Once you have finished insulating your campervan to-be, it’s time for the next steps! Getting started with the floor, ceiling and walls of your campervan conversion is great because it really makes you see how the van will look like in the end!
So are you ready for your campervan wall coverings, ceiling ideas and inspiration for materials? Time to bring your campervan conversion to the next level 🙂 .
What's coming up
- 1 What to do first? Floor, Walls or Ceiling?
- 2 Campervan Floor, Ceiling and Wall Ideas
- 3 The Floor of your campervan
- 4 The ceiling of your campervan
- 5 The Walls of your campervan conversion
- 6 Where to get the materials and how much did cost?
- 7 Have fun with the walls, floor and ceiling!
What to do first? Floor, Walls or Ceiling?
When you have finished insulating your campervan, the order of things gets a bit difficult. For example, you want to put in your roof ventilator before the ceiling, and you want to start your electricity works simultaneously with the floor, ceiling and walls. Also, you want your floor more or less finished before starting to put in the furniture.
That said, there is no standard order in which to do these things and it depends on your particular van. Some parts will need more work than others. Think logically, prepare the work and the puzzle should come together. And hey, what’s the fun in doing a campervan conversion if you don’t make a mistake here and then 😉
The most important lesson I learned with putting in the wall, floor and ceiling in my van: before putting all the walls and ceilings in, make sure to put the necessary electricity cables from left to right and from front to back, and to make them long enough 🙂
Campervan Floor, Ceiling and Wall Ideas
Both a great as well as a difficult thing about this part of your van conversion, is that there are so many options available!! If you have a look at campervan conversions on Pinterest or Instagram you can go completely nuts with the options.
You have completely wooden vans which look really rustic and cosy, or really modern vans that have a super luxurious feel.
A lot of the camper builders in the Netherlands use a carpet-like fabric on the ceiling and sometimes also on the wall. I didn’t really like the structure and look and feel of this material so I decided to look further.
Especially for the walls and ceilings of the campervans, wood also seemed like a great option. I saw some beautifully done vans with old/recycled wooden panels that gave a great look and feel to the van. It did seem however a lot of work to apply and maintain.
I had to take two main things into account: I was in a bit of a hurry because I wanted the van conversion to be completed within 3 months, and I wanted the van to feel very much like a home but still functional. That’s why you have to make several choices for the floor, ceiling and walls of your campervan conversion.
In the following chapters I will explain you which choices I made, why and how much they cost.
The Floor of your campervan
The campervan floor: Prep & Structure
For the floor in the campervan, we ordered a large piece of plywood of 10mm thickness. Because we saved the pieces of the old floor, it was quite easy to draw and saw out the shapes of the new floor.
After getting the shapes right, we could head back to the van!
The floor is rested on top of the isolation. As you may have read in my post about insulating your campervan, we glued some wooden strips to the bottom of the car. We did this so it would be easy to attach the plywood of the floor to it.
Because we had the old floor, the piece of wood fitted straight away!! This was such a relief as the floor of a van has so many different shapes.
Because of the wooden strips, we could then easily put the floor in. We first put some glue on the strips and then used some screws in the floor to attach it. Make sure the screws are not too long 😉
By doing it this way, the floor was very solid and didn’t move at all. This made a great base for the furniture.
Then the fun part started, the lay out! We drew it out on the wood so it would become more real than on paper 🙂 Once we got all the measurements, we could move on to a great part – covering the floor!
Campervan floor: how to cover it?
Before putting in the kitchen and couhces in the van, I needed to finish the floor. This would make sure the floor would be staying at its place and that the whole floor would be water proof! It took me a while to pick a good cover for the floor.
The first and most important thing to consider when making choices for a floor for your campervan: how to keep your floor it clean and dry!
Carpet, Wood or Vinyl?
Carpet may seem lovely and soft on your feet, but your camper will get so disgusting you will hate it very soon 🙂 . A wooden floor (especially from recycled wood!) may seem like a great idea, but think about spilling some water or a coffee. The liquid will definitely get through the cracks in the floor.
Another thing to consider is taxes. In the Netherlands you pay taxes according to how heavy the van is. That got a hardwood floor out of the question – it may look awesome but can significantly add weight.
