In this guide, we will be explaining two methods of fitting a ply floor into medium-sized vans such as a VW Transporter.
Safety notice: Before fitting any flooring or drilling in your van, always make sure to check where you are drilling. You need to check what is attached or close to the other side of what you are drilling through to avoid damage.
Two main ways to fit a floor
1. Bond wooden battens to the floor of the van with a polyurethane sealant and screw a shaped, Plywood floor to the battens.
The batten thickness needs to be the same height as the ribs in the floor and bonded in between the ribs with a polyurethane bond such as Tiger seal. Mark where the battens are located and screw your new ply floor into these battens.
2. Screw a shaped, plywood floor directly into the metal van floor.
The non-batten route is the method we will be explaining in this guide. If you are opting for using battens, this guide will still apply, all will be explained!
So let's get started by buying a floor for your van.
Sourcing a floor
The first step to fitting a floor is buying the right one. We use a 12mm ply as it is a strong base flooring. The 12mm ply fits in with the extra deep steps that you can retrofit after.
You can go to your local builder's merchant or DIY store and buy the wood in sheets. This will save you money but not time! What we do when it is available for the model, is to buy a pre-cut floor.
As I have already mentioned these are a little more expensive but, you save lots of time getting the shape right. We buy our pre-cut ply floors from Custom shop design.
Pre-cut floors aren't always perfect
Although pre-cut floors will fit the contours of your van you may need to make slight modifications. This is usually because of sound deadening, insulation and carpet, that you have added. The addition of these materials to the wheel arches and floors will mean you might need to shave a little off the ply floor.
Tools you will need to fit a ply floor
Drill, impact driver, 2/3mm metal drill bit, Straight edge, marker pen, masking tape, screws, and any wood cutting tools if required. (jigsaw/sander)
Marking where to drill
The points that you are going to fit the floor down to are the highest ribbed points. In most vans, they run lengthways down the van about 5-10cm apart. This gives you lots of fixing points for the floor. (Yellow lines for reference)
You need to have a reference for these higher ridged sections when you place your ply floor down. You do this is by using masking tape. Place the masking tape in line with the raised ridged section. Put the tape at the front (as seen in the photo) and also at the rear of the van. If you were to draw a line from both of these points it will be running along the top of the raised ribbed. This will be how you know where to drill when the ply floor has been laid. (See example photo below.)
(Make sure to put the masking tape in a place that is still visible when the floor is laid down. Yellow circles for reference)
You will also need to make a reference for suitable fixing points down both lengths of the van. (See photo.) These references along with the markers across either end of the van will create a grid system. With these references, you will be able to draw the grid on the ply.
(If you are fitting battens, the only difference is, the battens will be your fixing points and you will need to mark and reference the battens instead of the raised ribs.)
Drawing a grid system
Once you have placed the floor down, you can start creating the grid system. Use your straight edge and a marker pen to create lines from your reference points. Create the lines both vertically and horizontally which will create your grid. Where the grid points meet is your fixing point.
The final fixing of the floor
Once you have drawn your grid system, you can drill a 2/3mm pilot hole and fasten a screw through the ply floor into the floor of the van. Repeat this until you are happy that the floor is safely secured. We usually fit between 15-25 screws for fitting a standard floor.