In my previous post, Fantastic Fan Installation, I showed how we cut a hole in the roof and installed the first piece to this van build puzzle. All went well with that, but we have A LOT more to do with this build. Today, I want to show you how we did the van flooring insulation. Don’t worry, this isn’t too difficult. 🙂
Tools and Supplies Needed
- Flathead Screwdriver (for demo work)
- Phillips Screwdriver (for demo work)
- Sheet Metal Screws
- Brown Builder’s Paper
- Utility Knife
- Industrial Shears
- Ultra Touch Radiant Barrier
- Flex Fix Tape
- Pressure Treated Plywood
- Socket Set
- Power Drill
Astro Camper Van Flooring Insulation
The first thing we needed to decide was whether we were just planning to focus on the cargo area or did we want to insulate the cab area as well. In the interest of doing it right the first time, we chose to remove the seats and the mat in the cab area to check for rust. Good news, it didn’t look bad at all under the seats. We just did a little scrubbing to clean it up a bit.
The vans floor will mainly pose two problems for us. Noise and engine heat. We decided the engine’s heat will be nothing like the sun’s heat on the other exposed parts of the van, so we chose to focus on noise reduction. The plan was to lay a run of Ultra Touch Radiant Sound Barrier from the back of the van all the way up to the firewall of the engine. Then, we will replace the floor mat and seats up front and cut a fitted piece of treated plywood for the back living area.
Watch the Build 2 video – Floor Insulation & Sound Barrier
Use Brown Paper and Cardboard as Templates
To get the flooring pieces measured properly, we used brown builder’s paper. Sure, you could just lay down the insulation and start cutting it or “wing it” but to get some precise measurements we used the builder’s paper. First, you cut a manageable piece of the paper from the roll to get started. Lay the piece on the floor and trace the floor. We ended up splitting the van in two sides since the paper wasn’t wide enough to cover the whole width of the van. After doing the tracing, pull out your scissors and start cutting away. It will take some trimming to get the paper to fit tightly.
The paper was just the first step. We next used the paper to make cardboard cut outs. The cardboard could be skipped but believe me, it was a lifesaver doing the extra steps. Plywood is expensive, so you don’t want to ruin a sheet. The paper is a good starting point but putting the more sturdy cardboard in place gives you a more realistic idea of what the finished product will be like. Below, I am fitting and testing one side of the van’s cardboard template.
Tracing the Insulation with Templates
Now that we had the cardboard templates, it was time to trace and cut out the insulation. It’s pretty simple at this point. Just lay your cardboard on the rolled out insulation, while trying to use the straight edges if possible, and use a marker to trace along cardboard on the silver side of the Ultra Touch Radiant Barrier. Next, it’s time to cut. We first started out using regular scissors, but soon learned that would take a year and a half so we upgraded to industrial shears and never looked back.
We cut two pieces of insulation for the floor which ran from the back doors to the front floorboard up to the firewall. Below is a look at the long run of insulation we cut:
The two long pieces of insulation were laid in the van, then we secured the insulation to the van using Flex Fix Tape.
We next used our cardboard templates to cut the 8 ft sheet of Pressure Treated Plywood to fit the two sides of the van. We pre-drilled the holes through the wood and sheetmetal and then made countersink holes in the wood to allow the screws to fit flush into the wood. We didn’t want the screws to cause lumps in our future flooring.
Here is a look at what the floor looked like once we completed the flooring insulation and installed the base floor plywood:
The pictures actually show regular plywood. We came back and added treated plywood to help protect it from moisture and warping.
Next up: Ceiling and Wall Insulation.