My personal mission this last week has been to replace the wooden floor in my horsebox.  I’ve known it’s been rather squidgy for a little while now but with the metal base of the van being intact I’ve not worried about it too much.

IMG_8188

A number of factors came together recently meaning that this horrid job rose to the top of my to-do list:

  1. Abbey still isn’t travelling well and I’m sure that the stress of it caused her ulcers. Is it because she doesn’t like the floor? It’s another thing to eliminate before I restart the travel training (loading and short journeys daily).
  2. Urine-soaked wood will eventually start to compromise the van’s metal floor and that is going to be a lot harder and more expensive to fix
  3. I’ve got some time to do it (and the OH took a week’s holiday….I can’t think of a better way of spending Valentines than lifting horse wee soaked rotted wood….can you?!)

First job was getting the old wood up….it was harder than I thought.  There were two sheets of plyboard, that had been cut lengthways to fit the horse area. Both had been screwed around the outside edges and along the length where they met.

The rotten wood at the back end (where Abbey has piddled!) came up in our hands but the screwheads here were so rusted that the screwdriver just ripped the pattern off the heads. At the other end, the screws undid easily but the glue and silicon around the edges kept the boards stuck-fast. Here we used, crow bars to break the wood up, a scapel and knife to cut the silicon away and a little bit of brute force! All in all it took about 4 hours to lift the wood and clean the silicon from around the edges.

IMG_8214

Underneath the van’s floor was pretty good with very little rust (as our mechanic told us, having had it on the ramps).

As the OH had gone to his boat for a day or two (recovering from lifting the floor, I think!), I was off to BnQ on my own.  Generally I hate car garages and DIY shops.  I don’t really know much about either and I feel like I am being looked at.  Armed with my shopping list, drawings (including dimensions) and the dog, I dug deep, emptied the car of unneccesary rubbish that I drive around at all times and headed to the local store.

Must say, the guys there were brilliant! Really friendly and very helpful! (Especially when I had to return to get one section sawn in half as I just couldn’t fit it through the boot hole…..or the back doors….) I returned as planned with sections of hardwood ply, yacht varnish, silafex and an angle grinder (for the screws that wouldn’t unscrew).

Next two evenings were spend with a paintbrush in hand:

IMG_8216

Then Saturday we put the new floor in.  I’m proud to say that my measurements weren’t far off and we only had to trim a couple of pieces with a hand saw.

As the plyboard was a really snug fit and weren’t moving at all we just squirted silafex in the edges of each board and on the tops of the ridges to fix the wood in place.

One handy tip: drill a hole up through the centre of the drainage holes to help line up the hole saw…which we’d done this rather than use the mats as a guide for the first one….

Next we reattached the fixings with screws and silafex, and siliconed around all the edges to try and prevent widdle down down the back and rotting the wood again.  Of course I will eventually, it’s more about giving the floor as long a life as possible.

IMG_8250

(Ok, I know it’s not the neatest job, and I doubt I’ll be being asked to decorate any cakes with my newly-found piping skills but it’s functional.)

Finally we laid the rubber mats back down and ta-da! New horsebox floor!

IMG_8251