Prep | Framing | Insulation | Sub Floor | Products Used


Important factors to keep in mind when prepping your metal floor:

-Are all holes sealed? The point of insulation is to keep your van at your desired temperature with as little energy expenditure as possible. If there isn’t a proper barrier (i.e. holes in the body), your insulation will not perform to its fullest potential. You can use screws or metal sealant to fill up any holes.

-Are all paint chips/scratches repainted? If not, this could lead to rust issues down the road and we all know that would not be cheap to fix.

-Have you properly cleaned your surface? You don’t want to start your build with something icky like mold spores that could grow, or spilled liquids that could stink if left unattended. I used alcohol and water and it worked great.


Why build a frame?

  1. It will provide support, and will disperse the weight of whatever you put or build on top of it. A shower, a bed, or a fridge, for example, are all pretty heavy. Having a floor frame will help to even out some of that weight.

  2. So you don’t have to screw into the metal body of the van. Insulation, insulation , insulation!

    ... and prevention of damaging the van’s undercarriage.

  3. It will level the surface. As you can see in the upper left photo, my van’s floor had high and low points. It would have been extremely frustrating to try to work with that surface, had we not put a frame down.

The Deets:

  • We used scrap 2 x 6 pieces of wood and cut them into 2 x 1 pieces, then placed them ON TOP of the high points of the metal to ensure that it would be level.

  • The majority of the frame was built outside so that we’d have room to screw it together, making it extra sturdy.

  • To create the frame, we followed the outline of the van and used marking points (shown below) to match up the pieces when assembling/moving into or out of the van.


Once the frame was all screwed together, we did one final check to make sure it worked for the area, then glued it down with liquid nails.

For the Record: In order to ensure that all areas were glued evenly, we cut our subfloor before beginning the glueing process, but for sake of fluidity on here, the sub floor is its own section .

For the frame to properly adhere to the floor, it needed weight to push it down…

…so we used literally anything we could get our hands on, giant power tools, old furniture, the garage trash can, a 6’7” Kyle… you name it. We left it like that over night (except for Kyle, he came inside) and it worked!


If you are familiar with van-lifing, you KNOW the controversy over reflectix. We installed Reflectix and R-MAX polyiso foam board before learning about the glory of wool. We are finishing the van with Havelock wool will be talking about this more in-depth on the “Van Insulation” post when the time comes.

In the meantime, here is why I chose to stop using Reflictix/Foam and start using Havelock

Basically, we cut the insulation to fit the designated areas, and marked them so that we didn’t have to try to puzzle-piece them together after cutting them. We used a spray adhesive to attach the Reflectix and just placed the foam on top. I do not recommend using these products. Wool is a much more health, and environmentally-friendly option that does a better job. Plus, I found it to be very reasonably priced.


For the sub floor, we used an inexpensive plywood from home depot, measured the dimensions, and used paper to create a template which was a relatively simple process. We used a sawzall and a skill saw to cut the wood.

After a few days of allowing the glue for the frame to cure, we screwed the subfloor into the frame with wood screws.

And WA-LA framing and sub-flooring COMPLETE!