Building a MCS-safe floor on top of a trailer

People generally don’t give much thought to what materials their houses are made of, but people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) do have to think about such things. Chemical free housing may be the most challenging aspect of living with MCS.


Mokihana and Pete are building a Vardo gypsy wagon and blogging about it. They recently shared their “recipe” for building a MCS-safe floor on top of a trailer:

  1. Galvanized metal sheets to protect the vardo from road wear and moisture while stationary.
  2. Additional oak cross pieces screwed in horizontally (left to right) to hold denim insulation. Yes, we finally decided to go with the denim. Each cross piece was also notched and routed to hold the metal bars that would go over the denim.
  3. Denny Foil, foil vapor barrier was layered over the denim to seal any dust or smell from the denim as it off-gasses.
  4. Lengths of steel cut especially to fit over the oak cross pieces were screwed fast. These were Pete’s choice as a plywood substitute. Even though some sources said exterior plywood might be okay to use for our MCS-safe home, we decided not to use it. Laying the steel in this tight pattern was Pete’s idea to create a web of strength.
  5. More Denny Foil covers all the wood, steel and insulation.tiled floor
  6. Sheets of Hardibacker Board (1/2 inch cement board) screwed in over the Denny Foil gave Pete something solid over which to lay the mud.
  7. Portland cement and fine gray sand mixed with water only. Pete screened the sand to pick out the bigger pieces … that way he did not have to use silica sand (which can be a problem for some MCS folks). There is no latex added to either the mud or grout.
  8. Tile and grout — The 13 inch high fired, glazed tiles are laid with 1/4 inch grout. The grout is also Portland cement and gray sand mixed with water.
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{ 1 comment }

Debby Shapiro 12/30/2011 at 3:16 pm

Hi, Would love to chat with you about the steps of renovating a trailer. Wonder if you have a materials list. I’m right at the beginning of trying to build one or a tiny home. Would be happy to pay you something for your time.
Thanks Much

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