When you are going through a van conversion, it is important that you use some sort of wood to line the floors and the sides of the vehicle. If you don’t, then your van conversion isn’t really going to end up well.
The vehicle won’t have proper insulation, and you are going to find it tough to complete the rest of the conversion work. You can’t just stick any old wood on the floor, though. It needs to be thick, and preferably plywood.
So, what thickness of plywood for a camper van floor?
The short answer:
Ideally, the plywood should be between 1/2″ and up to 3/4″ thick. The thicker your plywood, the better structurally it will be and also provide greater insulative value.
On this page, we are going to dive into some of the more burning questions people often have about the use of plywood on their camper van floors. Hopefully, any of the questions that you may have jumping around your head are going to be answered here.
Ideal Thickness of Plywood For Camper Van Floor
It is recommended that you opt for plywood that is at least 1/2″ thick. This applies to both the floors and the side of the vehicle. Some people go up to 3/4″ thick. If you opt for anything less than 1/2″, then you are running the risk of the plywood being a poor insulator.
The plywood may also be a bit weaker, which means it is much more likely to break under a bit of pressure, which we are positive is the last thing that you want to happen!
Is Plywood The Best Wood To Use For a Camper Van Floor?
In theory, you could use almost any wood that you want in your vehicle. It doesn’t really mean that all of the wood types are going to be great to use, though.
The following are the most common woods used in van conversions:
These woods are chosen because not only are they lightweight, but they are also able to deal with some rather heavy loads. This makes them convenient for when you start to load up the vehicle with heavy furniture.
The reason why we recommend plywood is because it is available in a variety of different styles. Most woods can be turned into plywood. So, if there is a particular aesthetic that you are after, then you are probably going to be able to find it with ease.
In addition to this, plywood tends to be a lot tougher than some of the other more commonly used woods in van conversions. This can mean that you will be able to support more furniture.
Of course, the fact that plywood, particularly plywood that has been designed for van conversions, is among the cheapest of woods that you can buy really helps.
What Is The Job Of Plywood In a Van Conversion?
There are a few reasons why you will need to use plywood in your van conversion.
For starters, the plywood is going to act as an insulator. The back of your van has not been built with warmth in mind. After all, the sides have been constructed from sheet metal. If you climb into the back of a van without lining the sides and the floor with wood, then you are going to be very cold indeed. We are sure that this is the last thing that you want when you are out camping.
Secondly, the plywood will provide a level surface. The back of your vehicle is not going to be straight sheet metal. Instead, it will be ‘ribbed, or at the very least not flat. If you try and attach furniture to this, then it is going to be nigh on impossible. The furniture won’t attach properly at all. When you have plywood installed, it makes everything completely flat and you can build up the van conversion however you see fit.
Remember, attaching plywood will also limit the number of holes that you need to put into the chassis of your vehicle. You want there to be as few holes as possible. You really, really do not want to be screwing your furniture directly into the chassis of your vehicle. Not only will it weaken the chassis, but it will result in poor insulation.
Finally, the plywood will make the inside of your van conversion seem much more aesthetically pleasing. Your van conversion is going to be your home while you are on the road. You will want it to look as beautiful as possible, right?
How Much Weight Can Plywood Support?
This is a tough question to answer. This is because it is going to be dependent on the type of plywood that you have purchased (i.e. what the base wood was), as well as the thickness of the plywood.
Thankfully, if you are buying plywood designed specifically for van conversions, it should give you a rough weight that it can support.
If you are planning on supporting the heaviest furniture in your van conversion, then we suggest that you use plywood made using birch or pine. Both are ridiculously strong and should be able to support almost everything that goes into your van conversion…including numerous people.
That being said, if your van conversion has the aim of weighing as little as possible, then we suggest that you use paulownia plywood. It supports about half the weight of birth and pine, but it is also half the weight. It should still be able to support most of the furniture that you want to put in your van conversion. You just may have to space things out a little bit more.
If you are using plywood for your camper van floor, then we suggest that you use plywood that is at least 1/2″ thick. If you want to support some heavier furniture (or people), then you can go up to 3/4″ thick. Anything above that will be overkill.