DIY Wood Herringbone Floor for Our Vintage Trailer Apache
A lifelong adult dream of mine come true!!! We bought a Vintage 1954 Dalton Apache Vintage Trailer last October. We’ve had so many people DM us on our Instagram (@RosietheGlamper) asking for further instructions on various parts of our build. So many! That per your request, we’re going to post an entire series on our trailer build here.
First, A Little Back Ground …
Why Rosie the Glamper when the trailer’s name is “Apache”? I’ll save that for “Post 1” of the series (which will be next!) Yes, I’m totally doing these out of order in real time but I’ll number them sequentially when done. :)
Why do we have a different Instagram for each of our projects? It just kind of started out that way so we could catalog our own “before” and “progress” photos. Personally, I don’t see this a sustainable for much longer but LMK if you LIKE this or not. You can weigh in my DM-ing me on my personal IG account (@StevieAnnNance).
For those of you who follow already, you’ll know, we purchased our 2nd vacation rental near Joshua Tree National Park in March 2019 and we’ve been slaving away on it all summer. We are soooo close to wrapping up this project (@WhiteMoonRanch - I told you every project has it’s own Instagram! LOL!!! And you can find more info on White Moon Ranch and all it’s 5 acres’ of desert bohemian gorgeousness HERE.))
Anyways! … We’re close enough that I finally have some free time to catch up on my ‘to do’s! Which of course, includes this series on our entire ground up rebuild. Literally! We took this girl down to her frame and back up!
A Little Credit - The Inspo
When I originally thought, I really want to name my pink Shasta vintage trailer “Rosie”, I took to the Google! I quickly stumbled upon this amazing, SOOOO DREAMY vintage trailer reno by “Probably This”. My first instinct was “Nooooooo!!! Rosie is taken (long, long, sad cry………)!” And then, I was like, ya know what? There is more than one Rosie in the world! This is going to be okay! Rosie is going to be my Glamper and “Rosie the Glamper” is NOT taken! It’s Okay! I can name my cute trailer what I want! (Whew, recovery!) And then I started the deep stalk of their super cute amazing trailer… (Stalk it guys and gals! It’s AMAZING!) … and ended up HERE on their custom triangle wood floors. Their custom wood floors ignited a deep longing in me to give my trailer custom wood floors! Through their blog I found their original inspo, “Vintage Revivals” custom vintage trailer rebuild “The Nugget” (MAJOR SWOON!) and her custom geometric wooden floors.
After seeing both, I KNEW I had to do this too!!! Adam (my hubby) was not so enthusiastic but I was not dissuaded. I GOT this! I’ll do this! And that my friends, is marriage, life and the story of how Apache aka the trailer formally known as Rosie’s floors was imagined. (And why I’m posting this post first! I did this part & I’m very proud of it!) :)
& Now to the Custom Floors ….
(A quick disclaimer… we have yet to take our baby out on the road. So, I have no idea how this will hold up on the road or for practicality purposes. I’ll try to remember to update this in a year to let you know.) :)
Our DIY for Apache’s custom herringbone wood floor:
Time - 4 Days of Work. - We’re OCD AF. So we took a solid week doing this, but only worked about 4 hours per day. I’m sure you could do it in less!
~ 1 Day - Let the wood boards acclimate outside before cutting
~ 2 Hours - Deciding the length I wanted the boards, small cuts, laying out samples, texting my sister, etc.
~ 2 Hours - Cutting & laying out 90% of the floor
~ 2 Hours - Finishing the last 10% of the cuts for corners, edges, etc.
~ 2 Hours - Glueing & Stapling down each board
~ 3 - 4 Hour Days- Filing the gaps w/ wood filler, sanding, re-filling, sanding and sanding a 3rd time.
~ 1 Day (8 Hours) - 4 coats of Sealer protecting the wood
1 x 4 pine boards - (Super soft wood but I wanted the light wood. No heels allowed on this floor!)
Circular Sandpaper Grits: 40, 80, 120
Floor Stapler Gun
Circular saw (For cutting pine boards)
Screw driver or Drill with screw bit
~ $200 (Including sand paper discs but minus the new flooring staple gun we bought.)
The before floor was the original vinyl flooring. Blue, white and red squares peppered with vintage mouse droppings. One of a kind, but not the look we were going for. Meow!-> No.
The Floor Build:
You can go back to our subfloor rebuild HERE (I’ll post the link once I put that post together.). I started out by cutting a small square out of an extra piece of plywood and laying it as a “diamond” on top of our new subfloor. I screwed it in temporarily so it wouldn’t slide around. This diamond is your herringbone template so line it up perpendicular to your edges carefully. I decided to go with a 1 x 4 visual ratio on my floor, so the length of each pine board was cut to 8”. I used a circular saw to make my cuts. I have long discarded my math & notes on how many boards we bought or used (sorry!). But a little W X D + extra will give you your dimensions. You can always return the boards you don’t use.
I also was not particularly obsessed with perfect cuts. This is a 10’ foot trailer not a 8 Million dollar house, ya feel me? Plus, natural wood needs room to expand and we knew we’d fill in the gaps with wood filler.
I cut all the pieces out and laid them loosely down. Once I had cut enough wood for half of the trailer (front of trailer), I started next to the diamond again but this time I glued & nailed each board in place. I did a zig zag of wood glue on the back of each board and 4 flooring nails in each corner of each board. Once the flooring was done on the front side of the trailer, I unscrewed my diamond plywood template and continued to lay my flooring all the way to the back of the trailer.
Adam told me to not worry about perfect edge cuts as he would go around all the edges with his edging saw. So, I cut pieces that overhung the edges by an inch or two (you can see this with the boards already laid out in front). After gluing and nailing each of these smaller pieces in (note: make sure your nails on the outside edge are still going through the plywood subfloor); Adam took his circular saw around the entire trailer making a clean square edge. (Photos below).
The floor looks warmer or colder depending how it catches the light and I love the way the different wood grains reflect as well too!
Next fill gaps with wood filler, let dry then sand with 40 —> 80—> then 120 grit.
We live 3 blocks from the beach, so we did this step 3 times with 40 grit sand paper (with our circular sander) before we felt the floors were adequately “filled” and settled from the humidity. Our 3rd time, we used 40 grit, then 80 grit, vacuumed, then 120 grit. (The photos above are actually after the wood filler and sanding). Again, we’re a bit OCD! Does your trailer floor need this much sanding like a professional house installation? IDK? I’ll leave that up to you. :)
Last we finished the floor with a semi gloss water based sealer (via Home Depot). We vacuumed, lightly wiped the floor after with a felt / non shedding wet cloth, then let it dry for an hour in the California sun. After that, we followed the directions on the water based sealer which said we could re-coat it every 2-4 hours. We started early that day and did all 4 coats on a warm, sunny day.
Voila! The finished floor including a close up (on right)! Some small specs of dirt and a few dog hairs from the neighbors floated their way onto the floor throughout the day, but you’d never notice unless you’re looking all crazy like someone who just spent a week doing a trailer floor! :)
It turned out GORGEOUS & we love it! Not bad for a little ‘ol Vintage Canned Ham Trailer! :) Fingers crossed it holds up on the road. We’ll link up related posts on this trailer reno HERE as we add them.
Good luck & hit us up on IG!