Floor Installation in our Camper Van Conversion

Van Conversion Floor

Floor Installation in our Camper Van Conversion

And now is the time to install a floor in our van conversion! A floor has many other critical functions than just supporting our feet. Indeed, a proper floor installation prevents water infiltration (= rust), provides thermal and noise insulation, and serves as anchor for the cabinets. In addition it should be resistant to wear, be able to withstand enough weight, not produce any squeak and … look good (yep, that counts!). There are many ways to install a floor in a van, but keep reading to learn our take on it!

Disclosure: The method we propose below works for most people (including ourselves!), but some people are getting a few issues such as squeaking, bad adherence or uneven seam. The obvious and easy solution for 100% success would be to screw the floor to the van, but we decided to avoid this because of rust issues in the long term. So please make your own research (Google, YouTube) and choose the method that you’re the most comfortable with! 🙂

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a product link and buy anything from the merchant (Amazon, eBay, etc.) we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not.


Time Spent


Total Cost

$ 0 USD

Material: 3 Seasons

Good for occasional sub-freezing temperatures.
1 & 2Minicell Foam7 sheets eBay
3Preferred: Baltic Birch Plywood (½”, 4’x8′)3 sheetsCheaper to source locally
Alternative: Exterior Plywood (¾”, 4’x8′)
4Vinyl Floor13′ wide x 8′ longCheaper to source locally
0/13M 90 Spray Adhesive1Amazon
3/4Vinyl Floor Adhesive1Amazon
 Wood Filler (only if using exterior plywood)1Amazon
 Silicone II (for caulking the vinyl floor periphery, step 7.6)1Amazon
 Great Stuff “Gaps & Cracks”1Amazon
 Vinyl Floor Seam Sealer1Amazon
 Stair Edging (1-1/8″)1Amazon

Material: Snow Chasing

1" thick XPS for Full-On Snow Chasing!
1Minicell foam3 sheets eBay
XPS foam (1″ thick, 4’x8′)3 sheetsCheaper to buy locally (product example: Insulation4us)
3Preferred: Baltic Birch Plywood (½”, 4’x8′)3 sheetsCheaper to source locally
Alternative: Exterior Plywood (¾”, 4’x8′)
4Vinyl floor13′ wide x 8′ longCheaper to source locally
0/13M 90 Spray Adhesive1Amazon
1/2Silicone II3Amazon
2/3PL300 Foam Board Adhesive2Amazon
3/4Vinyl Floor Adhesive1Amazon
 Wood Filler (only if using exterior plywood)1Amazon
 Great Stuff “Gaps & Cracks”1Amazon
 Vinyl Floor Seam Sealer1Amazon
 Stair Edging (1-1/8″)1Amazon


  • Minicell thickness: Transit = 0.40″, Sprinter & ProMaster = 0.30″. Choose thickness in eBay store.
  • Quantities shown are for our van (Transit extended-length) and may varies according with your van model. For Minicell quantities, follow recommendations in product description (eBay store).
  • We used ½” XPS (in pink) to fill the corrugations, but we would use Minicell if we had to start over. Read our “Second Thoughts” at the bottom of this page for more info!


Snap-Off Utility KnifeStanley 18mm.1Amazon
Caulking GunFor 10 oz cartridge.1Amazon
Jig SawDEWALT Cordless Lithium-ion 20V.1Amazon
Blade Set for Jig Saw14 Pieces.1Amazon
Circular SawDEWALT Cordless Lithium-ion 20V, 7¼ with brake.1 Amazon
Circular Saw BladeDEWALT Precision Finish Blade 60 tooth.1Amazon
Trowel1/16″ x 1/16″ x 1/16″ Square Notch.1Amazon
Rolling PinTo roll tasty vinyl pies.1Amazon
Painters TapeTo protect the van walls when working with Great Stuff Foam.1Amazon

Good To Know

Floor Layers In A Nutshell

Layer 1: To Fill corrugations

  • Provides thermal insulation (and sound insulation to a certain extent).

