Camper Van Floor Insulation
As one of the first jobs you will be doing in your camper van conversion is insulation. It is one of the most important steps of a van conversion and you should definitely insulate the floor!
Insulation I used
Solid board insulation / Celotex
The insulation I used for our 2019 Mercedes Sprinter Conversion was 25mm Celotex with 25mm battens for support and then foil tape on the joints.
The floor of a campervan is metal which is a very good conductor and will be very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer putting a good insulation layer on your van floor will make your van more comfortable all year round. Insulating the floor in your van will regulate the temperature keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Another big benefit of insulating the floor of your van is to reduce road noise from being transferred through the floor. As an addition to the floor insulation materials some people go one step further and also install sound deadening material in addition to the insulation. I personally don’t see the need for this as a good layer of insulation will provide adequate soundproofing for your van floor.
In my van I did not do this as I felt the floor insulation provided enough sound deadening for the floor.
DIY Camper Van Floor Insulation
How do you insulate a campervan floor?
To insulate the floor of your campervan you are going to lay down a wooden framework and in between the frame put a layer of insulation material like polystyrene or a solid insulation board like Celotex.
On top of the insulation layer you will add a layer of heat reflection material which also forms your vapour barrier and then on top of that you will put a plywood later and then optionally a vinyl or wooden floor.
Depending on how much headroom you have you might want to limit your options but if you have the space doing all the above is recommended.
Camper Van Floor Insulation for Sound Deadening
What is the best floor insulation for a campervan?
In my opinion, Celotex (which is building insulation) wooden battens and aluminium tape is the best floor insulation for a campervan. Cover this with a plywood layer and then your floor covering of choice.
Celotex has a really good R-Value which is only beaten by spray foam.
Van Insulation Products
Dodo Mat Aluminium Tape
Van Floor Insulation Materials – Spray Foam?
Whilst spray foam has the highest R-Value of any insulation material I would advise against using any spray foam solution as it is very permanent and also very messy! The biggest challenge being if you want to retrofit anything into your van like routing wires or pipes, it’s almost impossible to do it behind the spray foam layer.
Is Reflectix a good floor insulation?
Reflectik is bubble wrap with a foil coating, whilst it can provide a small amount of insulation, it is not the best van floor insulation you can install, Reflectix is normally used for lining the walls of a van.
What is r-value?
The “R-value” in insulation refers to the measure of thermal resistance, which indicates the effectiveness of the insulation material in resisting the flow of heat. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. The R-value depends on the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density.
The R-value is usually mentioned per unit of thickness, and it is expressed in terms of square-foot degrees Fahrenheit hours per British thermal unit (ft²·°F·h/Btu). In simpler terms, it gives you an idea of how well the insulation material can keep heat from escaping or entering a space.
Celotex vs Reflectix
Celotex and Reflectix are two different types of insulation materials, and they have different R-values due to their distinct compositions and intended uses.
- Celotex is a type of rigid foam insulation, commonly used in walls, roofs, and floors. It usually has a higher R-value because of its dense composition.
- The R-value of Celotex insulation varies based on its thickness. For example, a 1-inch thick Celotex board might have an R-value of around R-5 to R-6.
- Reflectix is a reflective insulation that primarily reduces radiant heat gain. It is often used in attics, walls, and metal buildings.
- The R-value of Reflectix varies based on its application and the presence of an adjacent air space. It might have an R-value of around R-1 to R-4 when used alone, but this can increase when used in a system with an air space.
It’s essential to note that the effectiveness of these materials also depends on proper installation and the overall design of the insulation system. For precise R-values and recommendations, it’s best to refer to the manufacturers’ specifications and guidelines or consult with insulation professionals.
Do you need to insulate a camper van floor?
Whilst you don’t need to do anything in your camper van, you could put a sleeping bag and a pillow in the back of a van and live there. Everything you do to convert a van to a camper is going to make your life more comfortable and one of the most important jobs is insulating the floor. The floor will be really cold in the winter and really hot in the summer if it is not insulated properly.
How thick should the floor be in a campervan?
Typical insulation thickness in a campervan is 25mm with a 12-15mm plywood floor on top. The thickness of your floor depends on how much headspace you have to spare but a typical thickness is 25-50mm
What is the thinnest van floor insulation?
If you are really limited on height the thinnest van floor insulation can be a 6mm layer of closed cell foam or dedicated insulation material.
Can you use carpet as insulation for van?
Whilst carpet is not the best insulation material, it is certainly better than no insulation!
Can you use expanding foam as insulation in a campervan?
Whilst expanding foam has the highest R rating of any insulation material and is probably the most efficient insulation you can install into your van, it has to be considered carefully. 1. The solution is very messy to install and has to be done by a professional. 2. It is permanent, once the expanding foam has been sprayed in it sets hard and is very hard to remove so any issues you need to resolve with routing wires and pipes can be very challenging. Most people use expanding foam in a can for smaller spaces whereas a full spray foam installation is the best insulation it is very permanent and makes retro fitting anything behind it very difficult.
What happens if you don’t insulate your floor?
If you don’t insulate the floor in your van you are going to have a very cold floor in the winter and a warm floor in the summer. Also a lot of road noise can be minimised by having a good layer of insulation in your floor.
Van Insulation Kit
Van Insulation Guide
Insulation & Sound Deadening
Insulating Camper Van Floor to maintain Temperature / Heat loss
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