There are several approaches to creating a subfloor in your van. It varies based on what type of flooring you will put on top of the subfloor, as well as what kind/how much insulation you feel is necessary in your floor. We opted to have minimal insulation and utilized some sound deadening material along with Reflectix Cool Shield insulation and 1/2 inch plywood.
- Fatmat RattleTrap Sound Deadener
- Circular Saw
- Wood Jigsaw Blades
- ¼ – 1 inch drill bits
- 1/2 inch Plywood
- Angle grinder
- Reflective Foil Tape
- Deck Screws 1 5/8′
- Tape Measure
This was our very first project on the vans. Needless to say I was a little intimidated. Countless hours of research were under my belt and I’d watched pretty much every how-to video possible, but execution time had come! Preparation at this point consisted of mentally saying, “let’s get to building” and making sure we had everything in hand that we had ordered from Amazon or bought on our Lowes run. One thing I always tried to do was have a checklist of items that I was hopeful to get done in that build day. I quickly realized that about half of that ambitious list was achieved, but we had a list nonetheless and items were checked off. At this point in the van process, go easy on yourself and see how things go. For me, this was understanding what I was good at and what I wasn’t and tried to be efficient from there on out.
Below is an outline of the steps we took for getting your sound proofing and sub floor completed.
Cut the rattle trap
Ben and I had different approaches for how we covered the wheel wells, but no one way is the right way. The goal is to cover as much of the metal as possible. Measure your strips and start covering. Probably the easiest thing we did over the course of the entire build…enjoy it while it lasts!
Additional to the wheel wells, you’ll want to create some longer strips. These can go in-between the corrugated sections of the floor. In retrospect, we could have covered more of the van floor, but it is up to you how much you’d like to spend on this.
Create cardboard templates
Being that there are several spots in the van that need a custom shape and are tricky to work around, cardboard templates are very useful. This template will be used for Reflectix and the plywood for around the wheel wells.
Cut up the Reflectix
After measuring the different sections of Reflectix, cut them according to length and the template, as necessary, and secure with foil tape. One important note: when you’re laying down each piece of Reflectix, we’d suggest marking where the peaks are on the corrugated floor of the van. If you mark these, you will know where you can screw into for securing the floor later on. It is much more difficult to see and find this after everything is in place.
Cut and Fit Plywood
Cut the back piece using the circular saw, then using the jigsaw, cut the design from the template you had previously made for Reflectix application. (remember, mark the places at the end of the board where you want to screw into later)
Create a front template for the last piece of plywood. (Optionally, you could create this during the Reflectix application.)
Cut and lay down your final piece of plywood.
Secure the flooring:
Now that all of your boards are in place, you’ll want to secure the subfloor through to the bottom of the van. We chose to utilize DeckMate 1 3/4′ screws and drive them into the peaks of the van floor. Remember we marked them as we went, so they should be easy to find, but one thing to take into consideration is the location of your spare tire. Make sure you drop it down before you screw the back panel in place. Once you’ve screwed it in, we’d suggest taking an angle grinder to them so you don’t have any issues when you put it back up. The last thing you want is a useless spare tire!
This was relatively easy to install. You can’t mess up the RattleTrap, use as much or as little as you want. The sub floor is stable, didn’t take away from the height available in the van (~ 1 inch) and using 1/2 inch plywood gave us a sturdy base for our final floor while keeping additional weight in the van relatively light.
We don’t have much to compare to in terms of using another type of insulation since we both decided to use this approach in our vans. We would encourage others to let us know what their experience has been so we can offer additional information.