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Van Soundproofing

Van Soundproofing and Sound Deadening Guide

Van Soundproofing and Sound Deadening Guide

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 are essentially big, clanking boxes that are designed for maximum storage capacity as you drive along the highway. There’s two types of noise you want to treat: the structural noise and the airborne noise. Structural noise is caused by vibrating metal and hard objects hitting each other. The airborne noise is the engine, road, tire, and exhaust noise traveling through the air. Vans have a lot of trouble with both types of noise – and both need to be treated for the best results.

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 are essentially big, clanking boxes that are designed for maximum storage capacity as you drive along the highway. There’s two types of noise you want to treat: the structural noise and the airborne noise. Structural noise is caused by vibrating metal and hard objects hitting each other. The airborne noise is the engine, road, tire, and exhaust noise traveling through the air. Vans have a lot of trouble with both types of noise – and both need to be treated for the best results.

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.

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Popular Van Soundproofing Materials


Sprinter Van Soundproofing Kits
Damplifier Pro™ Sound Deadening Mats
Mega Zorbe™ Hydrophobic Melamine Foam

Who's Looking for Van Soundproofing & Insulation

The Work Van: Sprinter Vans, Transit Vans, and Other Commercial Vans

We've all seen them. Those Amazon vans that didn't exist in 2018 and now they're everywhere. That type of van is 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. A lot of this equipment (especially anything metal) bangs together and 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, because the standard Sprinter Van comes with almost no sound deadening or insulation to quiet down all that noise. And that’s before you even consider the engine noise and the road noise generated by just driving around. For a work van, the goal is not to create the quietest van on the road. 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.

NOT SURE WHAT PRODUCTS YOU NEED?

Try our product recommendation tool and find exactly what you need.

Steps to Soundproof a Work Van

Soundproof the area where the driver sits

The driver’s area is the best bang for your buck to treat in a work van. To stop the structural noise, add Damplifier Pro directly to the metal floor, doors, and roof. 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. 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.

Soundproof the cargo area where your stuff is

To soundproof a work van’s cargo area, the first step is to stop the structural noise. Apply Damplifier Pro or Spectrum into the van’s walls, floors, and roof with a focus on the flat, flimsy metal and the tops of the wheel wells. This will stop the van itself from vibrating. If you have metal shelves or other organizes, deaden those too. Then apply OverKill to the tops of the shelves (the peel and stick version works great), so that your tools don’t make noise by rattling against the shelves. The second step is to add SOME absorption into the back of the van to cover up some of those hard metal walls, so that the sound waves remaining will reverberate less. We typically use Mega Zorbe, Heat Wave Pro, or OverKill Pro for this in a work van.

One other easy hack for a work van is to apply Spectrum to all 4 wheel wells. It only takes 2 gallons of Spectrum, and will take a good bite out of road and tire noise in your van. Please reach out to us if you have questions or check out our Custom Vehicle Plans if you’d like us to map out a solution for you.

Work Van Soundproofing Strategy

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, as well as using overkill to help decouple any rattling panels or pieces.

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 VAN CONVERSION: CARGO VANS AND CAMPER VANS

Soundproof the driver's cabin

The strategy for a van conversion is essentially the same as a work van in the driver’s area. Damplifier Pro on the metal to stop structural noise and Luxury Liner Pro built as a wall on the cabin side firewall and floor to stop airborne noise. Then apply Mega Zorbe inside the doors and above the headliner. Spectrum in all 4 wheel wells is another common and effective treatment for road noise in a van conversion. The primary difference from a work van is that the decision to seal off the front driver’s area is based on aesthetic preference instead of practical to keep out the sound of rattling tools.

