Van Floor Insulation

Van Floor Insulation

So you’ve got a van conversion project you’re planning, eh? Feeling overwhelmed? That’s not too surprising given the sheer volume of content out there on how to convert a van.

We’ll go ahead and save you time and summarize our philosophy at the beginning. When we’re treating a van floor, we have 4 priorities:

1. Create a stable base for your living environment
2. Take up as little space as possible to preserve headroom
3. Reduce sound and road noise into the van
4. Add modest van insulation (the floor is much less important for insulation than the walls or roof)

If you want to get into the details of that approach, let’s do this! And if you’re more a talker than a reader, we have Second Skin experts available for you to discuss your van project. Just give us a call!

How to Approach Van Floor Insulation

We’re going to keep this article focused on the floor. No discussion of R-Values, types of heat transfer, or any of that. If you’re looking to learn about basic concepts, you should start with one of our primer articles on van insulation or van soundproofing.

There’s 4 layers we recommend for any van floor insulation project. But before installing any of those layers, make sure to start from a clean base. You shouldn’t have any rust or debris on the floor. Sweep it out, remove the rust, and clean the surface with denatured alcohol. Once that’s done, now you can get to the layers.

Van Floor Layer 1: Sound Deadening Material
Second Skin offers two awesome vibration damping options which drive huge reductions in NVH (Noise, Vibration, & Harshness testing is required for any true sound deadening material). High NVH performance is essential to reducing structural noise and vibrations in your van – especially when driving at highway speeds. Vibration damping materials should be applied to any metal surface, especially targeting the flimsy, flatter metal which vibrates more and creates more noise.

Our Damplifier Pro sound deadening mat is unmatched in performance, and should be installed with 30-60% coverage on the floor and 100% coverage over the tops of the wheel wells. If you’d rather spray or brush on your sound deadening material, go with our Spectrum liquid deadener which will adhere to metal without a primer (glossy or waxy surfaces require a primer).

Van Floor Layer 2: Insulation & Noise Barrier
While the floor is less important for heat insulation, it’s extremely important for sound insulation. To keep that road noise and tire noise out of your van, you'll need to do some van soundproofing and the best way to do that it is with a sound barrier. Luxury Liner Pro is perfectly designed to block noise in a van, as we’ve fused closed cell foam (insulation) to mass loaded vinyl (dense barrier). At 3/8” thick and an R-Value per inch of 4.4, Luxury Liner Pro creates an unbeatable sound barrier with plenty of insulation for a van floor, all while preserving head space and creating a stable base for your finished floor.

Install Luxury Liner Pro with 100% coverage across the entire floor with the foam side facing down. The closed cell foam conforms to the van’s corrugated metal (the little ridges), and the overall weight of the sheets will hold them in place. Adhesives aren’t required, but we recommend either a contact spray adhesive or super strong double sided tape. Tape the seams to finish up your barrier.

Van Floor Layer 3: Subfloor
The wood floor underlayment is your subfloor and creates a level surface for your finished floor. Standard ½” plywood from your hardware store will work great, although you can choose to upgrade the wood species if desired. Talk to your local Home Depot rep for recommendations. It’s not necessary to adhere the subfloor to the top of Luxury Liner Pro, but you’ll need a vinyl adhesive if you choose to do so (DAP or HH-66 vinyl contact cement). These materials are all heavy enough that they aren’t going anywhere though.

We do not recommend framing the floor because it takes up too much space and isn’t necessary with Luxury Liner Pro as the insulating layer.

Van Floor Layer 4: Finished Floor
For the finished floor, pick something durable and that won’t have issues getting wet. Even if you don’t expect to tramp wet shoes on your van floor, we PROMISE you will spill a beer or your morning OJ. We like to go with large vinyl sheets as the finished floor, which should be adhered to your subfloor with an adhesive approved by the flooring manufacturer.

There you have it. A finished van floor with proper insulation for both heat and sound. If you're curious on the breakdown of the cost to insulate a van, check out our guide on the topic. If you have questions or just want to discuss the project, reach out and we’ll be happy to help with any part of your van conversion. We’re available via phone or chat – just hit us up!

Related Articles

Van Conversion Insualtion
Van Soundproofing Guide
Car Floor Insulation
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