Have you ever been woken in the middle of the night to a loud noise? It’s not a pleasant experience. Living or sleeping in a van will make noises around you easier to hear and harder to get rid of. It’s important to figure out how to make a soundproof van, so that you can have peaceful days and nights.
Sound dampening reduces the sounds coming into the van and coming out of the van. Cargo Vans are primarily made of sheet metal that vibrates when it moves, creating a lot of noise while driving. We have lived in our van for 6 months and we are pretty happy with the amount of noise in our van! I have outlined how to soundproof your van below!
* Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase using my link at no additional cost for you.
Table of Contents
Guide to a Soundproof Van
Sound Deadening Options
Butyl Rubber Sheets
Use lightweight adhesive butyl sheets (ex. Kilmat or Fatmat) to sound deaden your van. They are inexpensive and easy to use, making them very popular for van conversions. They don’t provide any insulation, so will need to use another material to insulate the van.
Closed cell foam is easily adhered to the sides of the van and is a great material for Sound dampening. This has a pretty high R level, which is the measure of how well a material can keep the heat from coming in or leaving a vehicle. It’s also waterproof, so it’s a fantastic material to use for insulation and sound dampening.
Some people rely on their insulation materials like Havelock Wool/Vinyl to help reduce sounds. People often use materials like Vinyl and Havelock wool to keep their van insulated and these have sound dampening effects as well. Although, they won’t be as effective if you don’t use other materials to sound dampen them as well.
- Kilmat or Other Adhesive: We chose Kilmat due to its price and ease of use.
- Sound Deadening Roller – To make sure the mats are fully adhered to the van’s walls.
- Utility Knife – To cut the strips of Kilmat to size. Make sure you have a surface to cut them on (we just used the cardboard from the Kilmat package).
- Cleaning Spray and Rags- Use any sort of cleaner to get all of the dirt and grease off the cars panels.
Steps to Soundproof Your Van
#1. Clean Your Van
The very first step to sound dampen your van is to clean all of the surfaces that you are going to cover. Grease, dirt, and other materials can inhibit the materials from adhering to the car. You don’t want to start driving your van around and then have your mats start to slowly fall off. We used a simple all-purpose cleaner and some old rags to clean off the surfaces. Once they’re dry you can move to the next step!
#2. Cut and Measure Materials
You’ll need to start by prepping sheets to put on the car. We used a sharp blade to cut the panels into strips for the roof and miscellaneous spots. You don’t need to fully cover every surface of the van in order to sound proof it. You can cover anywhere from 30-50% of each panel to reduce the sound of the car. We used full sheets on the wall panels. (Pro-tip: the box the the kilmat comes in can be used a a great cutting surface)
#3. Stick Kilmat to Walls & Ceiling
When you’ve finished cutting materials, you can start putting the sheets on the surfaces you want to cover. Make sure to be careful when you press it down so that there are no bumps or folds in the material. It should lay flat on the surface, to prevent vibrations.
#4. Roll as you Go
After placing the mats on the surfaces, you have to roll them flat down on the panels. This makes sure that the material bonds and adheres to the surface. The mats start out with a boxed pattern and it should be completely smooth/flat when you finish rolling. This took us more muscle than we thought it would!
#5. Cover the Wheel Well
The last step is to fully cover the wheel well. The wheel well makes the most noise, so you want to make sure that it’s entirely covered. You may have to cut pieces to fit in all sorts of shapes to make it work. This was the hardest part to figure out, but once it was covered we could tell there was a huge difference!
Time & Budget
Total Time: 4 Hours
Total Cost: $122.93
Learning how to sound dampen your van can vastly improve your experience living in the van. It didn’t take that much time or money. We had a fun time learning how to roll the mats on the van and figure out the best spots to dampen the sound. You can find out a lot more about building your van here!
Was this guide to making your van soundproof helpful? Let me know in the comments!
You can watch more on sound dampening here!