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3 Reasons Why You Should NOT Install Tiles In A Camper van

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Beautiful tiles in bathroom or kitchen are always must have decoration in a home interior. They can add color, warmth, and an extra dimension of aesthetic complexity. And in general, we love colorful tiles in a home. But what about tiles in a camper van? Are tiles worth putting in a DIY van conversion?

We’ve all seen absolutely gorgeous camper van interiors on YouTube and blogs that utilize beautiful tile patterns. And when we were first planning our own build, we seriously thought about installing tile in our van as well.

But in the end, we decided against it. But why?

In this post, we list 3 major reasons why we chose NOT to install tiles in our camper van.

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    Reason #1

    Tiles Are Heavy

    Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Real tiles are heavy!

    When we were first designing our van’s interior, we were planning on using these stunning Moroccan-style ceramic tiles for our kitchen backsplash.

    Moroccan mosaic tiles for a kitchen backsplash

    But then we read the product description and we quickly realized that we’d be installing more than 30 pounds worth of tile in our van’s kitchen. And if we included the weight of the mortar, we were looking at adding more than 40 pounds (~20kg) of extra weight to our van.

    If you’re not convinced of the weight of even a single tile, head over to your local hardware store and just pick one up and marvel at just how heavy these things are.

    And since we had already installed so much furniture and heavy electric-related devices, we weren’t keen on adding any more unnecessary weight to our van. Remember, the heavier the van, the lower the gas efficiency and the more difficult the vehicle is to drive, especially when going off-road.

    A heavier van also put more stress on a vehicle’s suspension and tires, causing them to wear out faster than normal.

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    Reason #2

    Easy To Warp, Rattle, & Crack

    Cracked tile example

    In a stationary house, tiles are strong and hold firmly together with mortar. But in a moving camper van, it’s a completely different story.

    When driving, your vehicle’s frame is constantly twisting and turning and being thrown up and down. Compound that with the endless rattling that occurs when you’re driving on less-than-stellar roads (ESPECIALLY when driving off-road). Put all these different movements together and this becomes a recipe for disaster for rigid tiles in a van.

    Once the tiles are set and the mortar/grout has dried, tiles have ZERO flexibility to absorb the punishment camper van’s assume throughout van life. And sooner or later, cracks in the mortar will start to form.

    With wood furniture, you can at least go around and tighten loose screws once a month, or so. But with tiles, there’s no way to ‘tighten’ them. Once the mortar begins to crack, it’s game over.

    Reason #3

    Tiles Are Tricky To Install & Fix

    Installing tiles

    Installing tiles is tricky, time intensive, and messy. And if things don’t align perfectly, you’ll likely need to custom cut tiles so that they fit neatly on your wall.

    And lastly, once tiles are set, they’re pretty permanent! So if you make a mistake, it’s hard to fix.

    What We Recommend:

    Peel & Stick Faux Tiles For Camper Vans

    Camper van kitchen with vinyl faux-tile backsplash, sink, faucet, and spice rack

    Though we decided against using tile in our van, we still wanted to have a beautiful backsplash to accent our van’s interior space. Fortunately, we found a fantastic compromise.

    Faux Tile Wallpaper

    In the ended, we opted for this Morrocan-style back splash sticker. And after almost 3 years on the road, this peel and stick faux-tile wallpaper has held up wonderfully. Throughout all the vicious rattles and bumps and twists and turns our van has endured, our wallpaper backsplash is still here.

    We understand that a peel-and-stick backsplash may not be everyone’s first choice. But we encourage you to give it a try.Many people who have toured our van have actually mistaken our faux-tile for the real thing.


    Best Tile Alternative
    Moroccan Style Peel and Stick Wallpaper
    $34.99 ($1.14 / Sq Ft)

    It's lightweight, easy to install & clean. Remarkable durability, which we've proven over the last four years of extensive use in our van.

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
    09/16/2023 02:21 pm GMT

    Reasons For A Faux-Tile Wallpaper

    No experience? No problem!

    Applying this self adhesive, vinyl wallpaper to your camper’s walls is clean, easy, and quick. Pro tip: Using a heat gun helps to form a stronger adhesion to your walls.

    From simple and plain to colorful and decorative, there are so many types of patterns and designs you can choose from.

    Because of their vinyl material, these faux-tiles are easy to clean, water-resistant, and don’t stain. Just use a wet wipe to take the grime off the walls.

    100% removable. Peel from any corner and begin to firmly pull away from the wall.

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    Conclusion: Substitute Tiles For Vinyl Wallpaper

    Cat sitting on a kitchen counter infront of a faux-tile vinyl backsplash

    Faux-tile backsplash wallpapers in a campervan not only look beautiful, but are also easy to install, durable, and functional. They’re the perfect material for van life.

    In a camper van, we sometimes cannot have everything we want that a normal house has, but there is always a solution or alternative to make our tiny home on wheels look stunning and comfortable to live in.

    We wish you happy building!

    Thank You For Reading!

    We’re Yuko and Eric! We both grew up in Asia ( Japan & Hong Kong ), we left our jobs and homes in 2018 and started traveling full time from Canada to Argentina in our self-converted camper van since end of May 2019. “Asobo” means “Let’s play” in Japanese. We named our site “Asobolife” because the life is always uncertain and we live only once so it’s important to always keep positive, playful mind and enjoy the moment you are in the present. We also want to use this website to share our road trip and van building experiences to inspire our readers. We hope you enjoy!

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