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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

Thought I'd start a post detailing the progress of our van.

We've been working on the floor for the last couple of weeks or so. We started with a few strips of Noico. Then we cut out strips of rigid foam board to fit in the gaps so that the floor was flush all over. The reason we did this is because we wanted the next sheet of 1/2" foam board to just sit right on top, with no framing (except along the back door and the side door.

We then made a template for the plywood (1/2") - we tried this technique my partner had seen where you lay out large pieces of cardboard, hot glue them together in the middle (we used some tuck tape as well for extra support), then we cut away the cardboard approx 1-2" away from the walls. Using scrap pieces of cardboard, we held them against the wall and hot glued them in place to the larger cardboard piece. This meant we could get a really accurate template without struggling to cut up a super huge piece of cardboard. It worked really well!

Next we cut out the plywood and painted it to protect it from mould. We just used mis-tinted latex paint.

Our plan was to then biscuit-joint the plywood together so that when lying on the frameless rigid foam board, there wouldn't be any weak points pressing into the insulation at the joints. After some thought we realized this would be... almost impossible. So our workaround is to add another layer of 1/4" ply underneath the 1/2" ply, cut and arranged perpendicular to the 1/2". We did consider adding framing along the joints, but like this idea more.

The final layer will be coin vinyl flooring. We won't be adhering it to the plywood - I've read that it can bubble in heat so we're going to try it floating to start. My father in law also told us that apparently vinyl flooring will eventually tear at corners, and one way to mitigate that is to cut the corner with a rounded nook, rather than cutting it sharp. So we'll give that a try wherever possible.

We are using rigid foam board and spray foam ("window and door" style so that it doesn't force expansion) to secure the panels in place. I read on this forum that if you also "back butter" (I love that expression) the panels, it can reduce road noise.

We're not entirely sure how to fill the ribs - we haven't installed any wiring yet - should we save those gaps for wiring? We are only installing 2" of insulation so there will be a gap between our plywood walls and the insulation for running wiring. Once we're ready to insulate, our thought is to use just spray foam ("big gap"), doing it a bit at a time so that the foam has enough air to cure. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to do this well?

We also insulated the "forehead" above the cab - leaving gaps where the lights are. We will probably just tape in little bits of insulation over the wiring so it can be removed if needed.

Our next step will be cutting out our wall panels. We're planning on using baltic birch, probably 1/2". These walls will serve as the structure for our bed, galley and upper shelving/cabinets. We're planning on installing a grid of t-nuts so that any attachments can be modular.

Our plan is to cut the panels out, do a dry fit, then work out the grid, and any other holes we need to cut (outlets, lighting, curtain rod, etc). Once all holes are cut we'll give it a healthy amount of clear coat.

Here's a big question for us - do we level the grid with the ground, or with the van? I've seen lots of people levelling their bed with the ground - is it common to level the galley too? We will have windows all around, so my concern is that the levelled bed and galley next to the windows will make the interior look a bit like a fun house. Alternatively - is it possible to adjust the suspension of the van to level it a bit more?

Thanks everyone, this forum is such a fantastic resource.

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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
When you try and park level your reference is the floor in the van anyway. Van will also level a bit as you build. Mine looks pretty level at ~4000 lbs per axle. I didn't use a level once during the build.

I insulated in those giant holes in the lower C pillars, cuz they are huge. I just used some leftover denim insulation from a food delivery. Not the best material, but if it ever gets funky I can pull it out pretty easy, from behind cabinets. Other than that, I just put foam over ribs where convenient. The thermal break is just as good as filling the gap, and easier IMO. I used a 1/2"x4" roll of construction joint foam (others often use sill seal foam), just rolled it out and glued over ceiling ribs, upper corner, upper C pillars, and some stiffener ribs here and there. Where I added wood ledgers on horizontal ribs, I didn't add insulation. Adding something between wood and metal helps with squeaks, but I don't have any squeaks, cabinet ledgers bolted on pretty tight.

3M90 is great for gluing on foam instantly. Careful of other spray adhesives - some will dissolve certain foams.
We have been considering adding an extra 1/2" of insulation to the roof - sounds like it would be a good idea since it would also provide a thermal break, and the roof seems like the biggest culprit when it comes to heat loss / gain.
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