I finally got around to starting on the flooring in the She-Beast today. I’ve been distracted trying to ensure the cab area isn’t leaking water (which it still is), but it has irritated me to the point I’ve decided I just need to move on and come back to it later. The driver’s door isn’t sealing correctly and is letting water in, but the weather seal looks in decent shape. It’s almost as if the door itself is bent outwards just a smidge.
I started the subflooring by filling the gaps between the ridges in the sheet metal on the floor of the van with strips of Reflectix (which is essentially bubble wrap with sheets of tin foil on each side). Reflectix only has an R-value of about 3, but almost every camper van conversion project I’ve read about uses it because it’s good at keeping cool air inside when it’s hot out and keeping warm air inside when it’s cool out.
Once I had the gaps filled, I laid down an entire sheet of Reflectix insulation to cover the entire floor. The most important and time consuming part of this was cutting around all the pillars, gas tank filler tube, and the wheel wells; I wanted as close of a fit as I could get. I used aluminum foil tape to seal the joints between the different sections of insulation, as it only comes in 48″ wide rolls. The wood blocks in the photo are just to weigh it down and keep the wind from blowing it around.
Now that I had the insulation cut and in place, it was time to prepare the plywood that lays on top of it. I laid out three sheets of 1/4″ OSB to create one giant 12’x8′ rectangle. The Reflectix layer I just cut created a perfect template to lay directly on top of the OSB and trace out using a marker, as you can see below.
With the template traced out, I put the Reflectix insulation back in the van. Then I grabbed the jigsaw and started cutting (beginning with the sheet that sits directly behind the seats). As I finished cutting each sheet, I went ahead and installed it in the van. Since I had a great template, each sheet slid into place very nicely. It didn’t take too long to get them all cut and laid into place. I used self-tapping sheet metal screws along the walls to hold the plywood to the floor. I didn’t put any screws down the center because the screws don’t sit flush and I can’t recess them since it’s only 1/4″ thick OSB (they’d break right through).
Now that I have the subfloor in place, I can start laying out everything else. The entire rear half will have another level of flooring installed that will sit about six inches high to allow enough room for my storage system to go underneath it. Even with the raised floor, I can still stand up straight in the rear half. However, once I insulate the ceiling and board it up (which will take up 3-4 inches), I’ll have to tilt my head just a little in that area. Since that will be my couch/bed area, I won’t be standing there much anyways. I’ll still have four feet of space in the front half where I’ll be able to stand up completely and stretch out.