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Discussion Starter #1
I just got back from Lowes to source flooring supplies. I wasn't exactly sure how I wanted to do my floor and decided that I'd let the supplies sort of tell me since there is a limited amount of supplies that are available on the shelf. My first thought (which isn't what I bought today) was to do the following:

3/8 " closed cell foam in valleys
1" PolyIso in grid pattern furring strips
1/2" plywood
Vinyl

But... After moving like, 30 sheets of 1/2" ply looking for flat ones I gave up. That plan wasn't jiving with available supply. Furthermore, any furring material I saw was a different thickness than the foam board (both 1/2 and 1"). Thats fine, I sort of knew to expect that. Over the years I have used a circular saw in place of a table saw and so I don't have a table saw to make my own furring strips. I can fashion a guide to make a few with the circular saw, but I don't want to rip a ton of boards. So....I cobbled together a new plan based on materials available.

3/8" closed cell foam in valleys
1/2" XPS
3/4 " hardwood maple ply. This stuff is pricey but dry, flat and dense. I sort of built my whole plan around this ply.
Vinyl

The biggest change up in my plan is that I'm moving away from a furring grid to a XPS foam board sandwich, utilizing furring strips along the walls, in the slider and along the bulkhead. As for the rest of the floor, I'm hoping I can use the rigidity of 3/4" ply to avoid excessive foam board compression. Looking at the layout, I'm leaning toward using the tie downs combined with custom brackets and then bolt through the floor in selective spots to secure and level the plywood. The corner stone of this plan is this dead straight hard maple ply I found. It looks like it wants to be a good floor.

Am I being naive with my thinking that I can bolt down a sandwich of 3/8" closed cell, 1/2" XPS and 3/4" plywood as a long term solution for a full build out? If you have advice for me tell me now before I do something stoopid. 馃榾
 

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3/4 ply for the floor is complete overkill. Covering hardwood ply with vinyl is criminal. It shouldn't matter that the 1/2 ply isn't perfectly flat, as it should be adequately screwed down to some furring strips. My advice is to re-think this and solve your furring strip problem.
 

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If I ever get around to building out a van this is how I'm going to do it. I am a retired carpenter. Whatever insulation you use under the plywood make sure it is water resistant. Dow Blue Board is used on exterior foundation walls regularly and is very dense. Use low expansion foam glue to put the strips down between the ribs and the next full layer of Styrofoam and the plywood. After this foam glue sets up it is permanent.

Wood furring strips are unnecessary and lower the R value. Yes, 3/4 ply is overkill.

The Blue Board and the pink stuff is very dense and will not compress. I haven't had much experience with the XPS but with a quick search I found that it is mainly used on roofs and walls. I would stay away from that.

Why are you bolting the floor down? If you have specific things you need to anchor like motorcycles or car seats lay them out before gluing the plywood down and make anchor points that are solid and extend under the floor of the truck. Other than that I cannot imagine cabinets ever coming loose if they are screwed to the plywood floor and the wall. Use a vapor barrier between the plywood and the finish floor if it is not a continuous vinyl sheet. Caulk the edges if you think moisture or water is going to be that big of an issue.

Sound will be transmitted through the bolts more readily than the syrofoam if that is an issue for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
3/4 ply for the floor is complete overkill. Covering hardwood ply with vinyl is criminal. It shouldn't matter that the 1/2 ply isn't perfectly flat, as it should be adequately screwed down to some furring strips. My advice is to re-think this and solve your furring strip problem.
Thanks for the input and advice. I'm definitely thinking it through and appreciate your help! I know this is mostly a mostly "all roads lead to Rome" type situation. I'm trying to weigh pros and cons. I've done a ton of home remodeling and maintenance and my experience and common sense is making me think my plan isn't a horrible one.... I've never done a van floor before though, so most of you have real life experience backing up your opinions that I don't.

The 3/4" bolted through the floor with the XPS provides a thermal break and the thick wood provides rigidity. I don't think I'm WAY off the rails here, but I have no problem reworking my plan if I'm not designing a good one. As I mentioned, I will have furring strips along the edges. Just not in a grid pattern in the middle.

As for the hardwood ply, I hear ya. It was just the best wood they had. Everything else was crap. There was a $20 per sheet difference between this product and wet, warped ply. Seemed like a no brainer.

