current plans for insulation

Im making this post just to talk about what my plans for the insulation are and my reasoning behind it. Meaning that my next posts can be more to the point, showing how I installed it. I’m hoping that this will reduce the amount of waffling I do but I can’t make any promises.

I spent a lot of time, even before I purchased the van, reading as much as I could on how best to go about insulating it. There are a lot of different ideas and examples online and all at different standards. I guess the function of the van itself plays a big part in this as well. For example a day van wouldn’t really need the level of insulation that a van would if it was going on long travels or perhaps being lived in.

I think I went for the latter. Not that I have any plans to live in my van just yet. I just wanted to make it as comfortable as possible. Getting the insulation right is crucial for a successful conversion.

The insulation can be broken down into 3 main areas: the floor, walls and ceiling.

Some people forgo insulating the floor. This is usually to save costs and head room. With heat rising what is the point in insulating the floor? Well you may not lose massive amounts of heat through the floor but you will most definitely feel the cold through it if it’s not insulated. You could have the warmest van in the world but that means nothing if you have cold feet. Nobody wants cold feet.

Plus it’s really not that much added cost and you’re only loosing 25mm of head space (using this method).

Another thing I want to add is a vapour barrier. This is highly debated online and I can definitely see both sides of the argument. However here is why I will be adding one:

Apart from keeping yourself warm another big reason for insulating your van is to prevent the build up of condensation. As well as insulation, a well fitted vapour barrier will prevent the warm air and the moisture within it from reaching the cold metal exterior of the van.

Some people say that a vapour barrier is risky as if there is any condensation then it will be trapped behind the vapour barrier. However there are plugged drainage holes dotted around the van. After trips I can always leave these out to provide some air flow behind the barrier. This should dry out any moisture that may have developed. However if installed correctly there shouldn’t be any.


So starting with the floor insulation. I will be going down the route of battening out the floor and insulating between the battens.

I will be using 25mm Kingspan rigid foam board insulation inbetween 25mm battens. The kingspan boards have great insulation properties so I can trust that it will work effectively. The battens will also provide a solid structure for my subfloor. And also a solid anchor point for things like cabinets and seating later on.

After all that time spent treating the rust in the floor I don’t want to be screwing any new holes in it. Therefore I will be securing 9mm ply strips in all the low points of the corrugated floor using sika flex 512. Then screwing the battens down into them.


For the walls I have decided to use soft insulation. The biggest reason for this is that it’s very easy to install. The walls are weird shapes and there’s lots of pockets that would be hard to fill with Kingspan.

I will be using 100mm thick recycled bottle insulation. As previously said, it’s very easy to work with, doesn’t retain moisture and I don’t have to worry about airborne fibres whilst installing it.


Finally for the ceiling I will be making use of the 25mm kingspan once again. Again the insulation properties are hard to beat and it would just need cutting into smaller rectangles with some slots cut out. 25mm is also the perfect depth to bring it level with my ceiling battens.

For the vapour barrier I will be using reflectix. Some plastic sheeting or general vapour barrier would be fine however I already had some and thought it might provide a little bit extra insulation.

So that’s roughly what I’m going for. Let’s hope it all comes together! Find out in the next post, stay tuned!

4 thoughts on “current plans for insulation

  1. locryn says:

    Hi Nathan!
    awesome blog, really enjoying reading about the van build, currently doing my own T4 too – I was wondering where you would get the 100% recycled bottle insulation from?


    • nathansnirvana says:

      Hey Locryn!

      Thanks, I’m glad you like it!

      I got the insulation from B&Q. It’s currently on their website for £16 a roll and I used 2 rolls.

      It’s cool to hear from people with similar projects! What’s your plans for your T4?


      • locryn says:

        Nice! I’ll have a look at it!
        I’ve soundproofed, insulated, played and carpeted my floor on it – If I could go back I’d do it the way you did with the Kingspan, Was pretty desperate to take it out climbing!
        I’ve made the platform for the bed and taking things a bit more slowly. Next will probably be the roof when I get round to it!
        Then hopefully do some trips to Chamonix, Spain and Scotland! Yourself?


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