How-To Install A Vinyl Floor In Your Van
We spent a couple days replacing the soft stock floor mat with a plywood and vinyl floor. The stock mat is not the best foundation to build a bed and cabinets on top of. And it doesn’t give you that cozy home feeling. Instead it gives off a work van vibe, not the killer adventure van feeling we want.
We went with a rather thin floor with minimal insulation so that the D-ring bolt holes are still usable.
We spent approximately $500 on parts:
- Vinyl sheet – $185.76
- Vinyl adhesive – $17.94
- Premixed patch and leveling compound – $9.97
- Plywood: 3 sheets 4’x8’x15/32″ exterior AC – $115.07
- Underlayment – $44.98
- 3M 4200 Adhesive – $25.08
- #8 3/4″ screws for plywood – $4.65
- #4 5/8″ screws for trim – ~$4.00
- #8 Countersink drill bit – $9.47
- Metal fluted carpet trim – ~$25.00
- White Caulk – ~$3.00
- Great Stuff spray foam – $3.98
- Socket set
- Razor blade
- Circular saw
- Miter saw
- Jig saw
The original flooring was removed, including the side step, back step, and floor mat. The side step and back trim have bolts and push pins holding them down.
Once the bolts were removed, some force was needed to actually remove the trim pieces. They’re held down with some plastic push pins. We broke 1 of the 3 during removal of the side step.
We then laid out the 3 pieces of 4’x8’x15/32″ exterior AC plywood with the good side down.
We took the mat off and laid it down on top of the wood. We put the front of the mat all the way to the edge of the wood since we wanted that to be a straight edge.
We then traced out the mat. Having the mat made the job a little easier.
We then used a jigsaw and circular saw to cut out the wood.
When we got to the front we decide to not cut out the step yet. The mat did not extend the whole way to the step because of the trim piece.
We then tried our best to trace along the step to get a better cut.
The fit up was pretty good.
We wrote a little message in Gidget before affixing the floor.
Some of the valleys in the floor are rather wide, and we wanted to avoid bowing of the subfloor, so we cut some strips out of the excess plywood. This also made the floor more sturdy and will hopefully provide extra support for the bed and cabinets. This is also what we used to screw the subfloor down.
After we cut the wood strips and placed them where we wanted them we started gluing. We had some leftover 3M 4200 adhesive from the fan install that we stored in our fridge, there was just enough to glue down all of the pieces.
We weighed down the floor with some glass desks that we had on hand and let the adhesive cure overnight. When we came back in the morning the wood was securely bonded to the floor.
We decided to layer the floor outside how it would be installed in the van to hopefully not mess up any of the cuts. We had a painters tarp handy, so we put the underlayment on top, and then the plywood subfloor.
We cut the underlayment with a razor blade keeping roughly an inch around the wood.
We then rolled out the vinyl floor on top of the plywood and got to cutting. The vinyl comes in a 12 foot wide piece. We wanted the wood to run lengthwise in the van, so we purchased a 12’x12′ piece. We cut off roughly 6′ and rolled it up and set it aside as our, if we really screw this up we can start over piece. We then cut out the major pieces such as the wheel wells, leaving a few inches of wiggle room.
If we were to do this again, I might consider cutting as close to the plywood edges as possible. The vinyl is pretty easy to cut and it is hard to cut around some of the edges of the van when it is in it. It is probably easier with a square room, but all of the curves made it pretty rough.
We then rolled up the vinyl and started installing the pieces in the van. We started with the underlayment.
Then added the plywood. We ended up marking on the plywood where the wood strips were so we knew where we could screw into.
We then used the countersink drill bit to pre drill holes into the subfloor, spaced out roughly every 12′ – 16″. Then the #8 3/4″ screws for plywood were installed in the subfloor, attaching it to the bonded wood pieces. The screws and seams were then covered with a floor leveling compound to create a smooth surface under the vinyl.
After the leveling compound dried, it was time to install the vinyl. Half of the vinyl was folded out of the way. A felt vinyl adhesive was laid down on the plywood using a trowel.
After the adhesive covered the floor, we folded the vinyl back over a used and used a rolling pin to roll out any air pockets.
Looks pretty good doesn’t it! We went with sheet vinyl because it’s waterproof, thin, durable, easy to install, and looks decent.
Once the vinyl was down we added trim around the side and rear entrances.
Any of the large gaps around the edges of the floor were filled with Great Stuff spray foam.