Saturday, November 17, 2018


See Part 1 for a description of why I chose Flor carpet tiles for our van.

Given that I want these tiles to essentially constitute three free-floating mats, I decided to try 2 mm cable ties to lash them together at the corners.   That process went like this:

Arrange the visual pattern, flip the tiles over, and mark the drilling locations.
The carpet backing is so dense that I don't think they will pull apart even if force is put on them.

I fitted a cable tie to figure out which was the optimal drill bit size, given that I need the ties to lay flat.
Drill, baby, drill.
The snippers are pointing directly at one of the cable tie heads inserted and looped through these holes.  Can you see it?
Probably not - it's a disruptive carpet pattern with black in it.  Plus I can kind of "fluff" some carpet fibers over the cable tie where it emerges on the front side.  
You are probably wondering about the obvious question: if we step on those cable tie heads in bare feet, won't it hurt?

For the two sets of three Flor tiles bound together down the center of the van, this is not likely to be a problem because the ties are pushed to the absolute edges of the carpet tiles.  That leaves the pair in front of the slider door as possible issue in this regard.  I stepped on a head in bare feet, and while I could feel the head, the carpet cushioned the experience, and it wasn't like stepping on a pebble or anything.

I had to trim the fore-most (as opposed to aft-most) pair to size, and Airstream's squaring of the cabinetry opposite the sliding door was atrocious.
It was off-square by 1.5 cm over a span of just 19.7".  
But I was able to fit the area by measuring carefully and cutting the carpet tile with a razor blade.
Wide angle GoPro shot from above.  Freakish.
It's hard to tell from the wide angle, but the Flor tiles are virtually identical to the width of the wet bath door.  The placement was obvious.

Anyway, these groupings are fairly heavy now that they are cable-tied together - they tend not to slide around.  Next I will road test this assemblage and see if they need any additional measures to keep them in place. 
Another wide angle shot.

Saturday, November 10, 2018


I have a feeling this will be a multi-part blog post.  Ultimately, I'm not sure how I'll configure these tiles in our Airstream Interstate - that answer will come with trial and error. 

Background:  I wanted a mat or carpet solution that would be easy to remove from our rig for cleaning purposes.  We almost always boondock, we are often chain-sawing and hacking our way through the wilderness, and I cannot use a vacuum because we don't have shore power for weeks at a time.  I have to remove any mats or rugs I use, and get the dirt out of them the old fashioned way - by beating them. 
I am not the very last person on earth to remember this Les Nessman quote, but I'm really, really close, as evidenced by the fact that I can't find a decent meme of it, or even a complete reference.
To this end, I did NOT want a conventional fitted rug such as this one:
Look at that - it can't even be kept clean long enough to do a quick YouTube video.  And what would I do with the likes of this without a vacuum?  It's too cumbersome for me to remove and beat.

Floor shot of the new Interstate 19, as uploaded by YouTube user John P.
Whatever I put in there has to be removable in pieces and has to stand up to being beaten, scrubbed, and sprayed off with a garden hose.  Conventional carpet cannot be treated that way, but Flor carpet tiles get pretty good reviews in that regard.  They stand up to a lot.  

One caveat on a Flor installation in a van like ours:  The tiles are stiff and will not conform to the shape of table receivers if you have them installed in your floor.  Ours had two in the rear section, but I stopped needing them when we installed our Lagun table (see here).  So I first had to remove those:

And I'm glad I did, because the chassis holes need some remedial attention.
Hey, there's the label on the Onan generator which was installed under this section of floor.
Ugh... the usual good OEM job on sealing the subfloor and chassis frame itself.  Thanks, Airstream. 
Rodents would have a name for these holes - "Stairway to Heaven".  I'll have to get thin sheet metal patches while I figure out what to do with them longer term.  
So here's a few shots of my initial configuration.  Note that I have two tiles overlapped in front of the slider.  I have to cut one of them down to size, but I haven't done that yet.

You can see that the edges of the cabinetry are not continuous all the way from the front to the back.  There's a jog in front of the curbside couch, and another jog aft of the wet bath (photo right).  It would be difficult to fit a single unbroken rug in this area even if I wanted to.  

They coordinate with the existing cab carpet, even while adding a bit of pattern to what is otherwise a design composed of solids.  I think they suit the van. 
I don't mind the discontinuous appearance - it does break up the long linear hallway.

The remaining question is -- how am I going to attach these, either to each other in three groups, and/or to the floor?  How will I NEED to attach them?

I'm not sure yet.  The carpet backing is very dense and they are not very slippery, even as loose individual tiles.  Watch as I try to scoot this one around:

If I can figure out an unobtrusive way to bind them to each other (in groups of 3, 3, and 1.5, the last being in front of the slider), I may not need to attach them to the floor at all.  They might stay put by themselves without assistance.    

Anyway, that's a recap of stage one of this process.  I'll figure out what to do next by using these carpet tiles in practice and seeing how they perform.  
WKRP is so old that it hasn't been meme'd decently at all.