I'll load it all back up in the van and send it back to Lowes if my plan sucks. Plan A was my first choice right up until it wasn't. So I'm still very open to all viewpoints. I'm not convinced of that yet, but I'm all ears.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If I ever get around to building out a van this is how I'm going to do it. I am a retired carpenter. Whatever insulation you use under the plywood make sure it is water resistant. Dow Blue Board is used on exterior foundation walls regularly and is very dense. Use low expansion foam glue to put the strips down between the ribs and the next full layer of Styrofoam and the plywood. After this foam glue sets up it is permanent.

Wood furring strips are unnecessary and lower the R value. Yes, 3/4 ply is overkill.

The Blue Board and the pink stuff is very dense and will not compress. I haven't had much experience with the XPS but with a quick search I found that it is mainly used on roofs and walls. I would stay away from that.

Why are you bolting the floor down? If you have specific things you need to anchor like motorcycles or car seats lay them out before gluing the plywood down and make anchor points that are solid and extend under the floor of the truck. Other than that I cannot imagine cabinets ever coming loose if they are screwed to the plywood floor and the wall. Use a vapor barrier between the plywood and the finish floor if it is not a continuous vinyl sheet. Caulk the edges if you think moisture or water is going to be that big of an issue.

Sound will be transmitted through the bolts more readily than the syrofoam if that is an issue for you.
"If I ever get around to building out a van this is how I'm going to do it.", which way specifically?

More good advice, thank you. My plan was to do the floor tomorrow. The 3/8" closed cell is cut and fitted but not glued yet. While I'm eager to get stuff done, it needs to be done correctly. I have no problem with slowing down rethinking my plan to get it right. It is surprising how few choices Lowes has in insulation. The XPS was the only choice in anything 1/2"ish. I may need to investigate other contractor supply chains.
 

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I didn't use plywood at all on my floor. I used 1/2" XPS foam between the ribs, 1/4" XPS on top of the ribs, threw in a layer of EZ-Cool, then used 8mm COREtec Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) click & lock flooring. We've been very pleased with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Man o man, some great input here. The fact that nobody is in agreement about a system yet indicates to me that indeed, maybe all roads DO lead to Rome.
 

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The XPS was the only choice in anything 1/2"ish. I may need to investigate other contractor supply chains.
Dow XPS is commonly called as blueboard. That what I believe @WhereDoIgoFromHere is referring to. Their brand name for it is Styrofoam. To add further confusion EPS is often trivially referred to as styrofoam which it is not (ie cheap throwaway coolers, protective packaging). Other manufacturers of XPS have their own brand names and colors. XPS is also available in different densities. The higher the density, the greater the compressive strength. In the case of the pink Owens Corning stuff, strengths from 15psi to 100psi are manufactured, 15psi and 25psi are commonly available in at retail in various thicknesses. The higher strength material is less common and does not come in as wide arrange of thicknesses. It can sometimes be found stocked at roofing supply dealers.
 

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Man o man, some great input here. The fact that nobody is in agreement about a system yet indicates to me that indeed, maybe all roads DO lead to Rome.
LOL!

To further elaborate on our set-up, we wanted to minimize the weight in our build. The 8mm flooring has a lot of "structure" by itself, which is the whole idea behind a subfloor to begin with. If it hadn't performed how we had hoped, I could pull it out and add plywood. We don't intend to do that. It all boils down to the specific flooring we used, though. Thinner flooring without the structural stiffness likely wouldn't produce the same result.

Craig
 

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Quality materials are key for less aggravation and effort. I totally understand about the lack of flat construction grade ply, especially from big box building supply stores. Find a hardwood/woodworker store that carries ply if you want flat; you'll spend a bit more for 3/8 Birch but it won't have voids and it will be flat. Heck, splurge and get Zebrawood or Teak and just put a clearcoat on it, or buy the pre-finished stuff. 3/4" pre-finished Sapele is about $120 a sheet at my local woodworker store (McBeaths).

You can rent a tablesaw for less than $40 a day at most places.
 
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I just finished the exact same lay up. I originally intended to use 1/2" ply and 3/4" XPS but since I couldn't find 3/4" XPS I went with 3/4" plywood. I used 3/4" baltic birch because much of my framework will be secured with threaded inserts into the plywood. I paid $62 for 4x8 and $47 for 5x5 sheets from the lumber wholesaler, it was cheaper than the crap plywood at Home Depot. Not sure what it is like in the states, but here you cannot buy good quality building materials from the big box stores, check the stamps it's grade #2 at best, buy your materials from an actual lumber yard!
So far I have not secured it as my plan it to dry fit everything first before I commit to permanent fastening. I 3-D printed some fasteners that fit into the square holes along the base of the walls and hold the floor down - so far so good, they may even stay permanently.
 

