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Van Soundproofing

Van Sound Deadening and Soundproofing Guide

Author: Eric Zuck

Last Updated: February 9, 2024

Read Time: 9 Minutes

Van Sound Deadening and Soundproofing Guide

Author:

Eric Zuck

Last Updated:

February 9, 2024

Read Time:

9 Minutes

Author: Eric Zuck

Updated: Feb. 9, 2024

Read Time: 9 Minutes

We have big news. The van is back! And for some of you, it never left. Most of the time we talk about soundproofing cars, but we haven’t forgotten about our beefier brethren.

Vans have a lot of trouble with both structural and airborne noise, and when your van is [practically] your home, it becomes exceedingly important to treat both types of noise with sound deadening and soundproofing materials.

Whether you find yourself spending a lot of time in vans for business or for recreation, we can help you make sure your ride is always quiet and comfortable.

We have big news. The van is back! And for some of you, it never left. Most of the time we talk about soundproofing cars, but we haven’t forgotten about our beefier brethren.

Vans have a lot of trouble with both structural and airborne noise, and when your van is your home, it becomes exceedingly important to treat both types of noise with sound deadening and soundproofing materials.

Whether you find yourself spending a lot of time in vans for business or for recreation, we can help you make sure your ride is always quiet and comfortable.

Check out this Van Sound Deadening Project with Amy + Bez!

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Popular Van Soundproofing Materials


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Why You Need Van Soundproofing

your Van is your home away from home

It doesn't matter if it's a work van or a conversion van. Either way, if you have a van, you likely spend a large chunk of your time in there. For a place you call home (or your home away from home), you need to treat it as such. Having a quiet van is just as important when you're parked as it is when you're on the open road. By deadening vibrating metal and adding van sound insulation, you can enjoy van life without a loud cabin, so you can sleep, work, read, or whatever you want in peace.

VAns have historically horrible soundproofing and insulation

Vans are some of the noisiest vehicles on the road due to their size and everything that's loaded in them. Most vans are often under-soundproofed and under-insulated. If you work in a business that uses a sprinter van or transit van, chances are you’re lugging around equipment, boxes, and who knows what else, from place to place. When equipment (especially anything metal) bangs together, it creates airborne noise which will reverberate off your metal walls and create a very loud environment. The cargo area is a big tin can if left untreated. Studies show that extended exposure to 80+ dB can lead to health risks such as hypertension, anxiety, and depression, just to name a few. Regardless of your type of van, the goal is to quiet the van down to a level where you're comfortable.

noisy van

Van Sound deadening for a better driving experience

If you landed here because your van gets noisy going down the road at high speeds, you're not alone. Vans have tons of engine noise and road noise issues because of loud engines, a lack of absorption, and tons and tons of vibrating metal. Adding sound deadener to the metal and sound insulation on top of that will create a necessary barrier between you and the road. When you deaden vibrations and block road noise, your van won't be so noisy as you drive, and it will feel more solid, too!

How to Soundproof a Van

Comfortable means something different to everyone. You may need to just get things quiet enough to hear yourself think. But in some cases, you may need it to be quiet enough to sleep. There are different treatments that you can do depending on your level of soundproofing, but if you want to run it by an expert, just give us a call at 1-800-679-8511 and we'll talk you through it!

The basic principle of soundproofing a van is that you want to add a sound deadening layer to the metal framing as the first layer, this helps reduce structural and vibrational noise in the vehicle. Then you want to add your sound blocking and insulation materials overtop of the sound deadening layer. Here are the steps we take to soundproofing a van:

    1.  Soundproof the van floor
    2.  Soundproof the van walls
    3.  Soundproof the van roof

We will get into each area and which materials we recommend below!

van soundproofing

Step one: Van Floor Soundproofing

The floor of the van is the most important part to treat if you are concerned about road noise and tire noise. Your solution needs to consider both the structural and the airborne noise.

Structural Noise Solution

Start with a sound deadening material to reduce vibration. If you choose Spectrum™ liquid sound deadener, apply with 100% coverage. You can get our Spectrum Spray Kit comes with everything you need to get the job done at a discounted price. Measure out how much square footage you'll need to cover, and pick the kit size you need. If you go with Damplifier Pro™ sound deadening mats, you can choose to do less coverage and target the parts of the van that are vibrating the most (tops of wheel wells) and flimsier metal. Always apply Damplifier Pro firmly with a wooden roller. Sound deadening is most effective when adhered firmly to the metal. We suggest running it up to the cabin side firewall as well to help with engine noise.

If road noise is a real problem, applying Spectrum™ to the exterior wheel wells will also go a long way toward stopping road noise at the source, too! Another gallon or two will get you there for two 1mm layers in each well.

