Designing the Van Part 5 – Laying the Laminate Flooring

A lot of campervans I’d looked at had the same kind of interior; tongue and groove wall and ceiling panelling with planks across the floor and a lot of MDF and timber holding everything together. Our van was going to have to tow the company line on a few things but I wanted to minimize the weight as much as possible so instead of heavier timber flooring I opted for 4mm laminate stuff.

Another reason I chose that was because it was offered to me at £10 per pack instead of the usual £25 and I do love a bargain. The foil backed polystyrene insulation was also on offer so I bought three packs of that as well – enough to cover the floor and some.

With my materials in the bag I needed to call on the help of an adept floor layer – my brother of all people. He was more than happy to help so we spent the afternoon outside his house putting it all together. Thankfully he had all the tools needed for laying flooring of this type and if you’ve never done it before you’ll definitely want to watch a few youtube videos to see how it’s done, otherwise there might be high blood pressure and swearing in a short matter of time.

There was swearing anyway; even experts still lose their rag with these things. In fact, I’m sure this van has heard so much swearing that if it ever started to communicate it would be in expletives.

So down to the flooring then. The boards come with little ridges on the edge which line up with opposing ridges. We needed three rows and roughly eight ‘boards’ width to complete the job so we did the easy stuff first across the widest part of the van.

As is par for the course on jobs like this there is always the chaos factor. The boards tended to shift when adding the next one and although the first row went in fairly easily, the next was a lot more tricky and tended to pull the first row around as well. We screwed the first row in place and decided to put PVA glue along the edges of all future boards so that when they set there would be no shifting them at all.

The rear of the van presented new challenges in the form of wheel arches which we needed to negotiate. They actually proved quite easy; our handy jigsaw doing all the work meaning that the whole job was completed in around three hours. All that was left to do was let it settle in readiness for the next job – installing the frame for the seating.

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