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Quality materials are key for less aggravation and effort.
The "Profit of Tolerance" was right on this one
"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"
Of course he also said
"Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship."

BTW - for those that have never been there, I recommend the a visit to the Franklin Institute in the "City of Brotherly Love". especially if you have kids or are still a kid at heart. I actually spent an overnight "camping" in the Hall of Automation there (way back when with the Cub Scouts).
 

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I used the 1/2鈥 foil faced insulation cut to fit in the grooves. Then three sheets laid east to west.

On top of that I used 5鈥 X 5鈥 3/8鈥 (as recommended in the 2015 BEEM) Baltic Birch that I bought at my local WoodCraft in Boise. I trimmed off some from one sheet and joined it with 2鈥 half lap joints (router) and west system epoxy. After cured I coated what would be the bottom of the floor with west system epoxy, as well as a liberal coating (which gets sucked into the end grain plywood) on what would later become the edges of the monolithic floor.

After cured I had two sheets wide enough for the van. I then used 2鈥 half lap joints between the sheets, temporarily joined with screws, laying flat on the driveway. The ~1 foot wide added pieces were alternated left and right. Next I placed the OEM floor mat upside down on the plywood 鈥榝loor鈥 and carefully traced the outline. Next I cut each individual piece with a jigsaw while on a work table. I placed the front and rear piece of 鈥榝loor鈥 in the van. Then I laid the center piece on top, glueing the lap joints with the west system epoxy. Temporary screws were placed to act as 鈥榗lamps鈥. Once cured I had a monolithic floor in place.

Since I was soon to move across country, I laid the mat on top. The monolithic floor can be removed out the back doors with the help of a friend or two and the factory mat can be laid under the wood floor for added noise deadening and insulation.

 

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Tangential comment:
OMG construction plywood is SO expensive right now!
Here, 1/2" OSB sheathing is $30! $30! It's normally $12-15. CDX real plywood is $5 more, normally $15-20.
I was going to use ABX for this windscreen wall project anyway, but it was literally the same price as the crappy CDX.
145090


BTW; the deck of the stage is 3/4" Hydrotek, which is $150 a sheet in normal times. That's $12k of plywood, right there.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, what I'm hearing is that there are some differing opinions, but some have done what I plan to do with success. I'm considering buying a router to properly join my plywood sheets as a value added measure. I LOVE that people are questioning the need to bolt it all down. So now I'm wondering if I join the sheets well if I can just float it.
 

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The 2015 BEEM Recommended 3/8鈥 ply. I chose Baltic Birch (5ply) because it is superiority the crap in the big box stores. There are several 鈥榥o drill鈥 zones (BEEM) in the tranny floor. If your camper structures are attached to the walls, you may not need to attach to the floor. I used to know the weight difference between 3/8 and 3/4 ply, but that info is just not accessible any more.
 

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The 2015 BEEM Recommended 3/8鈥 ply. I chose Baltic Birch (5ply) because it is superiority the crap in the big box stores. There are several 鈥榥o drill鈥 zones (BEEM) in the tranny floor. If your camper structures are attached to the walls, you may not need to attach to the floor. I used to know the weight difference between 3/8 and 3/4 ply, but that info is just not accessible any more.
Probably around 25lbs per 4'x8' sheet/32 square feet.

All these little changes to slightly lighter materials add up to 100s of pounds for the whole build.
 

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What I did for a floor:

Floor | Orton Travel Transit (ortontransit.info)

If I built another conversion I would build the floor the same way. The 80/20 floor framework is the base for the cabinets. All the cabinets are bolted to the floor and to each other to create one large framework. Do not care to crash test it but doubt that anything would come loose.
 

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I used 3/4 Marine grade plywood and I used biscuits to joint them and I also used counter top joint connectors. I also bolted it to the van floor. I've seen a lot of people put the seam down the middle, mine went from side to side.
What is the main reason people are concerned about the weight? Is it mileage? If gas goes back to $4.00 I might regret the extra weight!!
I'd rather have a solid built van than worry about the weight or gas mileage.
This is my first van build but I think I'd do it the same again, my floor is very solid!!

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I did eventually paint the edged!!
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I bolted it to the floor
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