Airborne Noise Solution

Once your sound deadener is applied, follow up with 100% coverage from a sound blocking layer. Creating this airborne noise barrier will keep out road noise and exhaust drone coming up from below the van. Luxury Liner Pro™ is 3/8” thick, flexible automotive MLV with a foam decoupling layer and is the best automotive noise barrier out there (also excellent at insulating a van floor). Apply it directly on top of your sound deadening material. Be sure to use a strong adhesive and tape the edges of the material to seal the seams. You can use this material as your flooring or add your own flooring on top. Similarly, running this up to the cabin side firewall will block a lot of that obnoxious engine noise.

Spectrum sound deadener to insulate the van floor

It's easy to spray Spectrum™ liquid deadener across the entire van floor.

Luxury Liner Pro adds van floor insulation and blocks noise

Add a Luxury Liner Pro™ noise barrier on top of your van floor's sound deadener.

sprinter van hardwood floor over insulation

Then put in that a hardwood floor if you want. It's your van after all.

Step Two: Van Wall Soundproofing

What you do here depends entirely on your goals for your van. If you plan to convert the van into a living space with true walls, this is a crucial step. A common question we'll ask you: how soundproof do you want that living space to be? If it's a work van, maybe you don't care as much about the walls. Unless you have a lot of noise bouncing around in there — and if you do, you should stick around — you can probably move on to roofs (but check out our note on windows and doors first)!

Windows and Doors First

As with the walls in your home, windows and doors are the two weakest point in any wall. The same applies for your van. Before even getting started, your windows and doors need to be well sealed (when shut), or you can kiss any soundproofing work goodbye.

If you want highly soundproof walls, we would recommend considering upgraded windows. Second to that, we would recommend treating the doors with Damplifier Pro™ on the outer sheet metal to stop vibrations and putting in thermal insulation like Mega Zorbe™  to stop the heat/cold (and absorb sound in your door cavity).

A Quick note on windows and doors

Windows - Consider a radiant foil “curtain” on your windows, like a cut sheet of Heat Wave Pro™ that you can close on hot, sunny days. This is the only part of the van where using reflective foil makes a big difference – keeping the radiant heat out. Very common to see in RV window insulation.

Doors - Check for air gaps in your doors by listening for wind noise as you’re driving. If so, consider replacing old weatherstripping.

Structural Noise Solution

Whatever you chose as your sound deadener of choice before, roll with it! Damplifier Pro™ or Spectrum™ should be applied to the walls to dampen vibrations. This will help your vehicle vibrate less and feel more secure.

Airborne Noise Solution

If you need van insulation, EcoVerb™ Roll or Mega Zorbe Pro™ are great choices, especially for van conversions. They're also highly absorptive, so if you have noises pinging around inside your cargo area, this is a great opportunity to shut that up!

van sound deadening applied to walls

Damplifier Pro™ will deaden those noisy wall panels.

Spectrum is another sound deadening option for your van wall

Spectrum™ also works great for the walls. Again, easy to spray it on.

Noise barrier on the van floor and walls

Luxury Liner Pro™ installed between the metal ribbing on the walls. I'm no detective, but I'm pretty sure someone's been walking around in here.

Step three: Van Roof Soundproofing And insulation

Structural Noise Solution

Apply roof sound deadening to help with roof flex and other noises like rain and wind tussling with the roof.

Airborne Noise Solution

A prime candidate for reducing reverberations in your van is your roof. From a soundproofing perspective, the roof is a common place to treat with exposed sound absorption in a work van. You’ll cover up a hard, reflective surface in a way that doesn’t interfere with day-to-day. The cargo area will be quieter and the material will be out of harm’s way. Just stick the material on the roof and move on. Mega Zorbe™ is a thinner, high performance material that doubles as a great thermal insulation without compromising headspace.

Van sound deadening on the roof

Man, that roof is going to miss vibrating. It was good while it lasted.

Van soundproofing with acoustic foam

Mega Zorbe™ insulates the roof and absorbs echos

Heat Wave Pro insulation for van roof

Heat Wave Pro™ is another good option for roof insulation. Flexible and durable.

Watch Kip from Tophat Automotive Syndicate Apply Spectrum™ Spray On Deadener in His Van

Second Skin Case Study: Volkswagen Bus with Luxury Liner Pro™

 

 

 

"Luxury Liner Pro™ had a huge impact on my VW bus. It really helped block the engine noise from the back and road noise at the front. Before it was about 85dB at highway speed, and after it was around 70-75dB. Much nicer!"

- Karolina B.

Van Soundproofing Your Way

Sprinter Van Sound Deadening 

We've all seen them; those Amazon vans that didn't exist before 2018 and now they're everywhere. The goal is to quiet the van down to a level where you aren’t causing yourself and your team unnecessary stress or in some particularly loud vans – hearing damage. We like to see a van at least below 75 db, and anything over 80 db is a “must fix” situation. For work needs, it's best to concentrate on the driver's space. Apply Damplifier Pro™ or Spectrum™ to all the metal on the floor, firewall, and doors. That will drastically reduce vibrations in the cabin, making for a much more comfortable ride. Also, sound deadening the wheel wells will help reduce road noise.