Layer 2: Top of corrugations

  • Provides thermal insulation (and sound insulation to a certain extent).

Layer 3: Underlayment

  • Provides a smooth and level surface for good adhesion of the finish layer.
  • Supports and distributes weight.
  • Serves as anchor for cabinets.

Layer 4: Finish

  • Looking good!
  • Protects against liquid infiltration (and therefore, rust). Trust us, spills WILL happen! That’s why we went for large vinyl sheets (2), instead of multiple vinyl tiles (to minimize seams).
  • Shall be wear resistant.

Choosing A Plywood

Baltic Birch

The plywood underlayment shall be moisture resistant, exempt of any warp, and the surface common with vinyl flooring shall be nice and smooth. That’s why we prefer Baltic Birch. It is laminated with exterior grade adhesive, it’s straight, the surfaces are smooth (no wood filler needed) and it’s very dense (screws grip better in it). As a result, ½” should work well. Note that we wouldn’t treat the entire plywood sheet: just the edges. Indeed,  it is sandwiched between the vinyl floor and the foam (XPS or Minicell), so it’s not exposed to high level of moisture or condensation.

Exterior Plywood

Exterior plywood commonly found in hardware stores are glued using exterior grade adhesive and some of them are also treated for protection against fungal decay, rot and termites. Compared to Baltic birch, it is made of thicker plies so less plies are needed to obtain the same thickness. Therefore, the resulting plywood is less dense and warp more easily. We’ll go ahead and say that, even if the underlayment is exposed to some moisture, it’s not required to used treated plywood as it is “protected” by the vinyl floor and the foam (XPS or Minicell). If using plywood to fill the corrugations, that’s another story…

Choosing the XPS foam

You’ll find XPS branded as “Foamular” 150, 200 and 250. This number relate to its compressive strength. 150 is capable of supporting 15 PSI, 200 can support 20 PSI and 250 is capable of 25 PSI. Knowing that a human footprint is equals to approximately 16 PSI, it’s a good idea to choose XPS higher than 150 (15 PSI). Note that the plywood underlayment will take care of distributing the weight to a larger surface, so any foam should be OK. That being said, there’s a pretty good chance you walk on the foam during the van build (before installing the underlayment); you’ll appreciate if the foam does’t collapse under you 🙂

Attaching The Floor

Believe it or not, there’s no need to secure anything; the floor isn’t going anywhere! The large plywood sheets, combined with the weight of the cabinets (and others) will ensure the floor stays where it belongs. Doubt it? We completed our conversion in 2017 and our floor hasn’t move at all. And many people have use this technique with the same results. 

So, why are we recommending to use adhesive anyway? The adhesive doesn’t provide any kind of “structural” bond: its role is to keep everything where it belongs during the floor assembly & to prevent squeaks; especially with XPS. We repeat, XPS squeaks if not attached properly! Keep reading for recommended adhesives. 

All of that being said, we see a scenario where we would attach the floor to the van: if no cabinets are added to the van and a slide-out-bike-rack is installed. Then, it might be a good idea to attach it (because of the long lever when the bike rack is out).

Adhesive Compatibility

3M 90YesNO!YesYes
3M 78YesYesYesYes
3M 77YesMaybeYesYes
Great Stuff (Gaps & Cracks)YesYesYesYes
Silicone IIYesYesYesYes
PL 300NoYesWeakYes

Choosing the right adhesive

Like it or not, there’s no perfect “universal” adhesive (because CHEMISTRY). The “best” adhesive depends on materials, application context, use context, availability and cost. Base on the previous table, here are some options:

  1. 3M 90: This is the stuff we used to glue Thinsulate to the walls and ceiling. Works great, except it WILL attack XPS. Bond time = 15 minutes.
  2. 3M 78: Designed specifically for foam, it’s probably the best option (technically speaking). However, it’s costly and more difficult to find. Bond time = 30 minutes (it means you have 30 minutes to put everything together and apply pressure).
  3. 3M 77: It used to be safe for XPS (polystyrene), but 3M had to change the ingredients recently. We’d recommend testing it before using it with XPS. Bond time = 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Great Stuff Gaps & Cracks: Not technically an adhesive, but people use it successfully to glue foam. It’s very cheap and easy to find, but it can be messy if not careful. Bond time = less than 10 minutes? (test it, not sure exactly)
  5. Silicone II (not acrylic): Not technically an adhesive, but it works great for the current application (prevent squeaks). Quite cheap and easy to find. Bond time approximately 15 minutes.
  6. PL 300: That’s what we recommend for bonding XPS to wood. Won’t work on metal or with Minicell. Bond time = 20 minutes.

Joining the plywood (to get an even seam)

Some people are getting uneven seams where the plywood joins together. We personally didn’t get this issue, but we would highly recommend looking into joining techniques to increase your chances of success, such as:

Lap Joint
Wood Lap Joint
Biscuit Joint
Biscuit Joint

Some don'ts


We often see people framing their floor, the justification being that it “stabilizes” the floor. Unless if you are using compressible insulation (thinsulate, wool), there’s just no need to do this. The van’s floor is stable enough. Good reasons not to do it: 1- frames are thick and vertical space in a van is precious. 2- Wood is a good heat conductor, so the frames create thermal bridges (in other words, it’s bad for insulation. Check out our “Insulation Guide” for more.).

Metal screws

Each screw added to the metal of your van is a potential ignition point for rust. Knowing that the floor is a very sensitive zone for rust, we really recommend not screwing liberally through it. There can be some exceptions to this (we personally drilled a few holes for the Webasto & Propex heaters, composting toilet exhaust, grey water drain, propane locker vent and floor vent), but the bare metal of each added hole/cutout should be primed + painted to prevent corrosion.

And now let's get to work!

1- Clean Everything:

Cleaning is NO FUN.

Clean your mess

2- Fill the corrugations with the Minicell (Floor Layer 1):

NOTE: We used ½" XPS for this step (as shown in the pictures) which is too thick, so we would use Minicell if we had to start over.

2.1- Cut the XPS (Minicell) using the utility knife.

2.2- Install on the van floor using adhesive (3M 90 adhesive with Minicell).

The XPS Shake:

Put some of the leftover C-200 XPS strips in the blender with vanilla, protein powder, ice cubes and decorate with mint. Enjoy!

3- Install the XPS or Minicell (Floor Layer 2):

3 Seasons = 0.25" thick Minicell.
4 Seasons = 1" thick XPS.

3.1- Isabelle crafted a template from some random brown left overs. It helped making clean cuts on the insulation.

2.2- Add the XPS or Minicell and secure in place using the adequate adhesive (XPS = Silicone II, Minicell = NONE).

We left a gap of about ½” all around the van wall to account for installation variations and to ensure there would be no squeaking noise. This gap will be filled later with Great Stuff.

4- Install the plywood underlayment (Floor Layer 3):

TIP: Use the foam (from layer 2) as a template, it'll save you some time! And don't forget to take your shirt off when using a circular saw.

Isabelle approves the result and the shirtless display.

Secure the plywood to the XPS using PL300 (remember, this is to prevent squeaks) and apply weight. If using Minicell, no adhesive is required (Minicell doesn't squeak).

Cannot find any weight? Leaving a bowl of food on top of the surface to be glued will inevitably attract heavy weight.

6- Before adding the finish layer...

Cavities on the plywood were filled with wood filler and then sanded flush. If using baltic birch, this step is not required as it is already smoothed.

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 trim it flush with plywood sheet (using an utility knife).

