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Are you wondering about the best subfloor and top-floor options for your camper van conversion? It can be hard to decide what to go with. Should you cut your subfloor yourself using a template and 3/4″ plywood? Or should you buy something like the Rainier Flooring System, a pre-cut, easy-to-install subfloor?
Top floor materials also vary greatly, and you’ll have to think about the look and aesthetic of your van, along with ease of installation and wearability.
In this article, I’ll tell you about what we used in our Sprinter van conversion and other options out there for van flooring.
Table of Contents
What is Van Flooring Made Out Of?
Typically, a camper van floor is made out of a couple of different layers: a subfloor and then a top floor.
The subfloor is the first layer of your floor and is made out of durable material that can withstand the weight of other van build components such as seats, benches, gear, cabinetry & storage, refrigerators, etc. A good subfloor can also help with insulation and sound deadening.
If you’re creating your own plywood subfloor, you can add insulation before you lay down the subfloor. One popular insulating material is 3M Thinsulate. Or you can choose a drop-in subfloor like the Rainier Flooring System that already has insulating properties.
The top layer is for looks, feel and extra protection. You’ll want something that’s lightweight, easy to clean and water resistant. There are lots of options including a wood look from materials such as sheet vinyl or luxury vinyl plank, environmentally-friendly cork or 2Tec2, the most technically-advanced van floor we’ve found.
The Best Drop-In Subfloor for a DIY Campervan Conversion [What We Chose]
The first thing you have to think about when installing campervan flooring what you’ll use for the subfloor underneath.
Some people choose to keep the stock floor, but it can often warp and bend under significant weight. We noticed that our 2021 Sprinter van flooring was made out of high-quality plywood, but it moved and sagged when we walked around. It was also crazy slippery, and bins and water jugs slid forward when we had to brake.
We chose to purchase a pre-built, drop-in subfloor called the Rainier Flooring System, made by Just Roaming in Portland, Oregon and sold on Campervan HQ.
What is the Rainier Flooring System?
We spend time in Portland every summer so decided to stop by Just Roaming to take a look at their drop-in subfloor. We were incredibly impressed by the Rainier Flooring System and immediately decided to use it for our van floor.
Here are a few reasons why we went with the Rainier Flooring System instead of cutting and building our own subfloor:
- The flooring is CNC cut to fit your van and is made for either Sprinter vans, Ford Transits or Dodge Promasters
- The subfloor is built from a high-tech composite board made of extremely dense polyurethane foam reinforced with fiberglass
- This board is 40% lighter than marine-grade plywood of the same thickness and is the same density as Baltic Birch plywood flooring
- The floor is very rigid and has insulating and sound-deadening properties, in fact, it is three times more insulating than regular plywood
- It’s super easy to install the Rainier Flooring System – it comes in three “puzzle pieces” that lock together and glue down to your van’s metal floor
- This campervan subfloor creates the perfect flat surface for gluing down Lonseal top floor or 2Tech2
- You’ll get the floor, adhesive and instructions with your purchase. The instructions were super easy to follow
For full disclosure, I did get a discount from Campervan HQ on the Rainier Flooring System and Lonseal top floor in exchange for an honest review.
The Rainier Flooring System is easy to install, so is good for both DIYers and van builders alike. The main downside of using a drop-in flooring system is that it’s way more expensive than cutting out your own.
Installing our Rainier Flooring System in our Sprinter van
We chose to pick up our Rainier flooring at Just Roaming in Portland, which saves on the cost of shipping. You can also do this if you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest.
This camper van flooring was incredibly light and easy to move around and comes stacked in plastic packaging. We also got printed instructions and black adhesive for securing the floor.
Here’s how we did our install:
#1 Do a Test Fit
We started out by laying each piece of the floor down and putting the puzzle pieces together with shims in them so we could make sure the pieces would come apart. They fit perfectly, so we knew we were good to go with the gluing!
#2 Lay down the black adhesive
Just Roaming recommends starting from the rear of the vehicle, so we laid down black adhesive along the raised ribs of the bare metal flooring. Make sure you have a caulk gun on hand so you can dispense the glue!
After we laid down the first piece of the rigid foam board, we added glue to the puzzle piece component and the middle part of the van to lay the second piece. Then repeat for the third!
All three pieces went in perfectly and fit the van’s floor. We were elated!
#3 Wait for it to dry!
The final step in adding a subfloor to your campervan is waiting for the glue to dry before doing anything else. We actually hadn’t decided on our top floor yet, so our subfloor got to cook for a week before we added Lonseal.
Just Roaming usually clamps the subfloor down using drywall clamps overnight if the van can be in 60 degrees. If colder, you might have to clamp the floor down even longer. Just Roaming’s CEO Sam Reiser says to refer to the instructions on the adhesive to make sure you’re letting it dry for the right amount of time.
