Converting a van into a comfortable home on wheels can be a challenge. Vans weren’t essentially built to become campers, so there is a great deal details that needs to go into a camper conversion project. One of these is soundproofing.
To understand what is needed to soundproof a camper, first you’ll need to know what sound you’re trying to stop, which is:
- Vibrating panels
- Engine noise
- Road noise
Silencing vibrating panels
Firstly, when you’re driving or idling, the panels in your van vibrate, causing a lot of noise. This can be addressed by adding sound deadening panels to your doors, walls and any metal parts that might vibrate.
This work by adding mass to the panels of your van, which reduces structural resonance and absorb vibrations, which is the cause of the noise.
I opted for Silent Coat sound deadening tiles [Amazon UK] [Amazon US] [Amazon DE], which are self adhesive tiles that you stick on the panels of your van. You only need 50% coverage to greatly reduce the vibrations of your van’s walls and doors, so a pack of these will go a long way.
For my van, I used one box of these for all the walls as well as inside the doors, which reduces the noise substantially.
Have a look at the two videos below to hear the difference:
Reducing engine and road noise
I was so impressed with the result, that I got myself another box, and stuck it down in the footwell of the cab, where a lot of vibration was taking place due to the engine. In the footwell I did nearly 100% coverage.
After sticking these down, I put the original foam backed rubber mat back into the cab, which also helps reduce the noise a bit.
How to apply
These panels are self adhesive, so all you need to do is remove the film on the back of the tiles and stick them down. However, unless you’re applying these tiles on a hot day, it might be tricky to stick and shape them to the curves of your van.
Use a heat gun or even a hairdryer to heat up the tiles before removing the film and sticking then to your van. Heating them up makes them stick better and allows you to shape them easier.
there is also a special roller you can get to apply these panels, but I didn’t bother getting one. I just used a glass bottle to roll over the tiles making sure they stick properly, which worked fine.
After fitting these Silent Coat sound deadening tiles [Amazon UK] [Amazon US] [Amazon DE], there was a substantial reduction in noise inside my van. We can now hear each other talk and listen to the radio, which was nearly impossible before. Result!
Although I’m happy with the soundproofing these tiles provided, I can’t help but thinking “how much quieter can it get”, so if I was to add even more soundproofing to my van, I would probably get the Silent Coat Under bonnet noise buffler (Amazon UK) to further reduce engine noise through the bonnet and engine bay as well as some closed cell foam (Amazon UK) for the wheel arches and steps, where some tyre noise is still coming through. I might upgrade to this at a later date.
Or, if you’d like to share your experience in soundproofing your van, including the products you’ve used, please leave us a comment below.