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Discussion Starter #1
Here it goes! I picked up a 2018 136WB High Roof in November. Bought it in Virginia and blasted across the country solo over Thanksgiving break in 2.5 days to my apartment in San Francisco, still pretty proud of that one! Highly recommend it as a trial by fire way to learn highway driving with no windows. Took the plunge and quit my job in February to go full time moxying around for a bit.

Anyway, plan for the van is to make it as versatile as possible. Depending on the season it'll be used for surfing, climbing, or skiing so a lot of the design decisions have been based around keeping things flexible i.e. not closing off the "garage" from the living area so a surfboard can run the length of the floor. As is the engineering way, I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel with this thing. I'm ripping and reapplying ideas from others smarter, more creative, and with more sex appeal than me. I've been building the last few weeks, so I've got some stages pre-loaded, but goings been slow as I'm trying to help the cause and use online shopping as much as I can so I'm not going to Home Depot every day and spreading the 'rona...

Like many others before me, I'm starting out way with virtually no skills and in way over my head, so if you see something that looks ridiculous (especially electrical) give me a heads up before I explode my house :)

62396
 

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First things first, add some swivels....Bought on leisurelines and shipped from the UK. It was $360 for 2, shipped and arrived in 2 weeks. Couldn't have been easier. Did both in an afternoon on the street outside my apartment at the time.

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Next was sound deadening...I know it was probably not adding a bunch of value, but I was still living in SF and wanted to work on the van without having a real place to work yet, so figured this would be fun and get the ball rolling on the build. I went with 1 box of 80mil Kilmat, which covered all the panels and wheel wells.
 

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Holes!
I got a proper place to build out the van so finally started cooking with home gas (propane in my case?) First up was the fan. I went with the back quarter panel, centered east/west. I was really thinking of using the Hein adaptor, but couldn't decide on where I would put the fan until it was day before, so went with the Butyl tape method. Spent ages quadruple checking my measurements and placements, until finally just getting it over with. Straight forward, fan went in with a tight fit. I made a square frame of 1x2 furring strip on the inside to drill into. I would recommend this route as it gave that back panel a lot of rigidity it didn't have even before a hole.
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Next was sliding door window, I went with the CRL FW395R. I chose this setup so maximize airflow from front to back, with the T-vent open and the fan in the back. My plan is to have a countertop run a little way than half the width of the sliding door, with a cooktop right in front of the T-vent. When it's nice out I can have the door open and steam will just go outside, and with it closed maybe some steam will escape through the vent right in front of it. Anyway, here's the XL sized hole.
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62400
 

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Floor:
Not trying to reinvent the wheel here, I followed in the footsteps of the van sherpas on here and went with 1/2" Polyiso and 1/2" Baltic Birch. When I got home with the Birch, I was chastised by my girlfriend's father (who is much handier than I and tends to know things) for using such nice cabinet wood for a floor that's going to be covered. My ego couldn't take the hit, so I returned the Birch and got nice 3/4" AC plywood. Back in his good graces, I continued onward with $70 more dollars in my pocket for future fancies.
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I left between a 1/8" - 1/4" gap between the polyiso and van edges. The plywood is a tighter fit, about 1/8" gap. I don't see this commonly done, but I primed and painted the plywood after it was cut to fit. The paint was freely available as leftovers from prior projects, so if I had to buy it I'm not sure I would have, but having it painted with exterior paint eliminates any worry of it somehow molding in the future. So take that for what it is. I then filled the gap with Great Stuff, and trimmed when it was dry after a few hours. Neither the polyiso nor the plywood are glued/bolted/etc. in any way except the Great Stuff on the edges. I don't think you'd need to do anything else, and probably don't need the Great Stuff.
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After, I laid vinyl planking on the entire floor. I realize not everyone does this, and a large part of it will be covered never to be seen, but it's my party and I can do what I want to. Here's my new dance floor:
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Lastly, making a template this way is a terrible and painful experience. It's taped together with painters tape, so maneuvering it around plywood to trace is very unwieldy, and the slightest wind wrecks any futile effort to complete that step with ease. I'm not sure I have a suggestion for improvements, but I"m quite certain theres a better way to do it. That template was quickly and forcefully chucked in the bin when I finished the floor.
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One last nugget is I took off the plastic panel on the bottom half of the sliding door and used some of the plastic screw bolt things to fill the tie in holes on the floor. Same size and theres no chance of water somehow getting under the floor from those holes.
 