Or, you can watch the video for the Columbia Heated Flooring System, which follows the same instructions as the Rainier Flooring System:
#4 Seal the Edges of the Subfloor
We chose to take an extra step with our camper van conversion and added caulk to the edges of the subfloor to make sure no moisture could get below the floor and rust the metal of the van. Now we are confident no water is ever getting down there.
Our final assessment of the Rainier Flooring System
We couldn’t have asked for a better subfloor for our camper van flooring. It’s incredibly durable, doesn’t move under our weight or the weight of heavy items like our Battleborn lithium battery bank and ARB fridge, and has great sound-deadening properties. We noticed our van is much quieter now driving down the highway.
It also created such a firm, flat surface for gluing down our Lonseal teak-and-holly top floor.
Every day, we talk about how much we love our subfloor material, and we can’t imagine ever going back to the Mercedes factory floor, although we did use it to build the bench in our van build! Always feels good to be environmentally friendly and use reclaimed materials when possible.
At first, we thought the Rainier subfloor might be too expensive, but now, we realize it’s worth the price. It has a high r value, offers great sound deadening and is water resistant. We’ve praised it every single day for the past month!
The Best Top Floor Options for a Campervan
Once you install your subfloor, you’ll have to decide what you want for a topfloor. Our top picks for campervan flooring right now are Lonseal and 2Tec2. While Lonseal has been around for a long time and sells all different types of sheet vinyl flooring, 2Tec2 is the newest and most sought-after by van builders.
We’ll go into both types of van flooring and also offer some ideas for other flooring materials, such as luxury vinyl plank and cork.
Lonseal Vinyl Flooring
Lonseal makes vinyl flooring in a variety of styles. You’ll find a hardy coin floor popular for the campervan garage area or a polished Lonmarine wood vinyl flooring that mimics the look of real wood. It has a beautiful wood grain appearance and is popular with marine applications.
Here are the most popular styles of Lonseal sheet vinyl right now:
Lonseal flooring has been used as camper van flooring for a long time, as it’s easy to clean, anti-slip, waterproof and fairly rugged. If you choose the Lonmarine, though, be aware that it will scratch way easier than Lonseal Coin or 2Tec2.
Many types of Lonseal sheet vinyl flooring are difficult to install. If you choose something with high gloss, any mistake, bubble or waviness will be highly visible, so you’ll have to install with a great deal of care and caution.
2Tec2 Van Flooring
2Tec2 is the new kid on the block and is becoming a popular option for DIYers and van builders. This high-tech woven flooring is more expensive than Lonseal, but is super durable and has the same properties as carpeting or a rug. The van lifers over at Engineers Who Van Life chose 2Tec2, and said it feels like walking on carpet, and feels very warm and nice on the feet. 2Tec2 is also anti-bacterial and engineered to trap dust which you can vacuum out later.
These high-tech woven vinyl floors are made to last. They’re durable enough to weather at least 10 years of normal use, and are stain resistant and can be cleaned completely using warm water or other natural cleaning substances, which eliminates the need or concern for harsh chemicals or intense cleaning treatments.
Also, 2Tec2 flooring includes a felt backing, which dampens sound, reduces road noise and other ambient noise inside your camper van. It’s also way easier to install than Lonseal vinyl flooring.
You can choose between a variety of colors with 2Tec2 to suit your campervan’s design.
We didn’t go with 2Tec2 in our Sprinter van as we were worried about how easy it would be to clean. The tiny woven parts looked like they needed a vacuum cleaner or air blower to get super clean, where the Lonseal is easy to sweep or towel off. Since we don’t carry a vacuum or air blower, we went with a vinyl floor.
Some van lifers choose to go with laminate flooring material over vinyl or 2Tec2. My friends over at GnomadHome put laminate flooring in their conversion van because they thought it looked better than vinyl flooring and is easier to install.
There are lots of different styles of laminate flooring to choose from, including some with a nice wood-grain finish.
Luxury Vinyl Plank
The luxury vinyl plank system is popular for van life for one main reason: it’s easy to install. Vinyl planks use a click-and-lock system that doesn’t require adhesive, unlike the Lonseal vinyl sheet flooring.
What’s cool about vinyl plank campervan flooring is that if one plank gets damaged, it’s easy to swap out with another plank.
Luxury vinyl plank is durable, easy to clean and looks like real wood. There are tons of colors and textures to go with the overall aesthetic of your van build.
Van lifers who are trying to be environmentally friendly often go with cork, although it can be more expensive than other options on our list.
Cork flooring is durable and has insulating and sound-deadening properties a bit like 2Tec2. You can purchase it in sheets or tongue and groove planks.
Cork must be sealed, and sometimes has to be replaced every couple of years.