In the end, I decided to go with a Vinyl floor from Carpetright . It was affordable, it had a great design and it came in one piece! This last bit would definitely make sure no liquids or dirt would get through – and vinyl is super easy to clean too!
Because the vinyl wouldn’t move anymore as soon as the couches and kitchens would be attached to the floor, I didn’t put too much effort in attaching vinly to the wooden floor. The only thing I did was using strong double-sided tape to attach the vinyl. A couple of pieces in the middle and extra pieces along the edges.
We got recommended NOT to use glue, because it may burn into the vinyl as it may create a chemical reaction.
In addition, to keep the vinyl in place and to protect it from curling up and getting dirt and moist under it, we put metal edges around it at the entrance. It looks quite nice too 🙂
After a couple of months on the road I can say that the floor has worked out perfectly! Next time I would probably get a bit darker type of vinyl – because the floor is very light it does get a bit dirty sometimes. But with some water and soap it’s clean before you know it 🙂
The ceiling of your campervan
Campervan ceiling material + structure
After looking at many campervan ceiling ideas, I decided I wanted it clean and simple. So I ended up using 5mm that is very thin and bends easily. In the van, there were some cable holding rails (the black rails in the picture below) which served as the basis for the ceiling. Also we attached some wooden strips to the steel of the roof, to secure the isolation material and to give the ceiling a basis.
How it was designed is that two pieces of wood basically put pressure on each other to stay put. This would again have as benefit that because it’s only two pieces, it’s good for isolation and moist management. No little cracks and holes through which the cold air can come!
For the first piece, we had to cut the hole for the fan to start with. Then we pushed it strongly so it would bend, and put it into place with nails. We brought the cables for the lighting through the wood and attached the led lights (preliminary).
Covering the ceiling
Although the wood was of nice quality and looked pretty good, I felt the wooden colour would not fit with the rest of the interior I had in mind. I decided to go with a white colour for the ceiling.
The wood was untreated, so I started with a base coat and afterwards applied a laquer coat. You can see the result in the picture all below the post.
Now, months later, the ceiling is still on 😛 Which is obviously a relief! After about a year it can use a bit of paint to make it look great again, but overall not disappointed in this way of doing the ceiling!
The Walls of your campervan conversion
The walls: the structure
My van has a steel structure that was a great base for the walls. We attached some wooden planks to the steel. As opposed to 10mm for the floor, we also used 5mm plywood for the walls just as we did for the ceiling.
This thin plywood is easy to bend and would save some space as opposed to straight walls. The downside of bended walls is that it’s more difficult to cover with for example wooden cladding.
We could easily attach the plywood to the wooden planks that were used as basis.
I also mounted a campervan TV on the wall, that I used to watch movies and as a second screen for my work as a digital nomad.
The easy part of building the wall this way was that each wall would consist of only one piece of wood, or max two for a crazy bend on the left side.
Cutting the wood in the right shape was not easy with all the bends and curves! But in the end the result was amazing :-). And because the walls are not straight it actually looks more spacious!
Campervan wall covering
The plywood was untreated so before covering it with anything, I had to paint it with a base layer. This would avoid the wood sucking up any paint or glue that would be applied afterwards.
I was a bit sad to see the nice colour of the wood go, but as soon as the base layer of paint was on it became much more clear how the van interior would look like in the end!
Shopping around a bit for the right material to put on the wall was fun but also difficult. I wanted it to have a modern fresh look, not too expensive and easy to attach. I ended up choosing “vliesbehang”, a very strong type of wallpaper.
Now I’ve been on the road for 2 months I see that the wallpaper starts crumbling a bit on the edges. When I get back to the Netherlands I will have to apply some new glue. For a next conversion, I would probably opt for painting the wood. But all in all very happy with the result!
Where to get the materials and how much did cost?
To get the floor, ceiling and walls of your campervan conversion right, you probably need lots of wood 🙂 For my Renault Trafic campervan conversion we ordered the wood at a local wood wholesaler. Above a certain amount they delivered at home, which was great because the plates were way too big for a car!
