The Best Insulation Products For Your Van - A Quick Guide

Updated: Feb 16




Hi everybody, Sorry I haven't posted for a while but me van died and I have had to spend every min of my life building a new one so I had somewhere to live. It's nearly finished now and I have moved in so normal service has resumed. One of the good things that has come from it is that I took photos of every step of the way so now I will be able to show people what, where, when how and why.


So I am going to start a new series of posts that just cuts through all the rubbish you don't really want to know and just gets straight to the stuff you do want to know. I will post things to where you can order them online and make everything as simple as possible. so without further ado...


The Best Insulation Products For Your Van - A Quick Guide



First of all insulating you van should be one of the first things you do to your van but there are a few things you need to do first.


1. Strip the back of van down to bare metal (all ply, plastic cladding)

2. Clean the van down with soap and water get it as clean as you can, dry it

3. Fix any rust spots and cover any bare metal to stop any new rust forming, fill any holes with filler

4. Fit any Windows, vents, fans or any other items that involve cutting holes in your van bodywork

5. Run Cables through channels (if thats how you are doing it)


If you would like any advice on any of these steps please take a look at my other quick guides.




SOUND DEADENING

Another thing may choose to do before you insulate your van is sound deaden the panels and wheel arches. This does not sound proof your van it just stops some road noise getting in and stops the huge panels on your van from vibrating.


Unless you have a loud sound system in your van and when the sub kicks the panels and doors vibrate there is not really much need to sound deaden your whole van. 1 or 2 pieces in the middle of each panel will make a huge difference to the average van lifer.



However the reason I did not add sound deadening to the list of stuff to do before you insulate is it has really good insulation properties too. It is really good for covering your wheel arches and conforms to the grooves easily. For smaller vans where space is at a premium and weight is not an issue (this stuff is heavy) you can cover the whole inside of the van in this stuff for a very thin base layer on insulation that makes a big difference. Although this is foil backed is will not work as a vapour layer condensation will form on the foil side so another layer of insulation will need to be added on top.



The best product to use for this is silent coat sound deadener. It can be found on amazon by following the links below, As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases




40 sheets https://amzn.to/2x1XO5w


20 sheets https://amzn.to/2yvWXuu


8 sheets https://amzn.to/39F4oMw



Budget alternative 50 sheets https://amzn.to/39GvsLq





STOP CONDENSATION & SPACE SAVING


If the ONLY reason you're insulating your van is to stop the condensation forming on the inside of your panels then that is a really simple fix. What you need to do is cover the entire inside of your van with foil backed closed cell foam insulation and seal the joins with foil tape. This will both insulate your van and form a vapour barrier at the same time. This stuff is also great for small vans where space is a premium! If you had something like a T4 a full layer of the sound deadener and a full layer of closed cell insulation foam would make a huge difference in both winter and summer.




This stuff is amazing in so many ways... its light weight, its self adhesive so extremely easy and quick to install, if you seal the edges with foil tape its an effective vapour layer and it is only a few mm thick so you can retain as much space in your van as possible.


The best product to use for this is Dodo Mat Thermo Van Liner and can be ordered from amazon



Dodo Mat Thermo Van Liner 7mm 10 Square Meters


https://amzn.to/2w8CDhN









To make the thermo van liner an effective vapour barrier you need to cover all of the walls and the roof of your van 100% then join all the gaps together with foil tape to make it waterproof. This can also be ordered from Amazon.



Mammoth Aluminium Tape


https://amzn.to/2yvBrWI










INSULATING YOUR FLOORS


What you insulate your floor with will also probably depend on the size of your van. Again if you do not have a high top van or you are tall you might need to save as much space as possible. If you are needing to save some space or weight then there is a really good option for you. Its just like the thermo van liner and is made by the same people but it is designed especially to be used on floors. Again its self adhesive and very quick and easy to install yourself. With this, and the thermo van liner above you can insulate your whole van yourself in a day.


So for insulating your floor to save space the best product is Dodo Super liner and can be found in two different thicknesses. I suggest getting the thickest unless space is a really tight. It can be ordered from Amazon.




Dodo Super Liner 3 square meters


12mm Thick https://amzn.to/2UWyg1P


6mm Thick https://amzn.to/39zGMck






You also join the edges of this together with the foil tape to make a waterproof vapour layer




If you have a high top van or space is not a problem then the best thing to use is insulation board like Celotex or Kingspan. This can be purchased in different thicknesses but the most commonly used on floors in vans is 25mm.


If you use 25mm batons for your floor and 25mm insulation board on the floor then your floor will fit flush on top of it. If it sitting flush on top then you can get away with using thiner lighter material for your floor as it will have a sturdy base.


Cover all gaps and wooden baton with foil tape to form your vapour layer.





You can get many makes of insulation board here are a few of them


Celotex, Kingspan, Quinn Therm, xtratherm, Recticel,


It can be purchased online for best prices. Please follow the link below


https://www.insulation4less.co.uk/25mm-celotex-tb3025-2-4m-x-1-2m




Don't forget the foil tape for the vapour barrier






https://amzn.to/2R5UGwm





Now you have insulated under your floor you might want to take it one step further and insulate above your floor before laying carpet or laminate flooring or similar. for that both of these products are perfect. the cork is a little bit better with better insulation properties.