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Way to dive in Judd. I've got a '14 136 high roof that I'm going to start on now that I seem to have some time on my hands. I got the fan and CR window in this past fall, ready to catch up to you over the next couple weeks.

Funny the GF's father talked you out of the baltic birch, I've been reading this blog and they're all about the baltic birch Floor Installation in a Camper Van Conversion | FarOutRide. They also don't seem to have much in the way of budget constraints as they're using lots of $$ materials.
 

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I’ve been over Far Out Ride before. Do yourself a favor and ignore their advice. They’re basically nothing more than a rolling advertisement so don’t put much stock in what they have to say. BTY there is a huge difference (price & quality) between birch plywood & Baltic birch plywood. Using Baltic brich on a floor is simply throwing your money away as it’s best for building high quality cabinets. Using birch plywood on a floor is also throwing your money away. Judd’s gf’s dad steered him in the right direction when he suggest ¾"plywood (I would recommend any plywood designed for use as underlayment, not a/c, not partical board, not pressure treated but a good quality product with at least one sanded face) HD has something they call white wood (it’s basically poplar or some other common hardwood face and at about $35 is perfect for the job.

Never, ever automatically take advice from someone just because they have a blog or website. I can assure you there is far more real, honest information here from experienced people than you will ever get from a "blogger" and it’s free here!?
 

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What I don't get is why people use thick plywood. The factory floor is 1/2". I have some 5mm (~1/4" ) on top of the foam in my barn loft and it holds up fine.

I just do not get using 3/4" in a van where it is completely supported everywhere underneath it. The 3/4" in my house spans the joists maybe 16" apart, but the van has ribs every couple inches.

My plan (before we ended up getting a van with factory floor) was to do the 1/4" plywood over the foam. Or maybe even some thick interlocking flooring directly over the foam.
 

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I used 19/32.
It wasn't so much for support as it was to reduce warping (only held down on the outer edges - 8 tie down locations) and to have some meat to fasten the cabinets to.
 

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2018 136 HR Ont.
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Using birch plywood on a floor is also throwing your money away.

Never, ever automatically take advice from someone just because they have a blog or website. I can assure you there is far more real, honest information here from experienced people than you will ever get from a "blogger" and it’s free here!?

They didn't even use Baltic Birch

from their site
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!
 

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the blind leading the blind! They have no idea how materials perform!
 

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I used 19/32.
It wasn't so much for support as it was to reduce warping (only held down on the outer edges - 8 tie down locations) and to have some meat to fasten the cabinets to.
Exactly. ¾’ is a bit overkill and as MsNomer states ½ is fine, if not the minimum one should use for many reasons. I used ¾ because i found some very good, quality hardwood, 5 ply, no voids at HD for well under $40 a sheet. The ½" was almost the same price and not as high quality and I wanted to biscuit join them plus screw my cabinets into it. I used 1" polyiso for a similar reason. ½" or 3/4" would have been more than adequate for the job but I planned on using 1" on the ceiling and the price difference was negligible so why buy 2 different sizes and end up with more waste? Fortunately I’m only 5’7" so floor height is meaningless to me plus I like the extra weight in the back!
The factory floor is between ¼" & ⅜ " and is not plywood it’s some kind of very strong resin infused wood product that is very stable. Regular ¼ plywood just doesn’t meet the minimum standards for use as a sub-floor particularly over insulation. The span is meaningless in a van but there are many other criteria than span in this case. If you must use thin material, at least, Baltic birch will do the job better but at a far higher cost.
 

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@juddnelson

Nice work juddnelson!!

If you don’t know what you are doing and you are not very handy per your report, it definitely does not show up in your photos - Good Job from what I could see.

If you are looking for advice from this forum, you will get it. Many DIYers here post what they have done & then ask for advise. There are many on here that would like to help you with your choices before you build things & stuff, not after. The majority of us on here are amateur DIYers (that is we do not build these vans to make money - thus not professional). That does not mean professionals know more or perform a better job - I feel it is important for novice DIYers to know that.

