I spotted a box sticking out of a dumpster near a construction site I was working on. Not being particularly shy when it comes to exploring the contents of dumpsters, I climbed-up and stood on the broad steel lip. Below, amid a pile of the not quite garbage you get when storage lockers are being cleaned-out, sat five unopened boxes of hardwood flooring. The foreman was kind enough to let me load the back of his truck with the boxes and they eventually made it home.
Though initially a source of excitement and possibility, the boxes sat for months, they moved when we moved, they because part of the homogeneous mass that threatened to over-take my in-laws' garage, then part of the pile I had to constantly walk around in the bus.
And now, it was finally time to use them.
Any reformed pack-rat will agree, moments like these are exciting: a mix of cleaning house and accomplishing a to do list.
I set-up my nailer and compressor, primed the silicone gun and turned-up the Ipod. Because the flooring was to be applied to a moving surface, it seemed wise to add a little bit of silicone to the underside of each board to help deal with the flexing and twisting of the bus chassis as we drove.
Except for the inevitable knee pain induced by using a finishing nailer to do what a flooring nailer should be, the install was a dream. I started against the driver's side wall and laid the flooring outward. Gluing and nailing as I went along.
I was happy putting the flooring in, cut-offs in the stove kept the temperature nice, the planks went together easy and the book I was listening to was great. I didn't want to stop.
I did, eventually, get carried away and took the flooring all the way to the back of the bus, through the bathroom. I haven't seen many bathrooms with hardwood floors and I'm guessing the fact that wood expands greatly in the presence of high moisture levels may have something to do with this. But I was having so much fun, and the joint was starting to look classy.
What the hell? Maybe there's a good way to water-proof the flooring in the bathroom, maybe I'll have to cut-out that section and replace it with linoleum. Until the plumbing's done, it doesn't much matter and besides, it's not like it cost anything, just a little jump in a dumpster.
Note: Dumpster diving is the cheapest way I've found to obtain construction materials. Though you can find anything in dumpsters all year, spring is often the boon as it's the season to not only clean house, but move. The key is to not be shy, climb-up and have a look. If someone asks what you're doing, tell them. Most people won't care and sometimes are even willing to help. As with all things: The worst thing you can do is not try.