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Insulating a van


I'm sure this has been asked before but just wondering if there are any tips on what to insulate a van with? We have a Nissan Primastar...have seen people talking about Kingspan. just wondering what's the best to use and how much of it!



I think everyone has their

I think everyone has their own favourite.
Kingspan, cellotex, Rockwool and I personally used a double foil backed insulation with a plastic inner which I glued direct. I'm now boarding out.
I very much doubt that ours will be used in sub zero temps, but if you are planning on that as a possibility, then ensure you have a good thick layer of insulation.

Cheers. Too many choices!

Cheers. Too many choices! That's the last thing on the list to buy for the moment. Getting the windows done end of this week, ordered ply lining and veltrim today.

We're going to be busy for while!

Why is the insulation the

Why is the insulation the last thing? Should be the 1st LOL. The ply lining is no good till the insulation is in.(Don't forget electrics in before ply lining, or you'll have to use trunking which looks ugly).
I wish I could be thinking of veltrim...I'm still ply lining.I'm using 18mm MDF for the kitchen units and dividing walls and ply for the lining.
I've installed the roof vent, toilet vent and 240v hook up flush socket. Jigsaw was busy that weekend!

If you can afford it use

If you can afford it use Kingspan, Celotex or similar. You can buy it discounted on eBay. It's generally the best insulator, especially for cold weather.
If you're not going anywhere too cold, then the foil bubble insulation that mgroadster mentioned is good.
The foil stuff is good for difficult areas even if you use Kingspan, as is this stuff:


It's like Rockwool, but not harmful.

Oh yeah, don't use Rockwool, it's not designed for living areas.

Polystyrene is OK also, but ut's quite expensive, and I would rather buy Celotex from eBay.

Ha ha roadster - we haven't

Ha ha roadster - we haven't done anything yet! Just buying it all cos we had a bit of money come in. So that list was things we're buying ready to get going.

We won't have the cash to do cupboards etc for a while so for now we've bought a ply kit, need to get electrics done and then veltrim. We're heading to Cornwall in May / June so as long as it's insulated and tidy by then we'll be happy!

Re the insulation thanks Darren for all the info. We were thinking of Kingspan but not sure how much to buy of it? Anyone know?


To work out how much you

To work out how much you need. Measure length x height to get a mtr2....ie say for example your van is 3mtrs long by 2 mtrs high= 6mtr2....x 2 sides=12mtr2
Don't forget the roof as well. length x width.....ie 3 mtrs long by 1.8mtrs wide=5.4mtr2.
SO.....Total req. for that example van=17.4mtr2.
Don't forget the rear door if your doing them as well. Just a rough guide, and get just a little extra for "eff ups". LOL.
(Some people do the floor as well).

That's really helpful cheers!

That's really helpful cheers!


I used Kapoc which is made from fibrous tree strands. It's a very good insulator and was reasonably priced.

I boarded out with 5mm ply and then coated that with a thin layer of polystyrene which was papered over.

Good insulation also keeps the van cool in hot countries; something worth considering if you plan on hitting the continent.

Just to piggy back on this

Just to piggy back on this thread. Has anyone considering DIY spray foam insulation such as the one in this example?: http://www.eps-systemsltd.com/products_frothpak.php

Although not the cheapest solution, it would provide an effective vapour seal. It also sticks to fibreglass without damaging it, which is extremely attractive for me as my van has a fibreglass roof.

Any thoughts and has anyone used this type of product before?


I know many people have used

I know many people have used this process before. It is very effective. It requires a reasonable amount of preparation before the spraying, but provides excellent results.

This would be great for your fiberglass roofed van.


Thanks for the response Darren. I was hoping to get away with a quick clean of the surface and Bob's your uncle but I suspect more work might be required. I'll have dig around for info before I go down this route.



hi there.
I just registered today and right away im getting lots of info and ideas. My project is in the amoeba stage atm as ive yet to collect the Mercedes 308D that i bought recently. Ever previous!
But, i am thinking ahead and enjoying every minute of planning this first 'from scratch' conversion for me.
Before reading all the above post/replies re insulation i had the idea to use polysterene sheets but will it squeek? over the polysterene i wondered about the pro/cons of carpet for the walls and ceilings? All thoughts or anecdotes happily received. :)

As long as you secure the

As long as you secure the polystyrene sheets well they wont squeak. Or they might squeak a tiny amount, but you wont hear it with the engine running.

I would suggest lining the inside of the van with plywood. The insulation should be behind the plywood. Carpet on top of the plywood is very popular. It's fairly cheap and easy, and gives a good finish. Carpet on the ceiling doesn't look very profesional, as they always use vinyl, but great in winter as it makes it feel warmer.


thanks for that Darren, my first thought was to plyline the living space yep, but then i came up with this polysterene/carpet idea...to reduce payload? how significant would that be for overall fuel economy?
if at all!

Plylining the living area

Plylining the living area wont add too much weight, and so wont affect economy too badly.
Not plylining, means sticking carpet directly into insulation, which isn't a good idea. It's too easy to lean on it and damage it.
Also, you'll need the flat strong walls of the plylining to screw and attach furniture and fittings too.

Anonymous's picture
I tried polystyrene on a van

I tried polystyrene on a van and it squeeked! This time I used kingspan, but it is a B****r to work with on a van with curved walls (i.e. most of them) and you can't get it to fit the awkward nooks and crannies.......so next time......I would use the foil backed roof insulation, but it when it is on offer at B&Q, it's well priced, easy to work with, and works well. I had read threads saying that it attracts moisture and give rust problems, but last year, I helped to strip out a 1980s Merc camper that had been insulated professionally with the fibreglass roof insulation type stuff, and there was NO sign of moisture retention or rust......for me it's the stuff to use., Otherwise you can use 'Extrem' insulation sheets, expensive, but easy to work with and very efficient if you are going to very cold or hot climates regularly.

squeeks R us

thanks for that very useful feedback. Polysterene seemed like a option but not if its going to set my teeth on edge every time i drive!
the rock wool sounds good too, would you put the foil to the metal of facing in towards the living space...?

regards Suz

so pleased i found this site

so pleased i found this site for all the info, the kingspan is very expensive so i like the idea of the B&Q plastic insulation as it looks very easy for a novice like me to work with and its cheap ! thanks Darren for that one and everybody else who posts here.

What do people think about

What do people think about this: http://www.wickes.co.uk/invt/210022
Silver on one side only, is that a problem? could anybody recommend something similar if not good enough quality

I've used this stuff. It's

I've used this stuff. It's good at adding a reasonable level of insulation. But other materials are better if you want something super insulated.
By that roll is good for a a quick and easy to way to insulate any vehicle.

Anonymous's picture
Spray Insulations- Polyurethane Foam

The best insulation for Campervans is Polyurethane Spray Foam. It has a lifetime guarantee, bonds to most materials filling every nook & cranny where insulation is needed & is also used to Insulate Warehouses, Roof, Boats etc.
20mm thick of this product stops condensation & keeps the heat in, but also keeps it cool in the summer months. I have supplied this product nationwide & my company is known for Insulating smaller projects like Campervans. If you would like anymore information or interested in having your vehicle insulation please contact me via email or on 07958133661.

Kind Regards,

Leo Bates

Anonymous's picture

I am contemplating a Campervan conversion for year round use and would like to use Spray foam have you any comments or suggestions.

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