Insulating and soundproofing

Insulating and soundproofing

After the pop-top was installed we were on our own to convert the rest of the van into the deluxe birding mobile. We had to start from square one however because the van was completely empty when we bought it. I mean empty, no insulation, no floor, no headliner, no walls, nada. We spent over one month just installing insulation, sound proofing, walls, and flooring. To sound proof the van we applied Dynamat to key areas throughout the van to dampen vibrations. We placed dynamat on the floors, door panels, walls, wheel wells, and any areas were we could noticeably hear a pinging sound when we tapped the body of the van. We ended up using three to four boxes of Dynamat to dampen sound throughout the van.

Once we finished applying Dynamat we needed to figure out what to do with the floor. The ribs in the floor of the van presented a problem because the ridges would cause whatever material we used for flooring to not lay correctly. We found a random roll of closed cell foam in the plumbing isle at Home Depot that happened to be just the right size. We cut strips of the closed cell foam and glued them into the ribs using 3M 80 Spray Glue. Now that the van floor was nearly even we put mass loaded vinyl on the floor of the van to provide insulation and sound proofing. Luckily we were able to purchase mass loaded vinyl from a local company here in San Diego that specializes in soundproofing (Super Soundproofing Company). Mass loaded vinyl is heavy but the dual insulation and sound proofing is worth it. We covered the entire floor of the van with mass loaded vinyl and sealed the seams with lead tape to ensure a complete sound barrier.

We also insulated the walls as best we could with a proprietary insulation material that we happened to come across. Sorry we are not allowed to share our source because the material is not available for retail sale. If you are building your own van insulation is critical and choosing the right material can be frustrating. Whatever you choose look for something that has good insulative properties and that will not absorb moisture. We shoved insulation up between the body of the van and the interior walls as well as gaps in door columns and other spaces. Next we covered the walls with closed-cell foam again to provide insulation and sound proofing. We purchased a roll of closed-cell foam from the same sound proofing company. All of the closed-cell foam material was adhered using 3m 80 Spray Glue. We also insulated and sound proofed key areas in the van especially the dog house. We covered the inside of the dog house cover with mass loaded vinyl and let me tell you that really made a difference.

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