We're an affiliate.
We hope you love the products/services we recommend on Just Van Life! So you know, there is the possibility we will collect a commission should you make a purchase via any of our links. This will in no way affect the purchase price. Thank you for your support, we really appreciate it!
Do you find yourself looking at the back wall of your van, with its cold, hard metal, and wonder, I wish I could cover that? Perhaps you are sick of spending nights with your head next to a cold wall?
Or maybe you want to add some coziness and comfort to your camper van conversion? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!
Installing a carpet lining on the walls of your van is a fantastic way to add some coziness and remove the cold, hard metal that currently sits there. Not only does it make the van seem more comfortable, but it will also act as an insulator, providing some warmth that you are sure to appreciate in the colder months!
To help you with this conversion, we have created a step-by-step guide to walk you through the whole process. Whether you are new to camper van conversions, or a seasoned van lover, you are sure to enjoy the results!
Installing the carpet lining isn’t overly complicated either, so be sure to leave your worries at the door and follow our guide below to add your carpet lining with ease!
How To Install Carpet Lining In Your Camper Van
To help you install your carpet lining into your camper van, we have put together a handy step-by-step guide. Simply follow the steps below to install your carpet lining with ease.
If you do run into any difficulties, be sure to check out the wealth of tutorials online or to contact a professional for more help.
Let’s get into it!
Step 1: Prepare The Van metal
The bare metal in your campervan has lots of holes that can be covered up easily. You don’t need to close these up before installing your lining, just in case you need access to them later!
You should find that the carpet lining will do a fine job of covering these holes without the need for any extra prep work. Once the carpet is installed, you shouldn’t notice these small perforations.
However, you can opt to use a closed cell foam on the van metal first if you wish. We didn’t when installing the carpet the first time, but looking back, it would have been a wise move to do this!
The closed cell foam would create a smooth surface for the carpet lining and add an additional thermal layer that would come in handy during those chillier evenings!
If you decide to use a closed cell foam beforehand, check out how to correctly install it before moving on to the next step. The rigid foam will provide not only a smooth base but act as a sound proofer too.
We recommend choosing a foam that is peel and stick, making the work even easier for you. Simply cut to size, peel the backing off, and stick down! Remember, this prep work isn’t entirely essential and whether to do so is up to you.
Step 2: Remove The Weather Stripping
To start, remove the black weatherstripping running along the edge of the van opening (by the back doors). Doing so will allow you to trim the upholstery to the correct size, and you won’t need to worry too much about how it looks.
Once replaced, the weatherstripping will conceal the transition and provide you with a more seamless look.
It’s also worth removing the door latches too. Taking them off before applying the carpet lining will make it easier than attempting to work around them and save you plenty of time faffing! Thankfully, they can be removed and installed easily, so it shouldn’t take too much time.
If you apply the foam lining before the carpet, we recommend removing the latches and weatherstripping beforehand to make your task even easier.
Step 3: CutAnd Measure The Carpet
Now that your prep work is complete and the weatherstripping removed, it’s time to cut your carpet lining to size! Lay the carpet on the floor and measure to size. You’ll need a measuring tape here to ensure you have the correct size for your van.
For our camper van, we cut a strip 12-inches wide and 6-inches tall for the left side, and then a 12-inches wide and 10-inches tall strip for the right side and top. For references, we have a high-roof transit.
The measurements for your van might be slightly different, so be sure to measure the sides and top before cutting into your lining.
As it happens, our measurements were a little off, so learn from our mistakes! Take into consideration any cabinets that you will need to work around when installing your carpet. Thankfully, we could just trim the carpet down as it was too wide, rather than being left with pieces too narrow to use!
Step 4: Use An Adhesive
Once the lining is prepped, it’s time to move on to applying adhesive. We used a spray adhesive to make the work a tad easier. Spray your adhesive directly onto the metal surface, taking care to avoid any finished surfaces if there are any in your van.
We used scraps of the carpet and some cardboard as shields and found this worked well.
Step 5: Start To Apply The Carpet
Once the van has been sprayed, use the same adhesive spray on your carpet to ensure there is a secure connection between the two. Spray the back of the carpet, which tends to be the smooth and less fuzzy side. Once sprayed, you can apply the carpet to the van straight away.
Be sure to check that your adhesive instructions allow you to do this, as some brands will have different instructions.
We started with the driver’s side of the van, thinking it would be easier and any mistakes would be less visible, but it’s up to you where you start. Apply the carpet on your chosen side, smoothing it down as you go.
Doing so will help prevent any wrinkles or bubbling while you work. It can be handy to get a second pair of hands in to help you with this; it will also speed up the process!
For us, it worked well to lightly smooth down the carpet at first and apply more pressure once all the sides of the van were wrapped. The carpet does have some forgiveness, so you can stretch it a little where needed without causing any damage to your work.
Step 6: Tidy Your Upholstery
For this, you will want a flat object like a dull blade, scissors, or screwdriver. Use the object to tuck any upholstery behind ceiling panels, wall panels, or cabinets that you have in your van.
You can do most of this on the inside, leaving roughly ⅛ of an inch of excess that needs to be tucked away for a finished look.
Where the carpet meets the weather-stripping, trim any excess material but be careful not to trim too much! If you cut more than you need away, you will be left with some patches that need to be covered, making more work for yourself.
To avoid this, it’s worth testing how much clearance is needed to avoid any potential issues. If there’s too much carpet in the way, it can push the carpet up, causing you difficulties down the line.
Leaving about ¼ inch of exposed metal caused no conflict with the carpet and didn’t expose any white metal once the weather-stripping was reinstalled. The measurements might vary depending on your van, so be sure to keep your measuring tape happy and do what is best for your camper van.
Step 7: The Inside Curve
Now, this bit can be a bit tricky, so be sure to take your time and not rush into anything! We found the best way to approach this was to cut a slit at the radius, allowing us to mold the fabric to the curve. It did leave some exposed metal, but we could fill this with a patch of the same carpet, hiding the seams well.
To ensure that you cut the right size, it’s worth using some transparent trace paper to trace the shape out and use as a template. In our van (the Ford Transit), there are cables running along the driver’s sidewall and the back of the passenger sidewall.
Now the carpet is against the white metal; these cables are far more camouflaged and could be left as they are. However, we wrapped ours in the same carpet to hide them.
Be mindful that you might need to access these cables at some point and will need to remove the carpet to do so.
Step 8: Repeat On The Other Side
Now that you’ve done one side of the van, you can repeat the above steps to place your carpet lining on the other side of your van and the top. Remember to spray both the metal and the backing of the carpet to do so successfully.
Take your time to smooth out any bumps or wrinkles and have someone help you if you require more assistance.
Step 9: Reinstall Your Latches And Weather-stripping
To finish your conversion, you will need to reinstall the door latches and your weather-stripping. You can do this easily; simply close the doors to help you locate where the hardware belongs. Next, feel around the fabric for the correct holes.
You can use a box cutter to puncture the upholstery in these locations, too, making it even easier for you to reinstall the latches! These were a little harder to locate than the weatherstripping, but once you’ve located the holes, reinstalling the latches is easy.
And just like that, we have reached the end of our van conversion journey today. As you can see, installing a carpet lining into your van doesn’t need to be a difficult task. Be sure to use our steps to guide you through the process, making adjustments where necessary to suit your van.
Remember to check out online tutorials or enlist the help of a professional if you run into any difficulties along the way. Thankfully the process isn’t too challenging, so you can enjoy the work and spend some time with your van!