How to Install Heated Flooring in Your Adventure Rig

April 30, 2019 by Chris Teague

Camping in an adventure vehicle overnight can be a frigid experience, but running a space heater for extended periods of time can be dangerous as well as energy-wasting.

One of the best alternatives for year-round van lifers is to install heated flooring, a solution that can be both cost-effective and efficient. Not only does it help raise an adventure rig’s ambient temperature, but it’s also a safer method for sustained warmth.

Heated flooring does take a bit of skill and construction know-how to install, but its low energy use and toasty, barefoot-friendly feel are worth the tradeoff. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how best to go about it.

Ford Transit Connect

Regardless of whether you are going to reuse it, the original floor in your van will need to be removed before you can install heating.

Prepare the Floor

The first step is to remove nearly everything from the vehicle to get full access to the flooring. Then, strip the flooring material down to the bare metal and make sure to repair imperfections like rust or uneven spots. It’s also a good idea to treat the metal with a coat of rust inhibitor.

insulation sprinter van floor

Insulation helps retain the heat from your warmed floor. (Photo: Pete Greep, livelikepete.com)

Insulate

Before installing the heating elements or tubing, add a layer of insulation to help retain warmth. This helps direct heat upward into the living space instead of letting it escape to the ground.

Lay Out the Heating Elements

Two main types of heated flooring options are available: Hot water tubing or heating mats and cables. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing either system. Depending on the size of a vehicle’s flooring, different zones can be designated to gather more heat than others.

Connect the System and Run Tests

Before covering the heating elements, connect everything to a power source or heating system and test to make sure it works safely. This step assumes the rig’s power system has the capability to handle the extra load. The addition of heated flooring may require an update to the vehicle’s battery setup.

Install the Subfloor

The subfloor is usually made of plywood and is installed between the heating elements and main flooring material. This protects the heating elements below while providing a place to anchor flooring material. It’s important to focus on securing the areas holding the heating elements.

Your van’s floor will be toasty and comfortable with a heating element beneath it. (Photo: Pete Greep, livelikepete.com)

Install Flooring

Once the subfloor is in place, it’s time to install the actual floor, whether that’s the old floor that was ripped out or new flooring material. When picking out a new floor, be sure it’s lightweight and thin enough to allow the heat to permeate.

Put Everything Back in Place

The final step is placing all furniture and other equipment back in place. Make sure any anchoring takes into account the heating elements beneath the floor.

Chris Teague February 6, 2019
Properly outfitting your camper van keeps you safe, happy and productive while on the move. Here is a list of essential gear every van dweller should pack along before hitting the open road.

One Response

  1. Protective Packaging

    This is a good step-by-step guide. Definitely install the heating elements or tubing to add a layer of insulation to help retain warmth. This helps direct heat upward into the living space instead of letting it escape to the ground.

    Reply

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