The plywood for my campervan conversion cost about €300 in total (the bigger the van the more you need). The base and lacquer paint for the walls and ceiling in the campervan was about €150 in total. For the wallpaper, I only needed one roll (I bought 4 initially haha!). This was a very cheap way to get some colour in the van (about €20) 🙂
Have fun with the walls, floor and ceiling!
This was by far my favourite part of my campervan conversion. After this stage was finished, you could really see the van coming together. Have fun with this part of your van conversion and let me know if you have any questions 🙂
Your article is very helpful!! One question: when attaching the wooden strips to the metal ceiling, did you also put some rust prevention around the hole, or is this just neccessary when screwing on ‘outer’ parts where it definitely gets wet?
Thanks Daniel, happy you find the article useful! I don’t exactly remember but I think we screwed them on parts that didn’t go straight through the roof. So if you screw inside and ventilate well, no rust should appear. I only used a bit of paint as rust preventer for the roof ventilator hole 🙂 Good luck with your conversion!
Thanks for these articles. They are really useful. We’re just at the beginning of our conversion (bought our van a week ago!). I was wondering how you finish the plywood panel by the sliding door. Is there an edging you put on where the ply meets the door to make it neat or is it just cut. Thanks!
Hi Jo, great to hear! I just cut it in the same shape, put wall paper over the whole wall and tried to cover the edges with the existing edging of the van, but it keeps slipping out. To be honest it’s not the prettiest part of the van 🙂
Welk soort hout heb jij gebruikt voor de vloer? De wanden? De meubels? En waar heb je dit aangekocht?
Hoi Tessa! Voor de vloeren 10mm platen en voor plafond en muren 5mm. Gewoon bij elke bouwmarkt 🙂 Je kan kiezen tussen al gekleurd hout (wit) of hout wat je nog moet bewerken. Ik vond het al bewerkte hout erg handig hoefde nog maar 1 kleurlaag overheen.
Kast en keuken gekocht bij https://www.camperfixx.nl en de banken zelf gemaakt. Veel plezier met bouwen!
Brilliant Article, I really like how you did this and you explained it really well. I am just about to start this stage and the article has really helped with confidence in doing the floor, walls and ceiling. I have one question. How did you attach the furniture to the walls?
Hi Gavin, thanks for your comment, happy you like my blog.
I used steel anchors like this (always on the inside of the furniture so you don’t see it) and some glue here and there where I thought it would help
Hoi! Allereerst super bedankt om jouw stappenplan met ons te delen! Ik heb hier echt enorm veel aan!!! In september start ik met het ombouwen van mijn Renault Kangoo in een mini campervan. Ik kijk er zo naar uit! Ik had een vraagje over het volgende: “. Also we attached some wooden strips to the steel of the roof, to secure the isolation material and to give the ceiling a basis.”
Met welke materiaal heb jij jouw houten latten bevestigd tegen de metalen constructie van je auto aan de wanden en aan het plafond?
Hoi Nina, bedankt voor je leuke bericht. De houten latjes hebben gelijmd en geschroefd waar het kan. In de Renault zaten nog stukken metaal waardoor de schroef niet door het dak heenging 😉
Heel veel succes!
Superb series of articles, very helpful, Dank U. Just one question, how did you fix the wooden strips to the steel roof – glue? Thanks, Charles
Hi, thanks for the info, looks great! Why buying a new 10mm plywood floor instead of using/put back the ‘old’ floor that was already in the van?
Self-build campervans are about one thing only: weight! 🙂 the old (industrial) floors were super heavy
I started looking at your site for ideas about campervan ceilings – and then realised you were converting a high roof Renault Trafic – just like the one I bought today!
I shall be spending a lot more time on your site, to get plenty of ideas!
Aha! Get it! 🙂
Hello, I like a lot the wood you put on the ceiling 🙂 What king of wood did you use in order to bend it well ?
Thin plywood! 🙂
Great blog posts. Quick question on the 5.5. mm plywood. Is it just normal plywood – i am concerned regular 5.5mm plywood won’t bend enough.
Hi Richard, it’s normal plywood. I would just go to the store and see how it bends 😉