Van Conversion Great Stuff Overfilled Flushed

7- Install the vinyl sheet (Floor Layer 4):

7.1- We bought a sheet of 8'x13' vinyl and trimmed it as follows:


The goal is to have the "planks" oriented lengthwise and to have the seam "hidden" under the bed:


7.2- Something like this:

TIP: We were told not to trim the vinyl to it's final dimensions right from the start and that was a GOOD TIP! Work with extra length and do the final trim AFTER it's glued. Indeed, it’s almost impossible that the vinyl will return to the same exact location after the glue is applied (because it will slightly move and stretch). That's why we initially trimmed the vinyl to 6.5', which is slightly larger than its final dimension (~6').

7.3- Follow the instructions on the vinyl floor adhesive: use the appropriate trowel and the right amount of adhesive (not more).

7.4- The vinyl was stretched and bubbles removed using a rolling pin. Notice the extra material around the periphery: that will be trimmed to its final dimensions later.

7.5- Then we proceeded with the second vinyl sheet. To make a nice seam between the two sheets, we slightly overlapped them and trimmed both sheets (simultaneously) so they have the same exact trim. No picture of the seam, sorry 🙁

Floor Installation Camper Van Conversion (4)

7.6- We caulked the vinyl floor periphery with GE Silicone II. Unlike acrylic, Silicone is permanent: it doesn't dry and doesn't crack, it's very flexible and it remains elastic from -55F to 400F.

Floor Installation Camper Van Conversion (Silicone)

8- Install stair edging:

As a final touch, we added an aluminum stair edging at the sliding door, passenger/driver seats and at the back of the van (garage).

Because the stair edging is only 1-1/8″ and our floor is thicker (we went for the "snow chasing" mode!), we added a wood trim that we painted grey to match the van magnetic grey. The wood trim is screwed into the plywood layer of the floor (the screws are hidden by the aluminum edging).



On Second Thought...

Things we would do differently
  • We initially went for ½” XPS to fill the corrugations and we would now go for Minicell (because it has exactly the right thickness).
  • We initially install a layer of MLV (mass loaded vinyl) for soundproofing, but we feel it was superfluous. This thing is HEAVY and sandwiching it among the floor layers is not how it’s meant to be installed to be effective. So save yourself the trouble!
  • We used exterior plywood and left it in the sun for some time… It warped the plywood big time. Next time we’ll use Baltic birch and keep it away from the sun!
  • This page was updated to reflect how we would do things next time!
How cold is the floor in winter?

Heat rise, right? So we expected our floor to be constantly cold. Turns out the Webasto placement is perfect, as it blows hot air parallel to the floor. As a result our floor is nice and warm even when it’s way below freezing temperatures outside. Neat!

That being said, it might not be the case for different layouts… If your “living area” is in the back and your Webasto in the front, the floor might be cold in your living area. 

Any change over time?

Nope! The floor is still level and doesn’t squeaks 🙂


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about us

Nice To Meet You.

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

232 thoughts on “Floor Installation in our Camper Van Conversion”

    • I’m a carpenter by trade, I would highly recommend staying away from hardwood in a van. There is too much variability in the environment… You’ll be traveling (presumably) between area’s of high (expansion) & low (shrinking) humidity levels, large temperature swings, not to mention the “in & out” nature of living in a van. Hardwood will likely be more expensive & is more susceptible to warping, buckling, and scratching. It’s your dream van, do what you’d like, this is the unfortunate reality of using real wood.

  1. Thanks for this info. I am following your setup (one on the right). You recommend using Silicone to secure pink foam to the floor/minicell. Is it strong enough to bond the pink to the sections on floor and minicell?

  2. Am I correct in understanding the the wood floor isn’t bolted down to anything? Is it just resting on top of the insulation? Does this pose any safety hazards? Or is it fine because it’ll have things secured on top of the floor and to the walls?

  3. Love your site, thanks for your work putting it together!
    Going with minicell per your recommendation. I’m curious your thoughts on butt joints on the plywood, especially with the possible give with the minicell under the plywood. I’m using 1/2” Baltic and trying to decide on doing biscuits or lap joint or something but wonder if you’ve considered this with the minicell route.

    • We didn’t use anything at the joint, but I think i would consider biscuit joint next time just to make sure… We’re not pros at woodworking, so maybe there are better solutions we’re not aware of?


