Installing Campervan Walls & Flooring
Once you’ve laid the sound deadener, foamboard insulation, and 1/4″ or even 1/2″ plywood as the base of your flooring, you’re ready to choose what kind to lay on top of it. I used this post from Bizurkur as a guide, but used the foamboard instead of reflectix. All of this should be done prior to putting up the final exterior wall panels, so that your floor extends into the far reaches of the compartment – minimizing slipping/sliding, and creating a nice flush connection between the walls and the flooring. Still confused? Check out this article from DoItYourselfRV.
Vinyl, Laminate, Other?
In my opinion, the one piece that can make your camper van build really shine is the floor. Some people install interlocking gym mat material or cork flooring, both of which are comfortable on the feet, good insulators, and durable to wear and tear. But we just loved the look of wood flooring (real or fake). To make the van interior look longer and larger, it’s best to have the “planks” run the length of the van. But this can be achieved through a few options: vinyl, vinyl planks, or laminate planks (what we used).
Vinyl wrap comes sort of how wrapping paper comes – on a big roll. Some come with an adhesive already on the back side, so you simply peel and lay down. The benefits of vinyl wrap are that its “easy” to lay down, acts as a moisture barrier of sorts, and is very easy to clean, with no crevices to speak of. Many people have used vinyl sheeting in their campers and RVs, but I wasn’t confident that I could install it smoothly without bubbles, bumps, etc. My plywood subfloor was also not one piece, meaning there were a few butting edges, and I was worried that the thin vinyl sheets would show these edges clearly.
Vinyl and laminate planks are the two top options for camper van flooring in my opinion. You can buy pretty much exactly the amount you need, they install methodically and lock together to prevent separation, and look more realistic. I carefully considered the pros and cons of each, but after watching this video about what could happen with cheap vinyl planks, I ended up choosing laminate. Part of the reason vinyl planks (especially the cheap kind) might bend and bubble is due to the nature of the van. Unlike a household floor, a van’s chassis bends and twists slightly as it rolls down the road. To me, a peeling vinyl plank seemed inevitable, especially since I was going to be throwing fishing equipment/tents/tables into it constantly.
The laminate planks I purchased were on sale at home depot, and considerably cheaper than some of the alternatives (if money is no object, go with Pergo brand- they make really high quality stuff).