Cork Tiles Natural (1.44 Sqm Coverage) - 300x300mm






https://amzn.to/3bTyoGl





XPS Underlay Insulation 5mm - Wood or Laminate Flooring






https://amzn.to/2wNPqXv






INSULATING YOUR WALLS


For insulating your walls you have a few different options. The first i have posted above and is the layer of sound deadening covered with a layer of thermo liner. Please see above!


The next option and the option I think is better for bigger vans and for vans that people live in full time would be insulation board again. It's better in extreme temps too so will keep you a lot warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.







For the walls if you have deep recesses in the walls that can not be used for any extra space in anyway I would use 50mm. This will help stop the heat getting past in the summer and the heat getting out in the winter. If you are pushed for space 25mm is good enough


Mine looks rough as I was broke when I did mine, I insulated my whole van with off cuts from facebook marketplace. If I had a choice I wouldn't do it again. But if your broke like I was...


Make sure you cover all gaps and joins with foil tape to form a vapour barrier. Also cover any of the metal beams between the insulation board with dodo thermo liner and join to insulation board with foil tape for a full vapour barrier



Again the cheapest prices for this can be found online. DIY shops charge a lot more per sheet. Please follow the link below


https://www.insulation4less.co.uk/50mm-celotex-ga4050-2-4m-x-1-2m






The other commonly used insulation for van walls is this stuff.




Dodo Thermo Fleece





https://amzn.to/3dXdacr





This is Dodo Thermo Fleece. Again it is designed specifically for camper vans and is the best product of its type for the job. (Its not as good as the insulation board above if you have the space)

It is made from recycled bottles and does not absorb water unlike rock wool and other similar loft insulation. This is good for vans with lots of curves, saving weight, stuffing into smaller gaps, and vans with shallow recesses in the walls like T4's.


You will need to glue this stuff in place with a high temp contact adhesive and hold it whilst it sticks. if you do not use high temp adhesive is the summer when the van gets hot it might come unstuck and bunch together at the bottom of your walls. The best product to use is this stuff...



Trim Fix




https://amzn.to/39LdtU8




There are a few problems with this insulation although its one of the quickest and easiest to install in some places in larger spaces it can be a nightmare to keep in place and it is in no way a vapour layer so you would need to add a vapour layer before adding the thermo fleece.


For the vapour layer the best thing to use is the Dodo Mat Thermo Van liner with all the edges joined together with foil tape.










https://amzn.to/349HmfX https://amzn.to/2RcwJ6R




****NEW ADDITION****

This is similar to the Dodo mat but a bit thiner. We really like it on top of the dodo thermo fleece



Solar Bay Self Adhesive Thermal and Acoustic XPEMP Foil Foam Insulation for Campers, Caravans, Motorhomes



https://amzn.to/39YbP53





A cheaper option for a vapour barrier would be to use. Thermawrap (Reflectex/Bubble foil) Although this is not really an effective insulation for vans by itself (except for windows in the summer) it is a really good vapour layer. its light weight, cheap and very easy to use.


Unlike with the Dodo Thermo Liner when using Thermawrap you want to insulate with the Dodo Thermo Fleece first then add the Thermawrap on top of that. If you do it the other way around it will be next to useless.


You can buy a huge roll of bubble foil here




Bubble Foil Insulation





https://amzn.to/349UX6I






INSULATING YOUR ROOF


There are only really a couple of good ways to insulate your roof and they have both already been mentioned before. The method you choose will again depend on the size of your van and if you have to save space.


If you have enough head room to play with the best and most effective insulation to use is insulation boards again. Depending on how much space you have to work with you can choose either the 25mm or go extreme with 50mm



If you have a small van and you want to save as much space as possible then the best thing for the job would be a layer of SilentCoat sound deadener and then a layer of Dodo thermo liner











https://amzn.to/349HmfX https://amzn.to/3bT0Cke



Whatever you do use on your roof make sure you join the edges with the foil tape to form your vapour barrier and join it to the vapour barrier on your walls with the foil tape too.




****NEW ADDITION****

This is similar to the Dodo mat but a bit thiner. We really like it on top of the dodo thermo fleece



Solar Bay Self Adhesive Thermal and Acoustic XPEMP Foil Foam Insulation for Campers, Caravans, Motorhomes



https://amzn.to/39YbP53







WHAT NOT TO DO


You might be tempted to stuff every beam, channel, gap with insulation. This is not a good idea your van needs to breathe and the condensation thats not coming into your van now needs to go somewhere. Do not fill these with expanding foam and do not stuff them full of thermo fleece. Just cover them from the outside with Dodo thermo liner.


Do not use expanding foam anywhere. It is pointless and ruins your van


Do not use cheap loft insulation it soaks up water and will rust your van


Do not insulate the channel that runs along the bottom of the walls and the floor. It is under the floor height and heat rises. this channel needs to be kept clear for the condensation to run into and find its way out of the van


Ok so thats about it from me for now, I hope you all enjoyed it and found it useful

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