Paved to Pines is a small company based in Canada specializing in converting buses and vans, big or small, into recreational vehicles. What started out as a dream between two friends has, today, turned into a thriving business building the buses of peoples’ dreams.
Paved to Pines creates custom conversions that allow anybody wishing to live the van life to create their own movable home. Fully customizable from start to finish, Paved to Pines works with their clients through every step of the process to help them see their dream come to life.
While the process of converting a bus into a comfortable and livable home is no easy feat, Paved to Pines boasts the skills as well as the experience needed to turn any old bus into a beautiful and fully functional home.
The Paved to Pines Process For Bus Conversions
The process for converting your bus begins with you deciding what you want and need from the project. To start with, you’ll need to tell the guys at Paved to Pines what exactly it is that you’re hoping to achieve with your conversion project so that they know how to help you.
They will let you know your options, how to go about payment, and any other information they think you might need. You’ll receive a brochure that you need to fill out detailing your specific van or skoolie (school bus), and the team will call you back to discuss further.
The discovery call is where the team wants to find out all about you and why you’ve chosen to go ahead with your specific conversion project. The team will ask you questions to ascertain things like why you might have decided to do a custom build and what exactly it is that you’re looking to achieve.
The reason for this call is for the team to ascertain precisely what it is you are dreaming of for your custom conversion so that they can do everything in their power to ensure they can make this a reality for you.
You’ll need to have questions, details about what your build would contain, and your specific requirements. You’ll also need to ascertain what you would like to achieve in terms of your finishing touches, requirements for the layout, and any other details you’d like to address.
After you’ve completed the above mentioned discovery call, you will be sent an estimate within five to seven days, giving you an idea of how much the project will cost you overall.
On average, for an off-grid home on wheels, you can expect to pay between $75,000 and CAD 150,000 for a van conversion; and between $125,000 and CAD 200,000 for a bus conversion. These prices naturally do not include the vehicle.
Paying Your Deposit and Joining the Build Queue
Once your needs from the project have been established and the estimated costs and timeline have been determined to some degree, your vehicle will be booked into the lineup. This will occur only after you’ve paid a non-refundable CAD 2,500 deposit.
There is usually a waiting period of between twelve and fifteen months before the build can start, but this is flexible depending on the project’s urgency.
Before any work commences, you naturally need to find the right vehicle to convert. Paved to Pines will assist you with advice in terms of choosing the right vehicle for your needs that will best serve the conversion project.
Paved to Pines can also help you with transportation to and from the shop, as well as border paperwork and so forth.
Around four to six months before the build begins, you will begin working with the design team to finalize the specifications of your build. This will ensure that your conversion can function fully in the way it should, making the best use of a 25 to 200 square foot space.
Once the 2D layout has been finalized, the team begins work on 3D renderings. It is during this time that you can begin fully customizing the design from every aspect. Seeing the project in three dimensions will best serve you to ensure you can fully visualize your new home.
Next, your custom RV will finally be under construction. This is an extremely exciting time as the skilled team of craftsmen begins bringing your dream to life.
The building process can take anywhere between four to six months, depending on project complexity, but you’ll be updated every step of the way.
When the build is complete, you will be given a full walk through of all the systems, as well as a free getaway to test out your new home at a nearby campground. After trying it out for the weekend, the team will guide you one last time through the RV before you are sent on your way.
Paved to Pines School Bus Conversion: Walter
Walter is a custom skoolie designed and built for a couple with a desire to create a fully-functional home on wheels. Their main concern was to have an RV that was fully livable throughout the year, no matter the weather conditions. This old school bus was fitted with a conventional mounted front engine, boasting a tall body and a Freightliner chassis.
The original bus doors were replaced with a proper RV insulated door which features a separate screen. The windows on the bus were also replaced with fully insulated windows to ensure a comfortable internal environment.
All interior furniture and framing was built out of Baltic Birch, ensuring a strong, high-quality build. The main living space features a full-size L-shaped couch with storage underneath and the ability to create a spare bed.
The roof of this bus was raised by 18 inches, which creates sufficient space for storage as well as extra headroom to create a more spacious feel throughout the bus. This skoolie features a fully functional kitchen with a 21-inch propane burner and oven, as well as bamboo counter tops with tons of prep space.
The bathroom features a small basin, composting toilet, full shower with a self-cleaning door, and a washer/dryer with laundry preparation space. In the bedroom, you have a full wardrobe as well as blackout blinds with insulation to ensure comfort throughout the year. Drawers under the bed ensure sufficient storage for the bedroom space.
The electrical systems and utilities are cleverly hidden in the floor joist space, and the water system allows for city water to be connected permanently or for the tank to be filled for use when not located near city water.
A full set of service panels on the interior of the bus ensure control over the electrical systems, including the tank water heaters, which activate as soon as the temperature drops below zero.
When it comes to converting any school bus into a home for yourself, whether permanent or simply for holidays, Paved to Pines is certainly the company to approach. They will be with you every step of the way to ensure that all your van life dreams are able to be fully realized. Make sure to also check out their Facebook page and their FAQs on the website!
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David is an accomplished mountain endurance athlete who has completed over 25 ultra marathon races (follow on Strava). He is most proud of his finish at The Drift 100 – a high elevation, 100 mile winter foot race that zigzags along the Continental Divide in Wyoming. In the future he hopes to compete in the ITI 350 and ultimately the full 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational that follows the same path as the historic dog sled race.