Make your van soundproofing seem like child's play! 3 easy methods to choose from
Vans are great vehicles because they are so versatile. You might be thinking of overhauling your van to turn it into a campervan. Or you might be looking at updating your van to a big storage shed on wheels for construction tools. Or it could just be a regular family van.
Regardless of what type of van you have or what you are using it for, one thing is for sure: you want it to be quiet.
I have a friend who traveled cross country with his girlfriend in his VW Caddy van and he knew that hours of driving on the road and hours sleeping in it would really get to him if it wasn’t quiet.
The same goes for anyone who uses their van on regular basis, or even for work. My friend one day asked me, How do you soundproof a van?
I knew you could soundproof a car, so I had some ideas.
However, I did some research first. Below I will share with you the strategies that I found for soundproofing your van, insulating your doors and floor, and reducing road noise.
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Why and Who’s this for?
Vans perform somewhat differently from regular cars. They always seem to emit more noise than usual which can cause annoyances while driving.
You might be using a van for your regular commute, or maybe you are someone pursuing the van life.
The bottomline is, you do not wish to deal with excessive noise during your drives.
Also, you do not need to have specialized skills in order to carry out this project, as it is meant to be beginner friendly and not burn a huge hole in your pocket.
Still reading? Let’s check out the equipment that you need.
Equipment/tools that you will use in this project
The tools that you will for this project are quite basic and you probably own most of them. I do have my own favorites too which I will share in the sections down below. Here’s a quick look at what you will need:
- Utility Knife: This multipurpose knife is useful in many situations, in particular when you need to cut up thick rubber matting in your van.
- Gloves: To be on the safe side, I prefer to put on gloves when working on projects that involve sharp objects. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Adhesive Tape: You will find that many of the items you will use in this project comes with self adhesive tape, but not all. In such cases, it is better to be armed with a roll so that you won’t get caught out when you need one.
- Screwdriver: Pretty much a standard tool to have for most projects. Keep one handy.
What are areas in a van to soundproof?
There are a few effective strategies to look at for van soundproofing.
Most of the noise in your van reaches you in specific ways and below we will discuss the different areas you can apply sound insulation to remedy these situations.
- Van Doors: Many van doors are not well sealed or insulated. We can fix that.
- Flooring/Roofing: Road noise comes up through the van’s floor. The van floor is not as thick as you might think it is and some extra padding goes a long way.
- Underside of the van: Not only can you insulate the floor inside the van, there are things you can do outside, under the van to dampen sound.
1. Van Doors
Depending on the design of your car doors, this may be as simple as the flooring, or it may be a little more complex.
If you just have raw aluminium on the doors, then just apply the matting to the doors in the same way you installed it on the floors.
If you want to preserve the look of the interior of the doors, you will want to remove the interior panel in order to put the matting inside the door.
- You will first need to remove a few items, namely the door handle, latch and any coverings. Be sure to read and follow the instructions provided in your car owner’s manual. This step mostly involves unscrewing a few screws only. Prepare a cup or container to store all the screws in one spot.
- Remove the door panel after unscrewing by using a flathead screwdriver. Be careful not to damage the edges.
- At this point, I would recommend that you take a bunch of photos of the insides of the door. This is in case you remove other parts and you need a reference to put them back.
- Remove speaker if there is one.
- From here, you can take away any foam or wraps left in there. They will be put back later on.
- Start cleaning the dust and dirt away. You can start by using a compressed air spray and follow that up with a damp wet cloth. Allow it to dry.
- Before applying the mats, you need to measure the size of your door interior wall so that the mat fits. This step can be a bit tricky as you need to cut holes in places where wiring or any other parts protrude out.
- Apply the same technique on the panel that you have removed.
- Once the mats have been installed, it is time to put back everything in the same place as before. Remember to use the pictures you have taken for reference.
The vast majority of the road noise in the van comes in from below your feet and through the back door.
The good news is that the van floor is easiest to work on. There are several products you can place on your van floors) to cut down on sound.
The easiest thing to do is put down some heavy sound deadening blankets in the open back flooring space.
These are moving blankets and are tough and well-padded. They will help insulate the flooring, protect it, and cut down any noise coming up through it.
The next stage in soundproofing the floor involves laying down insulating or butyl mats. Although they are called mats but these products are very thin.
They’re made of soundproofing rubber and have an adhesive to get them to stick to your flooring. As an added bonus they will help insulate your van, which is particularly nice if you are in there all day, or if you are sleeping in it.
Here’s what you should do:
- Clean your van. Not matter what state your van is in, clean it. These materials are designed to stick directly to the paneling and flooring inside your van. Dirt, grime, or any type of build-up will interfere with that and may even cut down on soundproofing. Let the van dry completely before working on it.
- Measure your floor spacing. You will want to cut the mats to fit tightly along the edges of the floor to prevent any gaps. Gaps are places where sound will come up through the floor. Keep in mind your flooring has things like ridges and wheel wells so measure and cut the matting to be longer than your measurements – shaping to the ridges and other patterns in the van will shorten the length of your mat.
- Laying it down: Remove the adhesive backing of the mat and lay it down.
- Seal it: Seal the edges of the mat with your silver tape.
- Check it: Make sure the mats are securely adhered to the van floor to prevent sound leakage. They will greatly cut down on vibrations and therefore make the van quieter.
3. Underside of your van
The work that you have done so far takes care of the interior of the vehicle. While that is highly effective, you can take it a step further by soundproofing the underside of the van as well as the wheel wells.
You can certainly try to use the soundproofing mats for this part of the van, but I would recommend an alternative: sound deadening sprays.
This is a common and effective soundproof material that lots of people (even professionals) opt to use in these out of reach spots.
They are basically sprays that creates a heavy insulation layer below your van and its sound dampening properties help in reducing sounds and vibrations. It also has the extra benefit of preventing corrosion and rust.
Before you start using, you should give the undercarriage and wheel wells a good wash and let them dry out.
How to soundproof your van: Conclusion
All of the methods above can help you reduce noise in your van on its own, but they work best when combined together.
I hope this article has helped you in creating a more peaceful drive experience in your van.
Before you go, be sure to check out some other projects you can do at home too.