Thursday, March 17, 2016

Pickup Bed Cover On The Cheap, Part Two : Materials

I've been looking at some designs on YouTube and elsewhere for the "perfect" design and may hybridize a few to make my own. The diamond plate ones look nice, but the price of these are going to be way over budget, and this stuff is heavy, very heavy for the gauge I need for this to bend or buckle. I've also ruled our OSB, oriented strand board or 'chipboard' as many call it because of its lack of water resistance and irregularity, While I've seen some nice covers made from this material, especially on a Subaru Baja, this was covered in vinyl and one a much shorter and narrower bed. We get snowfall here as well as the occasional errant child climbing on or into my bed. Unless I want to add extra support, and weight to this cover OSB will not be my material of choice.

Plywood is also a good alternative, as it is stronger than OSB under some circumstances and is slighty more water resistant, but will still be heavy

Hinges are something else that are under consideration. Piano hinges are cleaner, but not as durable on heavier materials, considering this cover will be opened and closed 15 to 20 times a day. They will leave a lot less profile through a cover than shed door hinges as as long as the material is reasonably light, they should work fine.


Laminate Floor Lamentations.

Laminate floors are a boon to those who even have an inkling of D.I.Y.-ing. You don't have to be mechanically inclined, and you don't even need power tools. All you need to do is read a tape measure and use a laminate floor cutter. No dust or muss. The instructions are pretty simple on the package, but here are a few things I've learned. This is not a comprehensive instruction manual, and before you're done you will probably laugh at this post and wonder what planet this writer is on. No worries :)

UPDATE: If you want to solicit your company, don't even bother as comments are moderated. I will delete them before they even see the light of day.


  • If you have to use a saw, air compressor, or other power tools, wear eye AND hearing protection. Hearing damage is cumulative and eye damage can be in an instant; both can be irreversible. I still have problems with my left eye years after getting a chemical burn on my cornea. 
  • Hand protection against slivers and cuts is also a good idea. Nothing stops a new floor like a trip to the local emergency department. 
  • If practical, remove everything from the room you're working on. 
  • The foam, or rolled underlayment works best on a level floor. You will want to use 1/4 plywood on an uneven or patched subfloor. 
  • You can place this stuff over carpeting provided it's 1/4 inch or less pile. It will also go over linoleum, sheet vinyl, etc. 
  • To save the sanity of the person working on or installing a dishwasher or other appliance, this flooring MUST extend UNDER the appliance. If you've ever had to jockey a dishwasher over a 3/4 inch ridge of finished floor from under a granite counter-top, you know while I'm talking about. It's a pain in the ass and is probably against code in certain areas.  Refrigerators are not only inconvenient when trying to pull them out, but almost impossible over a ridge; these can weigh more than 500 pounds. The finish floor MUST go under ALL appliances; this is NOT an option if you want them worked on at a later date. 
  • Think about which direction the floor should go. I like going perpendicular to the main doorway in the room, or parallel to the lay of the rest of the floor in the house. 
  • There are many ways to put this type of floor in, but the seams need to be staggered. I measure the floor, minus 1/2 inch and divide it by finished length of your pieces, Then I cut a piece the length of the remainder, but the cut edge MUST go to the wall or the pieces won't lock together. I try and start with an uncut piece, then another until I go as far as I can, THEN cut the remainder. You will need to cut that same length on the opposite side and then start on the opposite end. 
  • Add spacers around the floor as you work and keep your weight on the section you've already laid. This will make life much easier. 
  • Lock the short seam 1/8 inch before bringing down to lock on the long seam, and then pull it towards you. Press each course down as you finish before starting the next one. 
  • A laminate cutter is a good idea when laying this stuff down as the dust a saw creates with this material can harm your lungs. It's much quieter and less fatiguing too. 
  • An oscillating tool is another helpful thing to have when notching trim and cutting out heat runs through the floor. It's safer than a saber saw and since the original inventor (Fien) patent ran out, these can be had for less than $100. I use a Dremel version of these and it works great; got it on Ebay for about $40. 
The best thing to do is buy the material and get to it. This is one project where it's fun to learn as you go. Maranatha!