The floor is where most people start when converting a van into a camper. Having a complete van floor provides a solid base for the rest of the build is the first major step in any conversion process.
- Below we’ll give an overview of the different components that make up a van floor and the different materials that can be used.
Van floor layers
There is more to a camper van floor than just throwing down some wood and calling it a day. Several layers of material should be used to not only ensure the floor is solid but also to help with heat transfer and provide a nice level surface.
The first layer of a camper van floor serves two purposes. The first is to insulate and help improve resistance to heat flow. This keeps heat in when it’s cold out and heat out when it’s cold inside. Metal is a great conductor. Without an insulative layer, the metal van floor is easily able to transfer thermal energy inside and can make for a very cold van floor. The second purpose of this layer is to reduce road noise. It’s surprising how noisy an empty van is and this first layer helps keep some of that sound out.
- Minicell Foam - We suggest using minicell foam for this layer as it’s height often matches the height of the ribs in the van floor. This provides a level surface for your next payer without taking up precious headroom.
- XPS Foam - Another popular option is xps foam but steps have to be taken to ensure it doesn’t squeak.
- Baltic Birch Plywood - We suggest using ¾ inch 7-ply baltic birch. This provides the thickness needed for rigidity and enough “meat” for screws to securely grab into.
- Exterior Plywood - ¾ inch pine plywood is another common option. It is cheaper than birch but uses less plys to achieve the same overall thickness. This can result in warping and gives screws less layers to grab onto.
- We like cork as a top layer. It’s environmentally friendly, easy to maintain and looks great.
- Other popular options include vinyl sheet, vinyl planks, laminate and rubber.
Check out our DIY Camper Van Knowledge Center for more info to help you with your camper van conversion.