Constructing a camper van floor – Illustrated Guide
Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Getting the floor of your van down means that you have a good solid base to build on. Before you start constructing anything else, it's important to have something in place to screw your furniture in to.
Our floor was constructed by first fixing timber battens to the metal floor of the van. We then cut the rigid insulation boards to fit between the battens. We used 25mm insulation and battens to avoid raising the floor as much as we could. We are both tall and wanted to make sure that we could still stand up in the van once it was finished!
The diagram above shows exactly how our floor was built. On top of our battens and insulation we added 11mm OSB and then 2mm lino to finish the floor. We used the old plywood that was in the van when we bought it as a template for our OSB floor.
Top tip - It's a good idea to position the battens on the floor to line up with where you will attach your furniture at a later date.
Lay the battens
Our Fiat Ducato van had raised 'ribs' on the floor, so we decided to place the battens and insulation on top of these ribs. place.
It's a good idea to evenly space your battens across the floor of the van to make sure the floor has full support. You can also add extra battens where you might need to screw in furniture later.
We used 8 x 2.4m battens in total. We arranged 4 battens running the length of the van with extensions at each end because the van floor was longer than 2.4m! A horizontal batten was placed at either end.
The wooden battens can be fixed to the floor of the van by glueing with Sikaflex EBT or similar and weighing down overnight. This avoids make more screw holes in the van that could lead to rust.
Once the wooden structure is in place, insulation boards can then also be cut to size using a hand saw or stanley knife and stuck in place.
We also used some expanding foam insulation, to fill the gaps in between the battens and the rigid insulation. Despite being fun to spray from the can, in turned out to be pretty messy! We would probably skip this step next time as it took ages to cut away once it was dry and probably didn't help that much.
Creating a vapour barrier with foil tape
Taping up the joints with foil tape helps to form a continuous vapour barrier across your van floor. We added a “skirt” of reflective bubble foil insulation connected to the floor which would later attach to our van walls.
Sub floor base
Plywood or OSB can be used on top of the insulation to form the next layer of your floor. We opted for OSB as it was cheaper and wasn't going to be seen once our Vinyl was on top.
The final layer - Vinyl flooring
After a lot of debate we settled on a silver/grey sheet of studded vinyl from Burts for our van floor. The sheet was 2m x 4m and arrived in a roll. We unrolled the sheet and left it overnight to acclimatise (according to B&Q this is recommended). The next job was to cut the vinyl flooring to the right size before fixing it to the OSB floor. We used a stanley knife to cut the vinyl using the OSB edge as a guide. Make sure that once you are happy with the position of the floor cover clamp it down so it doesn’t shift position when cutting.
Vinyl floor can be attached to the OSB with both double sided tape and contact adhesive. At the doors to the van where the edge of the floor was visible we used an aluminium trim to hide the untidy edge and strengthen the step areas. You can also choose to add wooden floor panels or carpet at this stage. We love how easily wipeable our vinyl floor is!
Our next step was to install a window in the van!