Regardless, our “custom” builds are usually performed by DIY to their own specifications & design. Your GF Dad may be wise in your case, however not in mine. I used 3/4” BB plywood on my floor & I would do it again if I could not find a better & cheaper substitute for “my design”.

My design parameters were somewhat different than yours. My floor was finished “similar to a hardwood floor in a house”, 3500 EXT, as few of plywood but joints as possible, no joints visible @ the living side (my joints are under cabinets & the bed), loads of “meat” to screw down my cabinets & interior structures for crash resistance - I figured 3/4” would fair better than 1/2” & the additional 1/4” was not going to make my head hit the ceiling (I’m 70” tall).

So my quest was to find the largest 3/4” sheets of plywood I could source locally. That happened to be BB five feet wide by ten feet long 5’x10’. So I ordered it in and the finishing wood store stocks 4x8 sheets. That one extra large 5’x’10 sheet cost me $220 CAN IIRC. FYI, not templates were made by me to cut my plywood floor, just old school measure, transposed cut lines, check 3 times, & cut the 5’x10’ sheet to fit the cab & wheelwells. Once the cabinets & structures are in, it is amazing how little floor is exposed.

If this DIY is not your world & you do not have a construction or engineering or skills background, this forum can be very helpful & provide loads of experienced advice. Understand, you may recieve differing opinions that you will then need to decipher & choose from (pretty normal here). It is easier to ask (post), before you buy materials or do the work (less trips returning BB plywood etc.

edit; a footnote on FarOut Ride I have looked over their website & understand KOV’s comments about “for profit” bloggers, but my perspectives are a bit different than KOV’s. I am new to this DIY Van Conversion hobby, & I do not foresee my wife & I ever “living” in our van. So our use/needs are much different that FarOutRide’s. My understanding of ”FOR” is they are both “enginners” & have traded a normal life for “Vanlife” & if that is what makes them happy great ?. I think their website is interesting & I hope they are making some money from it so they can live the life they want. When I was doing research on DIY van conversions I looked at many of these sites and got loads of information. I found out some stuff of what to do & how it can be done, however I think I learned more about how not to do stuff & what doesn’t work from researching the internet. I respect websites more if they post their failures or back up their designs with science, manufacturers data or “government controlled research & post the laws of the land”. Things like what are the regulations & laws about transporting propane?. There is value in reading the “FOR” blog, even in just getting creative thoughts going for your own DIY project.

Good Luck with Your Project
 

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There’s cabinet ply with a paper-thin "pretty" outer ply—usually oak, maple, birch, or cherry, then there’s the tougher stuff with a more substantial outer layer such as exterior ply, arauco ply, BB. Don’t mistake "birch" ply with its thin outer ply for "Baltic birch" with the more substantial outer ply.
 

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I bought a 4x8x1/2" piece of cabinet grade ply about 3 yrs ago, to make a cabinet next to a bathroom vanity.
It's still in the hallway outside the bathroom and still flat and true as the day I bought it.
Not sure what the middle 2 layers are, but the outer layers are definitely birch.
The stuff I used for the van floor was 5/8, had one "nice" side and was pretty flat coming off the stack at Depot. But, I got it installed within 48 hrs because it woulda curled up like a giant potato chip if I waited any longer.
I think my point is that you don't really "need" the pricey stuff for the floor, but,....if you get construction grade ply, pick nice pieces and get it installed ASAP.
 

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I agree. I will be using 1/2" crezon mdo for my floor because it is stable and since we use it at work I can get a good deal. It's commonly use for highway signs and we use it for outdoor sets.
 

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Sounds like a good choice. Did any of those "signs" happen to fall of a truck on the way to the paint shop? Just asking for a friend?
 

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. . . The factory floor is between ¼" & ⅜ " and is not plywood it’s some kind of very strong resin infused wood product that is very stable. . . .
I agree it is very tough, and the topcoat is definitely part of it. But the base certainly looks like good (7-layer?) plywood to me:

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I think the layers are also impregnated with the same resin it’s not just "plywood" .
 
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