At this point with the majority of the paneling in place it’s time to address the floor. The van came with a rubber mat in the cargo area that was installed at the time of construction. With over 100,000 miles on the odometer this rubber mat was worn thin and split in a number of places. Beyond using it for a pattern for cutting out the wheel well, fuel filler, and side door step area’s from the new flooring, it was pretty much trash.
To aid in noise suppression and improve the overall insulation of the van, the first step is to lay down a layer of Styrofoam insulation. Using two 4×8 sheets of ½” Styrofoam panel insulation I copied the cutouts using the rubber mat as a template. I left one sheet full sized and cut down the other to a narrower width to fill out the floor.
As the van bed is about 9′ long I placed the insulation toward the front so that the “fill in” piece would end up located at the back under the bed where a seam is of little importance. I also placed the full sized sheet against the long (driver’s side) wall and the narrower piece toward the side door.
The reason I put the lengthwise seam closer to the side door is when the OSB (Oriented Strand Board) is laid down it would be with a full sheet next to that sliding door and the narrower piece closer to the long wall. This way the seams would be staggered between the two layers of material and the actual walking surface would be strongest near the sliding door where foot traffic would be higher.
Contrary to some conventional thinking I chose to “Not” screw the OSB sub-floor solid into the steel floor of the van. As the final finished floor will be a floating hardwood laminate, which also will not be attached, there is no real reason to perforate a perfectly good steel floor. As long you keep the shinny side up, that floor isn’t going to go anywhere.
The next step in the project is to build the bed platform. As this van will be providing shelter for two, it was decided to make a single 48″ wide bed across the width of the van close to the back doors. One 4×8 sheet of 7/16″ OSB did a fine job. Cut to 68″ in length and boxed in on the bottom side with 2×4’s, it was centered over the wheel wells. Resting right on the wheel wells, 4 ea 14″ lengths of 2×4 where cut for legs.
Assembly of the bed structure was done with sheet rock screws. The majority of the weight will be carried by the top side of the wheel wells making the legs more stabilizers then load carriers.
With the bed in place the remaining floor space toward the front of the van will be the area treated to a hardwood laminate floor. The rear portion and under the bed will be relegated to storage and left as OSB.
The end result is a bed that is wide enough for two people and 5’8″ in length. For me it will mean a slight bend in the knees to fit. For a mattress a cut down queen sized 3″ dense foam mattress topper from Sam’s Club will be pressed into service.
This type of bed is easier to keep looking neat as there is open space on both sides allowing bedding to hang over like a real bed. With a nice country quilt and a couple comfy pillows it should be a very good nights sleep.