This first step in converting the van into a livable space is to put new flooring down. This meant leveling the floor and running easily cleanable vinyl on top of that. I knew that I needed the floor to be fairly rugged and function as a base for future projects in order to make the camper van dream a reality.
Place a layer of particle board that covers the entire cargo area of the van. Fasten the new sub floor to the frame using sheet metal screws and then cover the entire area in a seamless layer of vinyl.
- Particle Board (3x ~8.50)
- Sheet Metal Screws (~$4)
- Insulating Tape (4x ~$5)
- Vinyl Flooring (~$86)
- Red Rosin Paper (optional)
- Ratchet Set
- Tape Measure
- Carpet Knife
- Circular Saw
- Jig Saw
- Power Drill
Step 1: Remove the Seats and Flooring
In order to be able to measure, cut, and fit the sub floor, all seats and flooring have to be removed. You will need the ratchet set to remove any seat brackets and seatbelt mounts. When this step is completed, the entire cargo area sheet metal floor should be exposed.
Step 2: Fit Particle Board to Floor Space
This step is the foundation of all future projects. You want to make sure to create templates (using something like the red rosin paper) and use any existing bolts to screw the wood down after the floor is completely covered.
Step 3: Eliminate Rattle, Noise and Screw the Floor Down
This is where the insulating tape (thick duct tape) and sheet metal screws come into play. You want to put the tape down on the raised beams within the floor, place the cut flooring piece on top of that, and securely attach it using the sheet metal screws.
Step 4: Repeat until the floor is covered
Do steps three and four until the entire floor is covered and fastened to the frame of the vehicle. Make sure that all seams between sheets of wood are as tight as possible because a gap could cause the vinyl flooring to sag at some point in the future.
Step 5: Roll Out, then Cut Vinyl Flooring
Roll out the vinyl flooring and lay it on top of the new sub floor and wheel wells. Use the carpet knife to cut out the shape of the floor and create a close fit with the sides of the interior. You will end up with something that looks like this:
You will end up with a brand new floor that is easy to clean and at the same time provides a solid foundation to attach benches and cabinets in the future.
Additional Notes & Tips:
If you have quick release seats (picture above and to the left), take the extra time to make cut outs in the new sub floor that allows them to fit into place after you are done installing everything. This preserves some of the functionality of the van and I am very happy that I took the time.