Van building – Week 1

The goal for the week was to finish the insulation so the time was mostly spent working on the puzzle (literally) of insulation. Stiina’s dad could supply us with leftover pieces of rigid polystyrene insulating foam which we used for the bulk of our insulation. To glue the pieces in place, keep them together and fill in hard-to-access places we used polyurethane spray foam. This combination of the two foams worked great and allowed us to piece together all the gaps in the walls and doors, creating more or less straight surfaces on which we would later on glue the plywood or wood panelling.

The van walls are such that it slightly curves in three places, being widest at the bottom and narrowest at the ceiling, making it slightly more challenging to make an even surface. Usually after piecing a section together we added a support plate with a support beam to keep the freshly glued pieces in place while the spray foam hardened.

In order to insulate the roof we attached (with screws and glue) three flat plywood sections that fit in the three recesses on the “roof-ribs”. They created a flat surface that would be our guideline for insulating the roof – all we had to do was cut the pieces and fill in the gaps.

Next we cut the holes for the side window, roof window and the ventilator. It was a weekend so besides Peep our friend Rauno also joined on this project and loaned us a helping hand. After the holes were cut the side window and the ventilator were fully glued in place. We sealed all these three holes two times to make sure they were properly waterproof. For the roof window only the frame was glued in place as there is no need to place in the window yet.

For glueing the insulation on the ceiling we used the same method as for the walls: we used some leftover plywood plates with some leftover plywood sticks to keep everything in place while the spray foam hardened. The insulation puzzle was a bit time consuming, which we expected it to be, but piece by piece things were coming along and we could see progress happening,which kept us motivated.

Towards the end of the week we glued plywood flooring on the back part of the van. The back floor is 30mm lower due to less insulation because it will be our large storage room under the bed (essentially a cold room). Additionally we had to order the decorative wooden wall planks so we made a mock-up of the bed in order to get the necessary measurements.

And last but not least we had a slight challenge due to the shape of a plate that we needed to cut. It was the front cover wall that separates the cabin from the back of the van. We chose to not have a direct access to the back of the van through the cabin in order to use that space for kitchen caninets. Our technical knowledge came in handy and the measuring & drawing skill allowed us to cut a perfectly fitting plate into which we added two windows: one for the access to the over storage above the cabin and another to peek into the cabin and the front of the van. However, we didn’t fix the plate in the place yet as we still had to finish insulating and covering with plywood and felt the storage compartment above the cabin.

In the end of the first week we were very satisfied with the progress and the result.

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