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?
You do not need to be a specialist, mechanic, or anyone else with related specialties.
With a few specific items and some basic tools, you can cut the noise quite a bit.
So, if you have a noisy van, or are frustrated with general road noise, you will find this article helpful.
Tools that you require
Now, like I said above—you don’t need to be an expert. For each of the strategies discussed below, you will need some common tools. I’ll discuss them below and give you recommendations on the best in class.
- Utility Knife: You will be cutting through heavy rubber matting. You’ll need a sharp, safe knife.
- Gloves: Dealing with the knife, adhesives, and other rough materials means you should wear work gloves.
- Adhesive Tape: While most of the items recommended below often come with adhesive on the backing, you probably want this to add an extra “seal” around the edges. Extra bonus: the tape itself will cut back on sound too.
- Screwdriver: Obviously, you want a screwdriver around for general projects. If you decide to work on your doors, you’ll want a good one.
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 do 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.
- Following the instructions of your Owner’s manual, remove your door handle, door latch, and any screw coverings—or jump right to unscrewing the door panel itself.
- Be sure to collect all the screws and anything else you remove. It’s easy to lose these little items on a cement garage floor or dark driveway.
- Once those are removed you may need to pry away the door panel – it probably won’t fall off on its own. Do this carefully, using a flathead screwdriver or something like it. If it is not working or you are not sure of what you’re doing – again check the manual.
- Set the panel aside and take some good photos of the inside of your van door, including speakers, wires, and any moving parts. You’ll want a good memory of how to reassemble anything you remove.
- If there is a speaker in your van door, carefully, remove it along with wiring.
- Your inner-door may have some protective wrap or foam. Remove it carefully because you’ll want to put it back.
- Clean the inside of your door. Dust and any other build-up could affect the adhesive mats.
- Measure your door and cut your mat to cover the interior wall. You will need to cut around any of the mechanical and moving parts to be sure you will not interfere with them. You will also need to cut around wiring and anything attached to the door such as the speaker fastenings.
- Now turn to the door panel that you removed. You can repeat the same process. Chances are this side of the door will be much simpler. In doing this you will now have double-walled insulation for the van doors!
- Re-attach anything you removed from the door such as speaker, wirings, or anything else.
- Return the wrapping or foam to the door.
- Re-attach the door frame.
The vast majority of the road noise in the van comes in from below your feet and through the back door. Luckily – your floor is also the easiest to soundproof. 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
So, you did all that work to the flooring of your van and the doors. But technically you only did one side – the inside. What about the outside?
There’s yet another area you can add sound deadening materials: the underside of the van and the wheel wells.
The easiest thing to use are sound deadening sprays.
These are heavy, insulating sprays, that often protect the underside of the van and have the added benefit of insulating against sound and vibration.
You can spray these in wheel wells and selected areas under your van.
How to soundproof your van: Conclusion
Hopefully one or more of these strategies feels right for your van.
Perhaps try one, and see how it works.
You can keep going back for more until you reach the perfect level of quiet in your van. All of the products discussed above are available online.
Hop on over to choose the products right for you.
Enjoy your camper life!