A simple guide to installing subfloor in your van conversion

#Vanlife DIY: A simple guide to installing floor in your van conversion-Skoolies & Van Conversion blog

So you're starting the process of converting a regular old boring cargo van into something special. A beautiful customized van conversion that has everything you hoped and dreamed!

There are a few ways to do it! This tutorial shows basic furring strips with a thin cork spray foam used for insulation.

Other options:

1) 2x2 studs

2) No studs - using rigid foam all across the foam for a full thermal break with the subflooring placed over top and screwed in.

If you have any questions about a DIY campervan or if you are looking for professional help contact us here!

Do I Need A Subfloor in my van conversion? 

Yes! A subfloor provides a solid surface in your van conversion to secure your finished flooring to. Without a solid subfloor, your finished flooring can lift, crack and warp. Another plus of subflooring is to protect your floor against moisture and mold in a damp environment. This is something you need to be very careful from when doing a bus or van conversion.

Materials Required

  • 1/2" to 3/4" Plywood (For Laminate Click Planks, Luxury Click Flooring, Luxury Planks Glue Down)
  • 5/8" to 3/4" OSB (everything but glue down products)
  • Insulation (Rigid or Reflectix)
  • Self tapping screws
  • 3/8" to 1/2" Plywood for furring strips
  • Seam Tape

Do I Need To Run Studs/Furring Strips

No! It is possible to fasten your plywood subfloor right to the van metal flooring. You would want to run furring strips when you plan on putting insulation between your van metal floor and subfloor. Ask yourself what you plan on using your RV for and in what climates.


Should I use Plywood or OSB?

We would suggest you use 1/2"-3/4" plywood. Plywood is stronger than OSB, so if you do go with OSB be sure to use at least 5/8". If you plan on using a "glue-down" flooring, you will want to use plywood for proper bonding.

Step One: Furring Strips

dog in a campervan

Furring strips on a Sprinter Van floor. (3/8")

  • Furring strips are used to allow room for under floor insulation to keep you warm in your vanlife travels. You can use spray insulation (cork at 1/8")
  • Cut furring strips out of 3/8" - 1/2" plywood at 2" widths
  • Place your first strip where the cargo area meets the cabin area (driver/passenger seat)
  • Mark out 16" spacing down both sides of the van with a sharpy or pencil.
  • Fasten a furring strip at every mark with either glue or self-tapping screws.
  • Once you finish placing your furring strips, lay/spray your insulation.
  • If you are going to use spray foam in your camper van conversion, make sure you cover each furring strip with tape so it does not get sprayed. You'll be scraping away spray foam for hours to be able to get a nice flat surface to lay your sub-flooring to.
  • Another note on the spray foam, be careful spraying into the pillar gaps, there has been horror stories of people over-spraying and warping their exterior wall panels of the van.

* Be sure to check under your van floor to insure you don't puncture anything. Another good practice is to silicone each hole you make to make it air tight.

Step Two: Subfloor

campervan with vinyl planks

3/4" Subfloor covered in luxury vinyl plank.

This might not be the vans subfloor you're looking at, but its right under that beautiful luxury vinyl plank!

  • We lay the subfloor using 5/8" - 3/4" plywood sheets.
  • Measure from your first furring strip at the front of your van to the middle of the next furring strip and mark out any cut outs.
  • Overlapping sheets on the middle of each furring strip allows for enough room to fasten to your sub-flooring panels.
  • Run a heavy bead of construction glue across furring strip and then lay down your sheet.
  • Fasten with appropriate length screws.

* If you are using vinyl plank flooring or a glue down flooring, make sure to use a plywood with good-one-side (G1S). This provides a solid, smooth surface for optimal bonding.


If you have any questions about a DIY campervan or if you are looking for professional help contact us here!

If you need some inspiration for your DIY van, check out our van conversion and skoolie gallery.

Or if you are looking for more tips, trick and tutorials for your conversions, check out our journal!


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  • Evan Jr. Wilson

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