Van Subfloor + Floor Insulation

Sprinter Van Conversion Subfloor | Sprinter Van Floor Insulation | Havelock Wool | Van Subfloor | Van Insulation

Our van build is going a bit slower than we hoped, but we are knocking things off our list! During Kathryn’s most recent trip to Austin she tackled the subfloor and floor insulation with Havelock wool. Just like the rest of the van, we decided to use Havelock wool to insulate the floor. The only downside is since it’s so soft, you can’t just put a floor on top (it’ll be too squishy), so you need to create a frame to ensure that the floor has something sturdy to attach to. Thankfully we have some Instagram friends (Finding Fresh Air) who also have a Sprinter and are using Havelock wool, so we followed their instructions to create our own subfloor!

Here’s the quick rundown of the steps, but check out the video to see it (and Kathryn’s dance moves) in action!

  1. Remove cargo rings (if applicable)
  2. Create a template for your subfloor using builder’s paper. Mark the spots on the template where the cargo rings were removed. You’ll use these holes later
  3. Create a subfloor frame by laying out pieces of wood. Make sure to keep track of the measurements—you’ll need these for step 11.
  4. Attach the subfloor frame. We used 1×2″ pieces of wood to make this and used Loctite marine adhesive to secure these to the van floor. 
  5. Insert the Havelock wool into the frame. We cut the wool to fit into the spaces, but kept their 2″ batt height.
  6. Prime one side of your subfloor wood (we used ½ inch plywood) to help protect it from moisture
  7. Lay out the template on the non-primed side of the plywood and trace it. Make sure to mark the spots where the cargo ring holes are
  8. Cut out the subfloor pieces with a saw
  9. Place the subfloor pieces in the van to ensure they fit
  10. Use biscuits and glue to attach the subfloor pieces together inside the van
  11. Bolt the subfloor to the van floor using the cargo ring holes
  12. Mark lines where the subfloor meets the frame
  13. Screw the subfloor into the frame along these lines to ensure the floor is sturdy

If you have any questions, let us know!

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10 Comments

  1. Suzanne on March 26, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Great subfloor instructions!

  2. David on October 15, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Hey there!

    Awesome instructions, can’t thank you enough! I’m definitely going to mirror your install, but I’m wondering if you can provide a couple of details. You used 1″x2″ furring strips directly on the floor–did you use 1″ of wool in those spaces or the full 2″ batting (compressed once plywood was laid on top)?

    • Kathryn Frazer on October 15, 2019 at 7:29 pm

      Hi David! We’re so glad you found it helpful! We used the 2″ batts for the spaces between the furring strips, which compressed once the plywood was on top. It worked great! Let us know if you have other questions 🙂

  3. Christina on February 5, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Hi!
    First, I gotta say, this is such an awesome tutorial! Thank you for all the super useful info!!

    Question: What size/type of screws did you use to secure the plywood to the furring strips?
    (Apologies if you mentioned it and I missed it)

    Thank you!
    Christina

    • Kathryn Frazer on February 5, 2020 at 3:15 pm

      Hi Christina! We’re so glad it was helpful! To be honest, the van build has started to become a bit of a blur. I do know that we typically used screws designed for wood and metal and always tried to pick materials that wouldn’t rust. I am sorry that isn’t more helpful! We should’ve kept track of that better.

      • Christina on February 5, 2020 at 3:45 pm

        Thank you for your quick and honest reply! I can completely understand how a project like this turns into a little bit of a blur! I am in the beginning phases of my build out (just got the windows and fan installed), and it is already starting to blur a bit.
        Cheers!

        • Kathryn Frazer on February 6, 2020 at 6:56 am

          It’s a crazy stressful and challenging experience building a van, but we’re so glad we did it! Congrats on the windows and the fan–those are the scariest parts!

  4. Labhaoise on May 10, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Kathryn, thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I have changed my flooring plan after stumbling across your videos. I want to use Havelock wool instead of XPS foam. Its been almost a year since you did the floor, are you still stoked you used wool? second question is how much wool (in bags) did you use for the floor and how much did you use for the whole van. Our van is roughly 30msq but ordering the amount that you used would be a great start for us. Thanks again 😀

    • Kathryn Frazer on May 11, 2020 at 6:16 am

      Hi! You’re so welcome! We are still super happy we used wool, although we aren’t totally sure how much of a difference it made on the floor. The floors still can get a bit chilly, but with the heater on, they stay nice and warm. But overall, we love the wool in the van! We used a total of 3 bags across the walls, floor, and ceiling (we did not insulate above the cab). I cannot remember how much we exactly used just for the floor though 🙁 . We did run low on wool at the end of the build and couldn’t insulate the doors as well as we would’ve liked, but we didn’t want to break open a 4th bag just for those small spaces. I hope that helps!

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