The Van Flooring we Chose for our Sprinter Van
After learning about the various van flooring options over at Campervan HQ, we decided to go with high-gloss teak-and-holly Lonmarine vinyl flooring. Since we also have a sailboat, this floor went with our “boaty” theme. The vinyl mimics the look of real wood, is easy to clean, moisture-resistant and slip-resistant.
We did learn at Campervan HQ that Lonseal vinyl, especially the Lonmarine, does have the tendency to scratch if you’re not careful with it. For example, you wouldn’t want to drag heavy bins or furniture across the floor. It’s more delicate than other options on our list such as the 2Tec2.
We ordered 12 linear feet (6 feet wide) for our campervan conversion. Campervan HQ does offer CNC cutting of the floor to fit your type of van ONLY if you also purchase the subfloor. If you order any top floor separately you’ll have to cut it yourself.
Installing the Lonseal vinyl floor in our van
Lonseal is tricky to install and offers an Interior Flooring Manual to read before you attempt any DIY installation. We rented a 70-pound vinyl roller at Home Depot before getting started. I actually don’t have any pictures of the installation process because the whole thing was quite stressful due to the timing limits with epoxy.
Here are the steps we took to install the Lonseal van flooring:
#1) Cut the Lonseal
If you order Lonseal or 2Tec2 from Campervan HQ, you can add on the option of having the floor CNC cut to fit your van’s floorplan. We were going to do this but ran out of time so had to do the cutting ourselves.
Ideally, you first would create a template out of template paper and cut the Lonseal to match. Again, we were in a huge time crunch so we cut the Lonseal right in the van using scissors, and amazingly, it turned out really well!
#2) Treat the subfloor
Before doing anything, we first cleaned the subfloor material thoroughly with denatured alcohol to make sure the expoxy would stick.
#3) Mix the epoxy and lay down the floor
Since the epoxy is fast-acting, after we mixed it we only had 30 minutes to lay down the vinyl van flooring. This part of the install was the most stressful as we frantically spread glue over the subfloor.
We first laid the Lonseal down in the back part of the van, moving forward with the glue. Be careful not to let too much glue roll off the sides of the subfloor. We did that, and came close to running out of glue. We had to quickly adjust our technique to make sure we had enough glue for the entire floor.
Don’t put the glue down too thick – spread it out evenly. If you put glue down too thick you might have a high spot of glue, resulting in a visible bump in the floor, especially if you’re using a high-gloss vinyl.
We started gluing in the garage area to test out our technique and found we’d added too much glue, causing some bumps. But the living of our van is perfect and doesn’t show any bumps or problems at all, and that’s the part us and others see so we’re delighted it came out.
#4) Roll out the van floor
We next grabbed our 70-pound roller we’d rented at Home Depot and started rolling out the floor. This device is like a giant rolling pin that helps press the sheet vinyl down to the fiberglass and closed-cell foam Rainier subfloor. At one point, I got on the roller, making it’s total weight a little under 200 pounds.
#5) Let the floor dry
Lonseal recommends letting the floor dry for 24 hours before walking on it and for 72 hours before adding any heavy items. The vinyl sheet wants to be kept between 65-85 while drying. Since we were outside in Oregon in September without access to an indoor shop, this proved difficult.
We used a space heater inside the van at night to keep temperatures up and parked the van in the sun during the day to bake the van floor.
Final Thoughts on using High Gloss Lonseal for Your Camper Van Floor
We absolutely love the look of our Lonmarine wood teak-and-holly high-gloss floor. It looks professional and beautiful and mimics the look of a sailboat. However, due to the high gloss, you can see every imperfection that occured during the installation process, including air bubbles, bumps and hand prints. Luckily, we didn’t have too many of these issues and most were in the garage area of the van, which is covered with bins and other van life stuff.
You can also choose to install Lonseal flooring without the glossy finish. Instead, it would haev Lonseal’s factory-applied urethane finish, Topseal.
The rest of our new floor in the living space looks absolutely stunning and is the first thing people notice when we open up the sliding door.
Just be aware that this type of floor is harder to install than options like 2Tec2 and luxury vinyl plank. But it sure looks good if you do it right.
BTW – you don’t HAVE to use epoxy on your Lonseal flooring. The other option is Lontape or P809, a Lonseal-approved spray adhesive.
What Flooring is Right for Your Campervan Build?
We hope this article has given you tons of ideas for adding flooring to your campervan conversion. We just love our Rainier Flooring System as a subfloor with the Lonseal LonMarine Teak-and-Holly top floor.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can make your own plywood subfloor instead of a drop-in like the Rainier.
Luxury vinyl plank or 2Tec2 are great top floor options if you don’t want to deal with the trouble of installing sheet vinyl.
Adding a floor to your campervan feels like such a great accomplishment, and will make your small space feel like home. Good luck and have fun!