    • For sure join the plywood with some kind of joint. Minicell is spongey so the plywood will not stay level.
      Dado maybe?

  4. We went with the three season build per your analysis. I have a simple question in regards to Layer 1, Minicell installation between the corrugations. Is it absolutely essential to glue that layer to the floor? We’ve completed all our layers and installed as a fit test and the thought of taking everything back out is daunting. I can see the XPS material slipping and sliding but the Minicell seems to have less of that issue. We want to do things right and don’t want to cut corners. Thanks!

  5. I plan to combine your floor tutorial with electric radiant heating. Your explanations are concise & filled with rich informative making it possible to not only understand but make it customizable. Each step is broken down to small digestible mind nuggets. Kinda like thought legos.
    Thank you!

  6. Hi, what do you think of re-using the vinyl floor mat that comes with a transit cargo van as one of the layers in the floor build? For example, if using your 3-season, minicell only version above and placing the vinyl mat between the top layer of the minicell and the plywood, in order to provide a little extra insulation, without having to go the XPS route. What do you think?

    Thank you for all the great info!

    • We didn’t get a vinyl floor with our Transit, so I’m not sure exactly how it looks so it’s hard to advise. But I’m not super keen on adding several extra layers; will it squeak? will it be well supported? Personally I think I would skip it. Is this for a winter (skiing) adventure van?

      • Thank you so much for the quick reply! Initially, I am thinking just 3 season, due to some health issues; but I would LOVE to take it out for a winter skiing trip eventually, so that’s why I was considering more insulation. I am currently living in it with no build whatsoever in the Arizona desert, so trying to do the floor under those circumstances is challenging, that’s why I was leaning away from the winter floor you laid out, because it seems a little harder to manage building that layout in my current circumstances. But if it really does make a big difference for warmth, I probably should do it. I just checked the underside of the black vinyl mat and it has a fabric or felt-like material on the bottom, so I guess that could be a problem, because it might be susceptible to mold. If you have any additional thoughts, I’m all ears! Thanks so much!

  7. I’ve just learned about GPS foam insulation. It would seem to have a number of advantages over XPS (more stable, breathability, less moisture retention, compressive strength). Would you recommend it or am I missing some significant advantage to XPS? Any idea what adhesives would be used if it were substituted for XPS in your floor insulation plan?

  8. Hi guys, thanks for the wealth of info. A couple of questions as I get ready to do my floor:
    -You mentioned if you did it over again, you’d use minicell. Why that over XPS or ISO?
    -Is the initial layer of minicell/XPS necessary, especially if we can’t find anything exactly .3″ (meaning things will remain uneven anyway)? Thinking about just starting with a layer of 1″ XPS/ISO
    -For the subfloor, we can’t get baltic birch here…is any plywood okay, or should we stick with pressure treated at a minimum?

    • Hey Devon, did you end up foregoing the 0.30″ minicell filler for the corrugations? I’m thinking the same thing as you, wondering if XPS or GPS straight onto the van floor would work or if you’ve had issues with compression/cracking. Thanks!

    • I purchased minicell from the link they provided and got .3 and .25 that was listed as the Promaster sizes. I’m halfway through installation and so far it’s working well. I can update in a few days when I get it finished to let you know how it it turned out.

  9. Do you feel like the floor is depressed when you step on it? I would prefer not to use any screws if possible but I feel like they would add a ”hard wood” feel when walking.

  10. what is the interior height after installing your snow chaser floor insulation system? Please let me know the distance from top of the second layer of vinyl flooring to the bottom of a ceiling rib. Thank you. I am so appreciative of your information and thoughtful analysis. Have a great day. Tim

  11. Hi!
    Do you know if I could use 3M 74 between my XPS and the metal van floor itself?
    I done my research and have found conflicting results and worry about it being too weak or melting my foam board. I have tried to source 3M 78 but it is not available near me or on Amazon for my location, unfortunately.


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