There are quite a few choices for flooring ranging from inexpensive linoleum from the hardware store, to standard residential floor types (tile, wood plan, engineered wood, etc), to professional grade industrial vinyl meant for high-traffic extreme applications.
Aside from cost, the other choices presented themseleves with some challenges. Many residential building materials are not made to withstand repeated heating adn gooling to the extremes that a vehicle can put it through. The van will be outside in the winter and summer and generate a wide range of temperatures. The wood will expand and contract. The linoleum will eventurally wrinkle and split. I’d rather not use tile (though if I wanted to, I could set it in epoxy grout and never have to worry about it again).
After discussing options with Cole, it seemed pretty obvious that the only way I was going to go was the industrial vinyl route. The floor is one of those things I will never want to have to deal with again. So, I ordered some samples and chose a color. The floor installs using an epoxy undercoat which adheres it to the factory floor. I rolled it out today to do a rough trim prior to installation. I’d like to install it on a warm day so the material get a chance to ‘relax’ and flatten out.
The soundproofing I added had a little bit of R value, and the factory floor itself has a layer of thin insulation. I tried adding an additional layer of 1/2″ foam under the floor. But after I bolted the tiedown brackets back on, it was too lumpy in spots for my liking. The factory floor itself has a layer of foam under it and in addition to the soundproofing, it’s just fine with me. I put the floor back in.
Once the factory floor was back on, I added the tiedowns back in, but loosely. Using a screwdriver as a lever, I wiggled the factory floor in place and tightened everything. It’s perfect. Much less trim work needed now, and the floor feels solid. The final looks is just like the factory install, but with a soundproofing layer underneath. I’ll fill in the 1/2″ gap between the floor and the van wall with a bead of gray exterior caulking, but only after I install the vinyl flooring and it’s cured. Stay tuned.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.