We've all seen amazing campervans with a warm, welcoming homely feel. A lot goes into them, but one of the key ways they achieve this is using cladding to swap out dull interior walls for a rustic log cabin feel. Or they spruce them up with a lick of paint for a sleek, modern aesthetic. And you can do the same with your van too. Here's how…
What You'll Need
Before you dive into revamping your van, here's what you're going to need;
- Timber tongue and groove cladding
- Wooden battens (12mm and 25mm)
- Automotive carpet
- Adhesive spray
- Mitre saw
- Hole saw(s)
- Cladding Clips (optional)
Build a substructure
Before you start attaching the cladding, there's some prep work you'll need to do. You're going to want to build a wooden substructure. This is what you'll be attaching the cladding to. To create this frame, attach flexible wooden batten to the interior of the campervan walls at regular intervals by screwing them into the van's metal pillars.
You can frame your van windows too. For this, use thicker battens. However, you may prefer to carpet the edges instead. We'll look at this in more detail in the next section. Either option is great. Carpeted edges may let in a bit more light, but the choice mostly comes down to personal preference.
Place the battens around your windows to create the frame for your windows. To secure these in place, do not attach them to the van walls. The wall around the windows is often thin and not flat. This makes it hard to screw them in and risks piercing the wall entirely and drilling through the other side. Instead, slightly overlap the thinner battens used for framing the wall with the window and frame. To secure the window frame in place, mount it to these battens.
Carpeting Door and Window Edges
Once you've finished framing, you may find a few awkwardly shaped or hard-to-reach areas of the van you won't be cladding. This includes your windows if you decide not to frame them. You'll use automotive carpets to cover these areas. The main area you will be carpeting is the edges of your doors (and windows if you choose to), as these are the most visible areas that you won't be able to clad. For a clean finish, slightly took the carpet under the door seals. Be mindful not to put too much carpet under the seals, as this will cause them to bulge and lead to leaks. You can attach the carpet with spray glue.
Cladding Your Campervan
With the prep work out the way, it's time for the fun bit, cladding your van. This is where everything will start to come together, and you'll begin seeing the cool new look you're striving for. Cladding the van is fairly straightforward (although a second pair of hands is recommended).
Choosing Cladding Clips or Screws
Before you start, you'll want to decide whether to use cladding clips or not. Using them will mean no visible screws but using them is definitely more work. It's up to you whether the lack of visible screws is worth it. If you plan to paint over the cladding, screws are likely the best option, as you can paint over them to hide them.
Cladding Your Van Walls
Once you've decided can begin to clad your van. Start by cutting your cladding to the correct length. Then, attach your cladding to the wall (and doors). Begin at the bottom of where you are cladding to and work your way up. You can use a jigsaw to make the cuts necessary to work around switches. For accurate cuts, hold the cladding in place and mark where the cuts are needed for switches and sockets first.
Cladding Your Van Ceiling
Once the walls a completed, you can clad the ceiling. If you use cladding clips, it's best to start at one end and work across. Whether you use clips or screws, you will need to cut holes for skylights, lights and vents. For this, use a hole saw before attaching the cladding.
Cladding Products You Will Love
At Cladding Mate, we have a comprehensive range of tools for all your cladding projects. We've covered you with a full range of cordless drills, panel cutters, vacuum lifters, and more. Whether you're an avid DIYer needing the perfect tools or an industry professional looking for the best in cladding handling equipment, we've got what you're looking for.
Some More Great Reads On Cladding
Check out the rest of the blog if you found this guide helpful. It's filled with great cladding guides and tips. We offer everything from cladding tool guides such as "A GUIDE TO ROOF CLAMPS" to help with other fun DIY projects like "HOW TO CLAD YOUR SHED & SOME IDEAS FOR IT".