Set up the cargo area to be an awesome living space

Apply Damplifier Pro or Spectrum to the metal to damp structural vibrations. Next you need to decide on your insulation to go behind the walls you are building. This insulation not only will reduce thermal transfer, it will also substantially increase the performance of your wall. We use Mega Zorbe Pro or CelluZorbe (1” or 2” depending on the space) for the walls. Mega Zorbe is hydrophobic and the premium option. CelluZorbe is a recycled cellulose panel that is eco and budget friendly. We often use the regular Mega Zorbe (1/2” thick) on the ceiling to preserve headspace and for easy peel and stick application. When you install the finished walls, it’s very important to seal up any gaps or seams with acoustical sealant. If you are VERY concerned about noise, the doors and windows must be considered as potential weak points. Contact us to talk through your project!

Some of the same materials we use for soundproofing a van are also used to insulate the van. For more details on van insulation, check out our sister article on how to insulate a van.

van soundproofing

Enjoy Phenomenal Van Soundproofing with Second Skin

Yes, that’s right. Phenomenal. We have helped our customers achieve some phenomenal levels of sound reduction. Check out the noise difference in this Sprinter Van using JUST Damplifier Pro. The noise level in the back cargo area has gone from dangerously high (consistent exposure to 85+ dB can damage your hearing) to more like your average car driving down the highway. And that was just with Damplifier Pro!

We get a lot of questions about how to properly soundproof the back cargo area of a van, so we decided to add on to this van soundproofing guide with more detail on each part of the van. So without further ado… let’s talk about the floor, the side walls/cargo door, and the roof.


How to Soundproof Your Van's Cargo Area

Luckily and unluckily, the back of your van is essentially a big empty box. Lucky because the open bare metal makes it one of the easiest places to apply your material. Unlucky because it's a giant tin can that is the source of a lot of a van’s noise problems.

We get a lot of questions about how to properly soundproof the back cargo area of a van, so we decided to add on to this van soundproofing guide with more detail on each part of the van. So without further ado… let’s talk about the floor, the side walls/cargo door, and the roof.

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. As we discussed early, your solution needs to consider both the structural and the airborne noise. Start with a sound deadening material to reduce vibration and rattling. If you choose Spectrum, apply with 100% coverage. If you go with Damplifier Pro, 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.

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 (also adds insulation). Luxury Liner Pro is ⅜” thick, flexible automotive MLV with a foam decoupling layer and is the best automotive noise barrier out there. 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 (work van), or add your own flooring on top (van conversion).

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.

A Quick Note on Windows and Doors

Consider a radiant foil “curtain” on your windows 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.

You should also check the doors for air gaps as the easy airflow to the outside makes your insulation far less effective. You can check for air gaps by listening for wind noise as you’re driving. If you're feeling extra scientific, use an infrared thermometer to see the temperature difference near these potential openings.

Van Wall Soundproofing

What you do here entirely depends on your goals for your van. Are you planning to convert the van into a living space with true walls? How soundproof do you want that living space to be?

If you have high soundproofing requirements, you should be considering several design choices before thinking about soundproofing materials. The windows and doors are weak points and will allow sound in even if you soundproof the heck out of the walls. It’s very important for the van to be well sealed or sound (and heat) will leak through any gaps. Any van with windows in the back will not have a high level of soundproofing if you go with standard window options. Cavities (inside the door, metal ribbing, and between studs) should be filled with sound absorbing material in addition to the sound deadener on the metal. For extreme STC goals, Luxury Liner Pro can be added to the walls to increase the noise blocking ability of the exterior metal. If you plan to turn the van into a recording studio or mobile podcast studio, we can help you do it – but give us a call to talk through the project.

If you have low/medium soundproofing requirements, just apply Damplifier Pro or Spectrum and then your insulation of choice (CelluZorbe or Mega Zorbe Pro) if it’s a van conversion. Apply Mega Zorbe inside the door cavities. Focus on keeping the van sealed up tight, and you’ll end up with great results.

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.


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:


Van Roof Soundproofing And insulation

After applying roof sound deadening, you can move on to sound absorption and insulation. The roof of the van is very important to treat for temperature control. In a van conversion, we like to use thinner, high performance materials like Mega Zorbe to provide great heat insulation while preserving headspace, 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 (reducing reverb) 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.

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.

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