If you work in a business that uses a sprinter van or transit van to lug around equipment and goods, consider applying some sound deadening to the walls as well so it's a little less "tin can" and a little more "solid ride" in there!

Camper Van Sound Deadening

What we have to say about conversion vans is fairly similar to camper vans except that you're pressumably doing less driving and more living, so focus more on the cargo area. You'll want to make sure you apply either Damplifier Pro™ or Spectrum™ as your sound deadening layer to the floor, walls, and doors. You should also apply it to your roof to quiet a rainy day and resist roof flex. It is home after all.

After you apply your sound deadening layer, make sure to add some van insulation so you can keep warm on cold days and cool and hot days! Our insulation products are exceptional in many ways, particularly in that they also double as sound absorbers. This is a great way to reduce reverberations in the living space to keep any snoring from bouncing around. We like to use Mega Zorbe Pro™ or EcoVerb Roll™ (1” or 2” depending on the space) for the walls and roof.

Cargo Van Sound Deadening

The driver’s area is the best bang for your buck to treat in a work van. You spend most of your time in the cockpit, so soundproof it! Apply Damplifier Pro™ sound deadening directly to the metal floor, doors, and roof to stop the structural noise. Another easy hack for a work van is to apply Spectrum™ to all 4 wheel wells. It only takes 2 gallons of Spectrum to significantly quiet road and tire noise in your van.

For airborne noise (engine/road/tire noise), install Luxury Liner Pro with 100% coverage on the cabin side firewall and floor. The final step is to add Mega Zorbe inside the doors on top of your Damplifier Pro™ and potentially on the roof above the headliner as well.

The cargo area is the next spot. If you are able to seal the driver’s area off from the cargo area, you won’t need as much soundproofing in the cargo area to make driving the van tolerable. If that isn't an option for you, apply deadener to the van’s walls, floors, and roof with a focus on the flat, flimsy metal and the tops of the wheel wells. If you have metal shelves, deaden those too. You can also decouple your tools and parts from the shelves with OverKill™ closed cell foam.

Sound Deadening a Van Conversion

Van life is a life unfettered. The cost and responsibilities associated with being a home owner may disappear, but that doesn't mean noisiness does. You sleep, dine, and everything else in your van, and having a reasonably quiet living space is a must! We recommend treating the driver's cabin for driving comfort and the cargo area for living comfort.

Deaden the metal of the floor, doors, and firewall with Damplifier Pro™ or Spectrum™ as your first layer. After that, add sound insulation (Luxury Liner Pro™) along the floors and firewall. It will also act as a powerful insulator. You can use Mega Zorbe™ open cell foam or Heat Wave Pro™ to insulate and add noise absorption to the walls and doors. If you need to know more about how to insulate a van, check out our article on the topic!

Also consider adding a gallon of Spectrum™ liquid deadener to your exterior wheel wells for particularly bad road noise issues. Besides the benefits of a better living quarters, the proper noise control treatment will pay dividends in your driving experience, making your van sound and feel better!

Sound Deadening a Work Van

Part of Van Materials to Use Why This Material

Driver's Cockpit

This is where your going to be spending most of the time when the car is on the road and at it's loudest, so you want to pull out all the stops. The 1-2-3 punch of starting with sound deadening material, adding a sound blocking barrier and then sound absorption to the doors will give you the best results!

Cargo Area

In the cargo area, sound deadening and keeping metal from rattling or vibrating is the most important thing to do here. That's why we recommend using Damplifier Pro™ to stop structural noise transfer in your vehicle, Overkill™ to help decouple any rattling panels or pieces, and Heat Wave Pro™ to absorb reverberant noise and add insulation.

Wheel Wells

Sound deadening the wheel wells is a great idea for any van that is dealing with a lot of road noise. Our Spectrum™ spray is the perfect product to deaden the vibrations in a hard to reach place like the wheel wells, we highly recommend using this product in your van!

The Ultimate Van Sound Deadening Bundle

Here at Second Skin, we have all the products you need to soundproof and sound deaden your van! There are a lot of options and it can be overwhelming, we understand. Because of this, we offer our recommendation in a bundle that we call our Sprinter Van Soundproofing Package, which comes in a variety of sizes depending on how big your van is. In this bundle you get:

  • Damplifier Pro is the highest performing sound deadener available today.
  • Luxury Liner Pro will create a noise barrier between you and unwanted outside noise.
  • Free Shipping and Made in the USA

Contact Us to Learn More About Van Soundproofing

Vans are incredibly versatile, and we love to see what our customers are able to do with them, both professionally and personally. We’re here to help you with your passion, and make sure your time in your van is as comfortable as home. If you'd like to see all of our materials, check out our guide on vehicle insulation.

Feel free to contact us and we can help you find the right materials to finish your project. Also, read our breakdown on the cost on how much it costs to insulate a van. And when you’ve completed your project, send us pics and helpful tips so we can continue improving our guides! Van insulation projects are one of our favorites to share with the Second Skin community.

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.800.679.8511