Painting and Patching the Bus Floor

Patching the holes and painting the school bus floor is another long process.  Many skoolie conversions do this step differently.  Here is how we did it.

In hindsight, we would have done a few things differently. So we hope to save you some time!

Required Tools & Materials
  • Primer (we used Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer)
  • Paint (we used Rustoleum Enamel) – we used the metallic color but later wished we had used one of the glossy colors
  • Rollers, brushes, paint pans
  • Your chosen patching materials.  We used:
    • Epoxy resin and fiberglass (we used mat, though cloth may have worked well too).  To apply you’ll need rubber gloves, tweezers, a scraper, a container to mix the resin.
    • Loctite PL.  To apply you’ll need a caulk gun and a scraper.

Okay, so first we are going to lead you through what we did.  Then we’re going to tell you what we wish we’d done differently.

Step 1 – Apply the Primer
  1. Use a brush and rollers to apply the primer.
  2. Let it dry the required amount shown on the can, then apply a second coat if you like.
Step 2 – Plug the Holes with Loctite PL
  1. Apply a little Loctite PL to each hole, then smooth it over with the scraper so that the plug is flush with the floor.  You do not want a bunch of little nubs sticking up all over the floor!  You want the floor as flat as possible so that your insulation (and later subfloor) can lay flat.
Step 3 – Patch over the Loctite Plugs with Epoxy and Fiberglass
  1. Have two people ready to work together on this, because the epoxy hardens fast.
  2. Cut the fiberglass mat into small squares
  3. Mix the epoxy, in a small amount only!
  4. Apply a thin layer of epoxy over the plug, in the shape of the fiberglass mat squares
  5. Use tweezers to lay the fiberglass down, then use the scraper to gently push the fiberglass into the epoxy.  The fiberglass has to be completely ‘wet’ with epoxy.
  6. Allow the epoxy to harden completely.
Step 4 – Apply Another Layer of Primer

We applied another layer of primer, so that the enamel had a complete layer of primer to adhere to.

Step 5 – Apply the Paint

Apply your paint.  We used Rustoleum Enamel, the metallic color.  We wish we had used one of the glossy colors, because the metallic didn’t have a hard, enamel-like feel to it when it dried.  It felt more matte, and when we rubbed our finger across it, a slight amount of silvery powder came up with it.  It didn’t feel like a hard, enamel cap on top of the primer.  So if we could go back, we would use one of the glossy enamels.

Okay!  So that’s what we did.  We feel like the floor is well protected against future rust, and nothing is getting through those holes.  So we don’t feel we did anything wrong, but we do feel we went a little overboard.  Here’s what we wish we had done:

  • Skip the Loctite step and go straight to fiberglass patches.
  • Then we would have used the angle grinder to smooth the patches down to be more flush with the floor.
  • Then we would have primed with the same Rustoleum primer.
  • Then we would have painted with a glossy Rustoleum paint.

Next, removing the side panels!