Van Soundproofing: Noise Reduction in 5 Simple Steps

A friend had asked me a couple of years ago if I could help her insulate her van from noise. As informed as I am when it comes to sound insulation, many ideas came to my mind immediately. However, I wasn’t exactly sure how to help her, because I’d never insulated a van before - until then.

Of course, I did a lot of research and found an abundance of information. I determined what is the best way to do this and the results of this little project that we did in her van were amazing.

Now I want to share what I’ve learned with you since I believe there are many of you who might have a noise problem with their vehicle.

Whether you own a regular van or a camper van, there are many materials that you have to use for insulation and there is a lot of work to do, but you can easily do it all by yourself, as you’ll see. The easiest way to do this is to apply a sound deadening panel and then use some insulation over the top.

van noise reduction

Let me walk you through the steps:

Van Soundproofing in 5 Simple Steps

Step 1. Clean the Van

Of course, the first thing you need to do is clean your van. Get your gloves on, get some chemicals and rub off all the dirt and grease. Remove everything from the van and make sure that it’s dry before you start working.

Step 2. Install Sound Deadener

Secondly, you will need to insulate the sides of the van, the roof, and the doors. Luckily, all you need for this is a sound deadening mat, which can be easily purchased in any store with insulation equipment or on Amazon or eBay.

According to customer reviews, Noico Sound deadening mat is by far your best choice. It costs under $65, which might sound like a lot to you, but if you invest your money in a quality mat, you’ll certainly have no more trouble with the noise.

Once you’ve bought the mat, you have to apply it on the metal panels of your van which are usually on the sides, roof and the doors. You will get the best results if you cover the outer panels as well.

You can also use it on the floor if you wish so.

  • For a typical short wheel based van, you will need approximately 4 to 8 sq.m of sound deadening
  • For a typical long wheel based van, you will need approximately 8 to 12 sq.m of sound deadening

We have compared some of the best automotive sound deadening mats here:

Step 3. Install Closed Cell Foam

The next thing you’ll need is closed cell foam liner. It does a great job of providing both sound and thermal insulation, so it’s ideal for your situation.

It’s waterproof, so it can also serve as a moisture barrier.

So, once you’ve found a good closed cell foam product (like this), all you have to do is apply it to the metal panels, which will be quite easy, since they are self-adhesive and practical to work with.

Of course, before applying the product, it’s very important to measure the surface that you want to cover in order to determine how much foam you’ll need.

  • For a short wheelbase van you will need approximately 10 sq.m of insulation
  • For a long wheelbase van you will need approximately 15 to 20 sq.m of insulation

Step 4. Thermal Insulation 

This step is particularly important for those of you who own a big camper van because such vans require high-quality insulation since you’ll want to have your silence while traveling.

You’ll need to get yourself some thermal fleece and insert it into the foam liner for better insulation.

This will help immensely to prevent the noise and to prevent the cold from coming into the van, which will enable you to go to places such as Alaska in the middle of winter if you wish so and not worry about being cold and bothered by the noise.

campervan soundproofing

Step 5. Insulating the Floor

The next thing you’ll have to do if you really want to do this project successfully is to insulate the floor.

You have an advantage here since all you’ll need for this insulation is closed cell foam which you’ll have purchased already for step two. Just apply a layer of foam to the floor and voila – the job is done.

However, if you really want to go all the way, there is one more option. You can add an additional dense sound barrier.

This will significantly help in reducing the noise from the road, tires and similar noises. Of course, make sure to measure the floor first in order to determine precisely just how much material you’ll need for this.

  • For a typical short wheeled base van, you will need approximately 4 sq.m of flooring
  • For a typical long wheelbase van you will need approximately 6 sq.m of flooring

What to Avoid

While researching, I’ve come across some quite wrong information about van noise reduction all over the Internet.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place – you know I wouldn’t offer you any advice for something I would never do myself.

van soundproofing

Now I want to give you some advice on what not do to. If you read this and act according to what you’ve read, I guarantee you that you will have no problems with your sound insulation project.

  • Do not buy products that promise that they can solve all the noise problems once you’ve applied them. Most of the time these products are of low quality because there is no way that one product can solve the complex issues with van noises that can only be solved with multiple layers of different insulation materials.
  • Don’t use flashing tape! Flashing tape consists of bitumen (the same material that’s used for making concrete) and it degrades quickly because it is very sensitive to the temperature changes, and you know that those are very common in vehicles.
  • Don’t use foil bubble wrap! Yes, it may be quite inexpensive and many people recommend it, but it is basically useless when it comes to isolation both in terms of thermal isolation and sound isolation, so you should definitely avoid using it for this purpose.
  • Don’t use glass fiber! This material, besides the fact that it’s very toxic and dangerous to work with, is very sensitive to moisture and it absorbs it quite quickly. This is not the safest option, especially if there’s some condensation in your van.

Final Verdict: On Van Noise Reduction

All in all, soundproofing your van is no easy task, but if you’re well informed and know exactly what to do, you’ll have no trouble doing it, even if you’ve had no previous experience with soundproofing anything on your own.

Of course, if you feel like this is a bit too much for you, you can always call a professional.

By following the steps I provided you with, not only will you be impressed with the results, but you’ll also have fun while doing it.

Also, make sure to remember what to avoid when soundproofing the van. There is too much of the wrong information all over the Internet and I don’t want you to fall for it.

I am very hopeful that my advice will help you, as it has helped my friend and many people after her. Good luck!