Flooring material choices for conversion

Wondering if anyone has experience with solid wood flooring inside a conversion. I am interested in installing a high quality ipe or teak solid wood floor in our 4x4 sprinter. The weight of the floor will be about 150 lbs. I have heard many stories of rubber, plastic and vinyl flooring swelling and moving with temperature swings. These wood species seem very stable and moisture resistant. The plan would be to glue it down to the OEM plywood flooring. Any thoughts or concerns other than the weight and price?
 

mike.marcacci

Adventurer
I have no experience with real wood as a van floor, but I too heard all the warnings about vinyl expanding and shrinking with heat. At the end of the day, though, we put in a single large vinyl sheet, and I am SO glad we did. We purchased it from Home Depot, and glued it right to the plywood. It’s hasn’t budged, most people think it’s real wood, and it’s been easy to keep clean / mop up spills. Also, it’s light and cheap.

We’ve only been on the road for about 8 months now, but we’ve had some 20 degree nights and 110 degree days. We haven’t yet had something like -20 for days on end, so if you want to handle those conditions, I can’t really comment.

Good luck!


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Thanks. Yes, no plans for below freezing weather but really like the feel of real wood flooring. Unless I hear any horror stories or reasons not to do it I think I will probably end up going the wood route.
 

Wyuna

Observer
Timber is a material that likes to move, depending on humidity, temperature eta,

If you are going to use timber, make sure its seasoned, and Quarter Cut will move less, regardless if it glued down.

Don't forget to seal it, stains are a pain to get out of Teak.

Should look good, once its done
 

Bike_Mech

Adventurer
Teak soles and decks in sailboats are pretty common. The natural oils in teak make it a great material for it's natural mold and waterproof properties, but it still expands and contracts based off heat and humidity. It's not cheap. I've got a handful of boat building books that describe the process of installing and maintaining teak surfaces. If your serious I'd recommend checking some of those out.(From a Bare Hull, Ferenc Mate has a nice chapter on teak deck) or doing some Googling. I would look into boat deck construction. Layout your pattern, drill the countersunk holes and attach the teak to your substructure with quality screws, install dowel plugs ontop of the screws to cover the heads, saw those off flush with the surface, caulk the gaps, sand it all nice and flat. Easy as that!

I'd be curious if some of the teak and holly plywoods would be less susceptible to movement, as most plywoods are. This stuff runs $300-$400 a 4x8 sheet. $10-$13 a square foot. And it'd be a LOT easier.

https://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/show_product.do?pid=51940

-Chris
 
I was thinking about using the plywood. A few places I read said that it dented pretty easy since the veneer is so thin. That would be my only concern there. I am also considering Ipe screwed down to plywood.
 

Bike_Mech

Adventurer
Yeah, imagine coming back from a hike with an un-known rock stuck in your boot and denting/scratching your beautiful floor.

-Chris

I was thinking about using the plywood. A few places I read said that it dented pretty easy since the veneer is so thin. That would be my only concern there. I am also considering Ipe screwed down to plywood.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
There is a marine product I spotted on a custom million dollar 52 ft racing boat that was interesting. Teak looking but engineered synthetic, nice feel on the feet, no wood negatives like finishing it etc. cant recall what it was called but I have thought it would be s great material for RVs or van campers etc.
 

southpier

Expedition Leader
the loco (sic) bike shop installed some synthetic wood flooring.

and then runners over it because every third customer on a rainy day would end up on his backside.
 

broncobowsher

Adventurer
Any thoughts of using cork? Saw it in a flooring store and thought it would be a good choice. I didn't know they made cork flooring until I saw it.
Looks like it would hide dents and scratches pretty good and still sweep clean.
 

Joe917

Explorer
Wood is about the worst flooring material for a camper floor, it us very susceptible to moisture and temperature changes.
 
I would think that the entire yacht building industry would disagree with you. In fact, what material do you prefer that is NOT susceptible to moisture and temperature changes, that also feels nice to walk on in bare feet and can be refinished with simple tools like sanding and some oil?
 

Joe917

Explorer
Solid wood (ie 3/4" hardwood) is very bad at handling moisture. This is why the marine industry uses marine ply with hardwood veneer. You will also find many synthetic "wood look" products in the marine world.
Wood is nice to walk on but will not wear well compared to vinyl(as much as I dislike the environmental issues with the product) or plastic laminates. my 2cents.
 
It is a very general statement to say wood is bad at handling moisture. People have teak furniture and decks that sits outside all year and as long as it is maintained (oiled etc) will last a very long time. Wood is used as roof shaking and siding and can last many years. Although it is common, not all wood in the marine industry is ply. Many people I know have solid teak decking on their boats. Most of the piers and docks I have ever come across are made from wood.

I have had wood floors in bathrooms of many homes and they all last very long as long as they are maintained. Maintenance is the key with any wood product as much as selecting the right wood and cut. 1/4 sawn helps control expansion.

I would rather leave the metal floor in my van bare than use vinyl... but that is just me.
 

southpier

Expedition Leader
teak furniture left outside "rusts". oiled teak mildews. I have cleaned so much frickin' teak in my life I think the product should be banned. scrubbing teak with dawn detergent and green scotchbrite pads, counting strokes to make the end result an even finish, and having to wait two days between sessions so my fingers would stop bleeding. I hate teak furniture.
 
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