Insulating a Van

Insulating a van or campervan is an inexpensive and DIY way to create a cosier and more comfortable travelling and living space free from moisture, condensation and unwelcome temperature extremes! Van insulation will help to keep the space cool in the summer and warm in the winter so no matter where you’re camped up for the night you can get a comfortable night’s sleep.

1. What materials shall I use for van insulation?

2. Do I need to layer over campervan insulation?

3. How do I fit van insulation?

Van or campervan insulation projects need to include some sort of vapour barrier. Since you’re looking to insulate such a small space, there’s a risk of a build-up of moisture from people breathing and people cooking. Pasta and rice may be campervan travel staples, but they generate a lot of steam when cooked which turns to condensation when it hits the cold metal or window of the van.

What materials can I use for campervan insulation?

volkswagon-campervan-insulationWhere floor space is at a premium, campervan insulation needs to be as thin as possible. This is why we recommend multifoil insulation. You can purchase multifoil insulation roll that also has a vapour barrier built in so there’s no need to think twice about this! Multifoil is extremely flexible so you can bend it around protrusions and wheel arches without awkward cut jobs, and the lightweight nature of the product won’t add too much weight to the van overall.

We would recommend SuperFOIL SFUF as it’s just 6mm thick and the top layer is a polythene vapour control layer so everything you need is in one. Use highly adhesive SuperFOIL Met Poly tape to secure the edges of the foil insulation in place.

Alongside multifoil insulation it’s advisable to fill larger cavities with glass wool insulation as it’s cheap and will insulate larger areas more efficiently. The opening to the cavity however must be covered properly as glass wool fibres are notoriously itchy and will probably get into the throats of those sleeping and eating in the van!

multifoil-insulation superfoil-sfuf superfoil-tape glass-wool-insulation

Do I need to layer over campervan insulation?

Insulating a van involves removing the standard panels are applying insulation beneath so as the panels cover up the insulation and keep it even more securely in place. Sometimes you may find the panels aren’t the correct size after this has been done, or you might break panels in the process.

Simply cut plywood to size, using the former panel as a template, and use these as low-cost replacements.

How do I fit van insulation?

Avoiding condensation is a big part of insulating a van or campervan so it’s a good idea to purchase some low-cost window insulation mats which can prevent condensation on windows and create an additional element of privacy. The layers of the van should make up: bare metal, insulation, separate optional vapour barrier, plywood panels and finishings, carpets and fixtures.

  1. Strip out the van of fixings and furniture
  2. Remove the existing van wall panels, taking care to store the screws and fixings
  3. Tape foil insulation into place as best as you can, ensuring a tight seal and taping around corners, wheel arches and protrusions
  4. Install a vapour barrier if you’ve opted for a simple multifoil insulation without one built in
  5. Replace the van wall panels using the original screws and fixings
  6. Take care to cut out any new panels you might need using plywood and screw these into place
  7. Fit carpets and fittings like lights and permanent furniture back into place

For help and advice when undertaking your van insulation project feel free to contact our insulation helpline on 01752 692 206. They will offer free and impartial advice on what's best to do in your situation and they'll be keen to hear all they can about your campervan insulation project!