Updated: Apr 29
Today’s blog by Combe Valley Campers will give you a step by step guide to the preparation of the surfaces before we carpet, what tools to use and how to get the best results when fitting the carpet to the inside of your campervan. Please note we recommend sound deadening and insulating your van before you start carpeting.
So before we start the guide we’re going to walk through the two main ways you can carpet your van.
The first is take off all of the panels and carpet them separately, then carpet any of the metal that isn’t covered by the panels and finally reapplying the panels. This has its advantages in that it is the slightly easier option and you also have to option to remove the panels if in the future you need access for any maintenance.
The second option and the one we are going to focus on today is carpeting the sides of the van with a singular piece of carpet, this gives a nicer overall finish.
What you will need
Tray or bucket
Step One - Cleaning
Clean the areas of metal you wish to carpet. Remove any screws or fixings from the area. Use brake cleaner or alternative surface wipes to remove any dirt or grease.
Step Two - Trim And Panel Removal
Pick a side you want to start on and remove any plastic trim. Most trim is held in with clips so should pop them off with a trim tool, have a look round the trim first for any screws and bolts holding it in place. Grab a tray or a bucket for all the clips, screws and trim so you have them in one place at the end.
Step Three- Placement
Helpful Hint- We recommend keeping the carpet on the reel when carpeting. Avoid cutting the cable to length before you've finished, as when you are working round panels and over metal work you may run out. That is why we leave the trimming to when you are happy with the finish.
For the width of the carpet. You will want the carpet to flow under the plastic trim (when you reattach the trim later) Line the carpet up to where the trim starts, then give yourself about a 20 cm overlap to ensure you have enough carpet. This will be cut off later once you are happy with the finish.
For the height. You will want the carpet to sit in the rail that holds the headliner, again we would suggest an overlap for peace of mind. Give yourself 5-10cm overlap. Make sure that you have enough carpet to reach the floor.
Step Four- Glue Application
When you're happy with where the carpet is going to start, we need to stick it into the van using the contact spray adhesive.
Helpful hint- Apply the glue one meter at a time to avoid potential waste and to give your self more time before the glue sets.
Spray the glue evenly to both the carpet and the surface you are attaching the carpet to. Make sure to move the can of glue up and down making a nice uniform coat. Leave the glue for 10-20 seconds for the vapour to dissipate before applying the carpet to the surface
Helpful hint- Avoid focusing on one small area as this will cause drips you don't want the solvent to be wet when applying the carpet.
Step Five- Carpet Application
Start with the top corner at the front of the vehicle. Attach the first 10-20cm horizontally, firmly pushing out any creases when applying with either your hand or a trim tool.
Once it is held you can start working horizontally across the van, pull the carpet in the direction you are carpeting keeping tension on the carpet as this will reduce the build-up and creases. Apply the carpet to the entire top row across the van. Once this is done you can then start working down the wall of the van. If you get any creases then quickly peel the carpet back, stretch it out and start again.
Step Six- Working The Carpet Vertically
Now start working down wall of the van (from ceiling to floor) with a similar technique to how you initially fixed the carpet. Glue and mold the carpet, moving down to the floor about 10cm at a time. Repeat this working across the van (Front to back) till you get to the rear, then move to the front of the vehicle and repeat. Use your trim tool to push the carpet into any grooves, you can apply a fair amount of pressure onto the four way stretch carpet liner without it tearing.
Step Seven- Windows
Once you’ve reached the window if you have them. Glue to the metal around the glass and to the carpet. (If your van doesn't have windows continue working the carpet in molding the carpet into the frame) Avoid gluing the glass and the carpet that is going to temporarily be over the glass as you want the carpet to be free over the window.
Keep the tension throughout. Carpet round the window frame as and when you reach working horizontally across the van. Make sure the carpet over the window has tension in it as it will make the finish around the frame to higher standard.
Step Eight- Wheel Arches
When covering wheel arches there isn't always a fixed way of carpeting, the carpet will behave slightly differently depending on the shape of the wheel arch. Start at the top of the wheel arch, glue the area and start working down and around the wheel arch.
It is the most likely place to gather creases so be patient. Use the trim tools to work into any grooves and patterns on the wheel arch. Always keep the tension in the carpet. Don’t forget it is stretched carpet so if there are any areas that it is tight you can manipulate and push the carpet into place.
Step Nine- Trimming
When using a Stanley blade do check the safety guides and how to use it correctly.
Now you’ve got to trimming. With the floor and ceiling leave an overlap of 5cm so when the floor and ceiling is installed there are no gaps between the carpet and the flooring or ceiling.
Regarding windows, cut an X in the middle of the material go in 15cm from the edge to ensure you have enough to mould around the window frame. Pull the triangular shape downwards keeping the tension and mould into the frame.
Cut the carpet around the window frame about 10cm with a Stanley blade. Glue the rest of the carpet right up to the glass. If there is a gap then you might be able to tuck the carpet in behind the panel if not then with a sharp blade trim the carpet right up to the glass.
Step Ten- Clean Up And Trim Reattaching
Now you are happy with the finish then it's time to reattach any of the plastic trim and anything else you may have removed. To clean up the excess glue, we recommend brake cleaner. Apply it to a microfiber cloth and gently remove the glue on the surface. Apply the brake cleaner to a small area first to test it doesn't react with the surface.
For a visual on how to carpet line your van then check out the Combe Valley Campers video version of this blog hosted by our own Leigh Hicks.