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Robert Ray:  nope, it will be fixed in place. I would definitely give that some serious thought if it were going to be mobile. Thanks!
 
master gardener
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Reading between the lines, I am assuming to have no plans to move the bus once the conversion has taken place,   I would build a small concrete block L cove for the wood stove to fit into.   It will be relatively inexpensive and should significantly add to the safety factor.  Be sure to allow for air circulation around the stove.
 
Debra Rains
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John F Dean,

I'm open to anything that increases safety precautions. I will be putting up a partial metal sheet against the wall, where the window will have been and large enough to male a good heat reflector (or whatever the correct terminology would be) as well as we were planning to construct a stone hearth.
Would this L block structure you mentioned work in conjunction with that, or replace it? I don't  believe I've seen this, and wonder if you could provide a link that would illustrate it??
Thanks so much.  Have a great day. 🙂
 
Debra Rains
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...** To MAKE a good heat reflector...
🙃🤨🙂
 
John F Dean
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Hi Debra,

To word things a little loose, I am talking about adding a small concrete block “closet” to put the stove into. I don’t know the size of your stove, but to provide an example, let’s say a 4 foot cube. Add or subtract from the Dimensions as needed....with metal roofing material. This would stick out from the side of the vehicle....therefor, not taking up floor space.
 
Rocket Scientist
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I would add to this idea that the concrete block cube should have insulation all around it, so it can store heat from the stove and not try to heat the outdoors. A simple 2x4 frame with weatherproof skin, and the cavities stuffed with insulation, would do it. This would need to be raised from the ground to bus floor level and have sufficient footing to not crack or tilt with frost heave, assuming that is an issue where you live. As the bus has no deep footings, this cube would not need them either, just a solid base, and a flexible joint with the bus so that differential movement which is inevitable can be accommodated.

If you have no masonry experience, dry-stacking the blocks and surface-bonding them is a simple and reliable method.
 
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