Building The Campervan Foundation
First things first. Before we get to the electric system and building furniture, we have to build the foundation of our campervan. This includes putting in the walls, ceiling, windows, and more. Check our posts below to learn more!
First Things First...
Before you can begin building any furniture or electrical & plumbing systems in the camper van, you’ll need to prepare the van.
We call this “Setting The Foundation”.
This stage includes installing:
- Vent fans & windows
- Walls, ceilings, & floors
For specific articles, scroll through our posts to learn more.
For many, installing a ventilation fan is one of the first steps when building a DIY camper van. These fans are critical to expelling stale air and bringing in fresh, cool air into your van. Not to mention that vent fans help to reduce pesky condensation and mold growth.
Here are our recommendations.
1.1 - Popular Fan Models
If price is a concern, the more affordable Fan-Tastic vent fan is another popular option.
This fan is also popular among stealth campers since it’s hood is much more streamlined and less visible from the road side.
The hood, however, is not a rain cover and it must be closed when it’s raining outside.
1.2 - How To Install A Vent Fan
Putting in a vent fan is no easy feat.
It involves precise measurements, cutting through sheet metal, and correct electrical wiring. Not to mention, you only have ONE SHOT at the installation process.
It can get pretty stressful.
We cover everything you need to know in our post: How To Install A Vent Fan In A Camper Van
Windows specifically made for camper vans & RVs come in all different shapes and sizes. Two of the most popular vehicle window suppliers are:
2.1 - Installing Windows In A Van
Installing windows in a camper van can be tricky!
You have to make sure all measurements are accurate and level. And you’ll likely need to cut through several panel support beams, which are thicker than standard sheet metal.
To get your window installation under way, check out our post: How To Install A Window In A Camper Van
Insulating your camper van is a critical step in the van conversion process.
A common misconception is that insulation is only to help keep the van interior warm when it’s cold outside. But insulation also helps to keep your van cool during hot days, especially when the sun is shining directly down onto the van’s roof.
3.1 - Common Insulation Materials
There are so many different options when it comes time to insulate your van. Common insulation materials include:
- Foam Boards (Polyiso & XPS)
- Sheep’s Wool
- Spray Foam
- Duct Insulation
- 3M Thinsulate
But how, and where in the van, do you install these materials?
3.2 - Installing Insulation In A Van
In our insulation installation post, we review all the different insulation materials we used in our van.
Then detail how we installed over SEVEN different types of insulation all throughout out van.
From sub-zero temperatures in the American west to blazing hot beaches in Central America, our insulation has kept up with our needs.
Walls & Ceiling
If you haven’t already, we encourage you to create an interior color scheme for your van. This will help you decide what materials and color your walls and ceiling will be.
Once you’re ready to install, keep reading our step-by-step guide below.
4.1 - Install Furring Strips
Screwing your walls and ceiling boards directly into a van’s sheet metal frame isn’t ideal. That’s because the pull-out strength of screws on sheet metal is extremely low.
Not to mention that you’d be exposing bare metal, which is a rust hazard.
That’s why we recommend installing furring strips throughout the van with cross nuts. ZERO holes are created and you have a substantially higher (>10x) pull-out strength.
Read our furring strip installation post to learn more.
4.2 - Plywood Wall Installation
We love our camper van walls.
They’re space efficient, streamlined, and brighten up our van’s interior.
In our van wall installation post we detail our step-by-step process of how we measured, cut, mounted, and painted our plywood walls.
50,000 bumpy miles later, our walls are still hanging on like the did on Day 1. Read our post to learn more.
4.3 - Cedar Plank Ceiling Installation
We love our cedar plank ceiling. It’s one of our favorite aspects of our van build.
To learn how to install a beautiful cedar plank ceiling in a camper van, check out our post.
We give helpful advice on how to select the wood, stain the wood, and attach the boards to the ceiling furring strips.
In our flooring post, we discuss how to install a subfloor directly on top of XPS foam board installation.
Then we detail how we installed our tongue and groove vinyl planks.
Check our our camper van flooring post to learn more.