Van Build Phases

Floor

My floor has been treating me amazing. Through the winter, I'm not worried about getting snow and dirt on it. It's easy to clean, doesn't show dirt very much, and so far seems very durable.

Total Cost: $

1016.00

Total Time (hrs):

43

Completed brown vinyl floor shown in Sprinter van

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Resources

Materials

Tools

  • Trowel
  • Rolling pin
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular Saw
  • Track Saw - I HIGHLY recommend this purchase. I've been using it for all straight cuts in wood for the van, and there's LOTS of those. It's easy and intuitive to use, works with the Ryobi circular saw I have, and also doubles as a long ruler :o) If you have a table saw, you probably don't need this.

Process

I stated out by making a cardboard template for the floor. I tried to make my own scribe tool, was clueless on how to use it, ordered a nice scribe tool, and then learned I had just been doing it incorrectly.. oops. Trick is to always hold it at the same angle.

I borrowed a bunch of cardboard from a nearby grocery store's dumpster in order to make a giant duct-taped template first.

I thought my first try was good but not good enough...
A couple of tries later I was still not getting the hang of it...
But eventually it worked out :o)

I transferred the template onto two sheets of painters paper which was THE MOVE. The cardboard model was a bit wobbly and challenging to work with, and I needed to be able to move it around. I made the template just a leeetle bit smaller than the actual outline to allow some room for error in my jigsaw-ing.

Paper template

Paper template in van

Honestly, I kind of regret leaving a gap. I wish I had just made it close to the wall and very accurate. Jigsawing is not that hard, and it would have saved me some painful steps later.

Once I had this template, I had my boyfriend help me fill all the corrugations in the van floor with minicell foam. We had to measure and cut to each corrugation individually, and then use spray adhesive to glue it on. This took FOREVER and Jonathan was not loving this job very much :'D thanks babe!

Staring at the uncot roll of minicell
Starting to fill in

Pretty satisfying, I must admit :D

I then used the paper template to cut out the pink foam I needed for the main floor insulation. The pink foam was a SOB to cut. I alternated using an insulation knife and switchblade. I actually found it easiest to break off the insulation (this also left the cleanest cuts) after scoring it with the switchblade.

Template on pink foam
Testing the fit

Sealed the edges with Reflectix tape

I used the paper template to also cut out the 1/2 plywood pieces I needed. I drove to a nearby tire shop and they allowed me to borrow a bunch of their discard tires that were destined for the dump. I used these to glue the plywood and minicell together with a layer of silicone. I can confirm that my floor does not squeak! I was hoping this would also allow the boards to be 100% flat -- this is mostly the case, but the small narrow plank behind the driver's seat does have a slight edge that is noticeable if you're looking for it.

"What on earth do you want to do with those?"
Bonus pic of Jonathan helping me sand the plywood

Since I had left a gap between floor and wall, I filled in the space with gaps & crack expanding foam. This was one hell of a job to even out and generated a loooot of trash. Not a huge fan of having done this. Additionally, there was a small gap between the plywood and pink foam near the sliding door. The foam made its way into there, expanded, and lifted the plywood there ever so slightly. It hasn't been problematic, but it's annoying knowing I could have avoided this.

Yonny spraying the foam
Big mess trying to cut all the excess off

I bought a long sheet of vinyl from Lowe's. I love this color and pattern and everyone compliments me on my floor and can't believe I made it myself!

I used the paper template once again to trace the vinyl, this time leaving about an inch extra on the vinyl. I then placed the sheet in the van, and exacto knifed all around to get the floor to fit tightly to the wall and be seamless.

Cutting out the vinyl floor

I applied vinyl flooring glue to the plywood, and used a rolling pin and water bottle and spatula to try and get all the air bubbles out.

Once I glued the floor on, I applied a bead of silicone all around the floor. I'm anticipating spills of various sorts, wet clothes, snow, and general dirt and wanted to prevent it from getting underneath to the plywood.

Final touch was adding some vinyl floor edging, which I also sealed with silicone, especially near the driver/passenger area. I'm quite realistic about potential spills! The vinyl's flexibility made cutting and adjusting to the van's unique curves relatively straightforward. I've found that after some time, the vinyl behind the driver and passenger seat is peeling up. I had my aluminum sheet for my framing slide under it when I was transporting it, unfortunately. Once it peeled up and got some dirt underneath, I could not glue it back down. I'm not sure if I'm going to replace with more vinyl, or try my luck with the aluminum edging.

I then also added a little support to the overhanging peice of plywood. I plan to build on top of this later, and expect the weight to be fairly well spread out over the rest of the van.

Testing plywood fit
Painted the plywood plank
Looks pretty good!

Conclusion

I love my floor!

Here's some things I might choose to do differently in hindsight:

  • I'd lean on the cardboard just as an initial guide. The paper guide was much better. I also would just try to size it exactly to the contours of the van, instead of leaving extra gaps.
  • The expanding foam? A no-go for next time due to the mess involved and it inadvertently raising one of my boards. I would still keep some on hand since I don't expect to get all the contours perfect, but I would use it just as a "fix" instead of having planned for it from the start.
  • Instead of buying a whole other 8x4 piece of plywood, I used two smaller pieces right behind the driver and passenger. Next time, I'd just buy the extra sheet. Yes, it's a lot more expensive up front, but the scraps from it will still get used for the cabinetry, headliner shelf, and other van projects.

Notion Board

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The Notion Board is my brain-dump database. I've been keeping meticulous track of every purchase, complete with receipts.

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Van Build Phases

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