A floor is a floor and we don’t have much to say about it. Maybe it’s worth mentioning we went with a thick (1″) polystyrene foam board for good winter insulation. The foam board is 20 psi capable; it’s enough to withstand human weight. On top of the foam there is a MLV sheet layer for road noise reduction. On top of the MLV a ½” thick plywood; we could have choose ¼” thick, but we wanted to be able to screw stuff into the plywood. Finally we put a vinyl sheet flooring because it will protect the other layers against water infiltration.
van-floor –> ½” polystyrene filler strips –> 1″ polystyrene –> MLV –> ½” plywood –> Vinyl sheet
TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: 24-30 hours
TOTAL COST : 665$ USD
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- 1x 3M 4000UV (Buy from Amazon)
- 3x ½” thick 2’x8′ polystyrene C-200 foam board (C-200 rated 20PSI weight capable. Human footprint = 16 PSI) (21$)
- 3x 1″ thick 4’x8′ polystyrene C-200 foam board (75$)
- 20 linear feet Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) sheet (54″ wide roll) (200$)
- 3x ½” thick 4’x8′ plywood, QTY = 3 (60$)
- 8 linear feet Vinyl sheet flooring (13 feet wide roll) (150$)
- 1x Great Stuff (gaps & cracks) (Buy from Amazon)
- 2x PL-300 Foamboard adhesive (Buy from Amazon)
- 1x Wood Filler (Interior/Exterior) (Buy from Amazon)
- 1 gallon Adhesive for Vinyl flooring (Buy from Amazon)
- 2x Double-sided tape for Vinyl flooring (Buy from Amazon)
- 1x GE Silicone II (Buy from Amazon)
- Caulking gun
- Circular saw
HOW WE DID IT*
*Disclaimer: we’re good, but not that much. Use these instructions at your own risks!
We cleaned our mess
We installed strips of ½” thick C-200 (20psi) polystyrene foam board to fill the cavities on the floor
This is quite time consuming; it took us 4 hours to perform, but a good floor support is important.
We used ½” thick foam board, but it was slightly too thick; we should probably have used something in between ¼” and ½” thick. No worries, the 1″ additional foam board + ½” plywood will provide enough support.
We then numbered the strips and removed them to be able to continue
We numbered the strips and took pictures so we can re-assemble everything later on.
The C-200 Shake®
Put some of the leftover C-200 polystyrene strips in the blender with vanilla, protein powder, ice cubes and decorate with mint. Enjoy!
Some sort of template had to be made in order to cut the others layers
Isabelle crafted the template from some random brown paper and then transferred it to a more rigid brown thing. The rigid brown thing was then lay down in the van to validate the cuts. Not bad! So we got rid of the random brown paper only to keep the brown thing.
The 1″ polystyrene foam board was trimmed to conform to van floor
Again, this is time consuming. A lot of measurements, adjustments, cut, re-cut… use what you can to get it done.
We left a gap of about ½” all around the van wall to account for installation variation, thermal expansion and to ensure there would be no squeaking noise. This gap will be filled later with Great Stuff.
We then trimmed the ½” plywood to conform to van floor
This step was easier, because we used the 1″ foam board as a template. And trimming wood is much more fun than foam if you ask us. Ensure to take your shirt off.
Same story with the MLV sheet: we trimmed it using the plywood as template
Now that the foam fillers, foam board, MLV and the plywood is all trimmed, we removed everything from the van to proceed with re-installation with adhesive.
We reinstalled the filler strips using the numbering and applied the 3M 4000UV adhesive.
We then applied Lepage PL-300 (foam board adhesive) on top of the filler strips and lay down the 1″ foam board, the ½” plywood and added some weight on top of that.
We proceeded by section, going forward to aft.
The plywood was removed and we applied the MLV soundproofing on top of the foam.
We put vinyl floor double-sided tape all around the MLV to “seal” the edges.
And then we install the plywood on top of the MLV using, again, double-side tape
You might want to use a stronger adhesive then double-side tape; we had to re-apply glue at a few place because of the plywood sheet slight warp.
Cavities on the plywood were filled with wood filler and then sanded flush
Heavy weight was put on top of the plywood and left alone for 24 hours.
no image… here is a dancing banana instead:
To seal the gap and make a nice & flat surface for the vinyl floor, we overfilled the gap with Great Stuff (Gap & Cracks), let it dry and then cut it flush with plywood sheet
It’s vinyl flooring time!
We bought 8 linear feet of a 13 feet wide vinyl roll. Since our van is 14 feet length and approximatly 6 feet wide, we cut the vinyl roll length-wise in order to obtain 1 sheet of dimension 8’x6.5′ and 1 sheet of dimension 6’x6.5″. Why not two sheets of 7’x6.5′? Because we wanted the joint to be located under the bed that’s why.
We put the first sheet of vinyl in the van and did a rough trim
We were told not to flush-trim the vinyl it right-away and that was a good tip. It’s almost impossible the vinyl will return to the same exact location after the glue is applied (because it will slightly move and stretch).
We folded half the vinyl sheet, applied adhesive, unfold. Same for other half. Then trimmed the vinyl all around leaving a small gap with the van walls (that will be caulk later with silicone)
Follow adhesive instructions: use the right trowel, use the right amount of adhesive (not more).
Then we proceeded with the other vinyl sheet. To make a nice joint between the two sheets, we slightly overlapped them and trim (at once) both sheets so they have the same exact trim
We caulked the vinyl floor periphery with GE Silicone II
Why Silicone, since it is messy to work with and does not look so good? Because Silicone is the most flexible caulking and will not crack at very low temperature. -30 Fahrenheit is not uncommon here…
Finally, we will cover the floor layers with 1/8″ plywood and stair nose
We’ll do that tomorrow…
OMG WE HAVE A FLOOR!
As a final touch, we added an aluminum stair edging (amzn.to/2DUAght):
Because the stair edging is only 1-1/8″ and our floor is over 2.5″ thick, we added a wood trim that we painted grey to match the van magnetic grey:
ON SECOND THOUGHT…
- The ½” filler strips are a little too thick. Somewhere between ¼” and ½” thick strips would be flush with the van floor and better distribute the load. But after walking on it, we can tell the stack up of 1″ thick C-200 polystyrene + ½” plywood is very capable of withstand the loads.
- The double-sided tape worked well between the foam & MLV layers, but no so well between the MLV & plywood layers…
- In the long run, would it be better to not-fill the lower portion of the floor and lay the 1″ polystyrene directly on upper surfaces; this way, anti-corrosive material could be applied on the lower surfaces where water could potentially accumulate?
- We’re not sure if the MLV sheet (200$) really makes a difference in noise level…
INSPIRATION OF THE MOMENT
For the moment, we’re really inspired by floors. Yep. So let’s have a look on how others have done their van floor before us:
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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, converted it to a campervan, sold our house, quit our jobs and hit the road full-time to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!