.Once you have finished insulating your campervan to-be, it’s time for the next steps! Getting started with the floor, ceiling and walls of your campervan conversion is great because it really makes you see how the van will look like in the end! Time to bring your campervan conversion to the next level 🙂 .
What to do first?
When the insulation is done, it gets a bit difficult. Things as your roof ventilator and electricity have to be done simultaneously with the floor, ceiling and walls. There is no standard order in which to do these things and it depends on your particular van. Just be aware it can save you a lot of hassle later on if you do it in a logical order.
Most important lesson: before putting all the walls and ceilings in, make sure to put the necessary electricity cables from left to right and from front to back, and to make them long enough 🙂
The floor, ceiling and walls of your campervan conversion
Both a great as well as a difficult thing about this part of your van conversion, is that there are so many options available!! If you have a look at campervan conversions on Pinterest or Instagram you can go completely nuts with the options. You have completely wooden vans which look really rustic and cosy, or really modern vans that have a super luxurious feel.
A lot of the camper builders in the Netherlands use a carpet-like fabric on the ceiling and sometimes also on the wall. I didn’t really like the structure and look and feel of this material so I decided to look further.
Wood also seemed like a great option. I saw some beautifully done vans with old wooden panels that gave a great look and feel to the van. It did seem however a lot of work to apply and maintain.
I had to take two main things into account: I was in a bit of a hurry because I wanted the van conversion to be completed within 3 months, and I wanted the van to feel very much like a home but still functional. That’s why you have to make several choices for the floor, ceiling and walls of your campervan conversion. In the following chapters I will explain you which choices I made, why and how much they cost.
The Floor of your campervan
The floor: the structure
For the floor in the campervan, we ordered a large piece of plywood of 10mm thickness. Because we saved the pieces of the old floor, it was quite easy to draw and saw out the shapes of the new floor.
After getting the shapes right, we could head back to the van! The floor is rested on top of the isolation. As you may have read in my post about insulating your campervan, we glued some wooden strips to the bottom of the car. We did this so it would be easy to attach the plywood of the floor to it.
We could then easily put some screws in the floor to attach it, and continue working (and make a mess 😉 )
Then the fun part started, the lay out! We drew it out on the wood so it would become more real than on paper 🙂 Once we got all the measurements, we could move on to a great part – covering the floor! It needed to have the flooring on it before putting in the couches and the kitchen. This would make sure the floor would be staying at its place and that the whole floor would be water proof!
The floor: the cover
The first and most important thing to consider when making choices for a floor: how to keep it clean and dry! Carpet may seem lovely and soft on your feet, but your camper will get so disgusting you will hate it very soon 🙂 . A wooden floor may seem like a great idea, but think about spilling some water or a coffee. The liquid will definitely get through the cracks in the floor.
Also in the Netherlands you pay taxes according to how heavy the van is, so this is another thing to consider. Hardwood floors look awesome but can significantly add weight.
In the end, I decided to go with a Vinyl floor from Carpetright . It was cheap, it had a great design and it came into one piece! This would definitely make sure no liquids or dirt would get through it and vinyl is super easy to clean too!
Because the vinyl wouldn’t move anymore as soon as the couches and kitchens would be attached to the floor, I didn’t put too much effort in attaching vinly to the wooden floor. The only thing I did was using strong double-sided tape to attach the vinyl. A couple of pieces in the middel and extra pieces along the edges.
We got recommended NOT to use glue, because it may burn into the vinyl as it may create a chemical reaction.
In addition, to keep the vinyl in place and to protect it from curling up and getting dirt and moist under it, we put metal edges around it. It looks quite nice too 🙂
After a couple of months on the road I can say that the floor has worked out perfectly! Next time I would probably get a bit darker type of vinyl – because the floor is very light it does get a bit dirty sometimes. But with some water and soap it’s clean before you know it 🙂
The ceiling of your campervan
The ceiling: the structure
For the ceiling, we used 5mm plywood. This plywood is very thin and bends easily. In the van, there were some cable holding rails (the black rails in the picture below) which served as the basis for the ceiling. Also we attached some wooden strips to the steel of the roof, to secure the isolation material and to give the ceiling a basis.
How it was designed is that two pieces of wood basically put pressure on each other to stay put. This would again have as benefit that because it’s only two pieces, it’s good for isolation and moist management. No little cracks and holes through which the cold air can come!
For the first piece, we had to cut the hole for the fan to start with. Then we pushed it strongly so it would bend, and put it into place with nails. We brought the cables for the lighting through the wood and attached the led lights (preliminary).
The ceiling: the cover
Although the wood was of nice quality and looked pretty good, I felt the wooden colour would not fit with the rest of the interior I had in mind. I decided to go with a white colour for the ceiling. The wood was untreated, so I started with a base coat and afterwards applied a laquer coat. You can see the result in the picture all below the post.
Wanna know how we made the walls? Read on!
The Walls of your campervan conversion
The walls: the structure
My van has a steel structure that was a great base for the walls. We attached some wooden planks to the steel. As opposed to 10mm for the floor, we also used 5mm plywood for the walls just as we did for the ceiling. This thin plywood is easy to bend and would save some space as opposed to straight walls. We could easily attach the plywood to the wooden planks that were used as basis.
This meant that each wall would consist of only one piece of wood, or max two for a crazy bend on the left side. Cutting the wood in the right shape was not easy with all the bends and curves! But in the end the result was amazing :-). And because the walls are not straight it actually looks more spacious!
The walls: the cover
The plywood was untreated so before covering it with anything, I had to paint it with a base layer. This would avoid the wood sucking up any paint or glue that would be applied afterwards.
I was a bit sad to see the nice colour of the wood go, but as soon as the base layer of paint was on it became much more clear how the van interior would look like in the end!
Shopping around a bit for the right material to put on the wall was fun but also difficult. I wanted it to have a modern fresh look, not too expensive and easy to attach. I ended up choosing “vliesbehang”, a very strong type of wallpaper.
Now I’ve been on the road for 2 months I see that the wallpaper starts crumbling a bit on the edges. When I get back to the Netherlands I will have to apply some new glue. But all in all very happy with the result!
Where to get the materials and the costs?
To get the floor, ceiling and walls of your campervan conversion right, you probably need lots of wood 🙂 For my Renault Trafic campervan conversion we ordered the wood at a local wood wholesaler. Above a certain amount they delivered at home, which was great because the plates were so big!
The plywood for my cost about €300 in total (the bigger the van the more you need). The base and lacquer paint for the walls and ceiling in the campervan was about €150 in total. For the wallpaper, I only needed one roll (I bought 4 initially haha!). This was a very cheap way to get some colour in the van (about €20) 🙂
Have fun with this part of your van conversion and let me know if you have any questions 🙂