04Van Build Guide

Sprinter Van Walls & Ceiling

Step by Step Guide to the DIY approach to building your Sprinter Van

 

Summary

Time to install the walls and ceiling panels on your sprinter van (i.e. time to start covering up the mess you’ve created!).

If I’m being honest

Up until this point, the van looks really chaotic. It’s not until you start covering up the walls does it start to look like you’re getting closer to the finish line.

When choosing your interior wall and ceiling coverings, it’s important to look at all available options and consider the look and feel you’re going for. This part of the project is a really fun part, and goes a long way to define how the entire van will look in the end.

Personally, I wanted the van to feel as big as possible, so I decided to use bright colors in order to achieve this really clean beach vibe.

For the strapping on my vehicle I just used standard 1x4 pine that came in 8ft lengths. At Home Depot I was able to buy a bundle of strapping and that more or less was enough for the entire vehicle. I found that by using a 1x4, it was thin enough that I was able to get it to bend in most places to follow the curvature of the van but also strong enough that I would properly fasten it to the vehicle and hang the finished materials to it.

Strapping

For the finished wall panels on the van I decided to go with ACP (Aluminum Composite Panel). ACP is a type of flat panel that consists of two thin aluminium sheets bonded to a non-aluminium core. ACP is used within the signage industry as an alternative to heavier, more expensive substrates. ACP is also used for external and internal architectural cladding or partitions, false ceilings, machine coverings, container construction etc.

ACP Panel
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Because the ACP board comes in 4x8 sheets, I was going to have a couple of seams in the vehicle. In order to cover those seams I picked up from FRP Molding from Home Depot and used that to hide the joints, creating a nice finished look inside the van.

FRP Trim
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When installing the ACP on the vans walls, you're going to have some cut edges. To hide the edges, I purchased some automotive trim and covered all the cut edges using it to create a finished look everywhere.

Edge Trim
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For the strapping on my vehicle I just used standard 1x4 pine that came in 8ft lengths. At Home Depot I was able to buy a bundle of strapping and that more or less was enough for the entire vehicle. I found that by using a 1x4, it was thin enough that I was able to get it to bend in most places to follow the curvature of the van but also strong enough that I would properly fasten it to the vehicle and hang the finished materials to it.

Strapping

For the ceiling on the van I went with a 1/4 pine tongue and groove plank. This was the thinnest wood material I could find, and it gave me the desired look that I was going for.

Pine Plank

I used self tapping screws to fasten the 1x4 strapping to the metal frame on the vehicle. I found that some of the screws I tried weren't that great, and it was easier to pre-drill the holes before using the self tapping screws.

Self Tapping Screws
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When I was putting up the ceiling planks I used brad nails that were about 1/2 inch to ¾ just for tacking the planks in place while the construction adhesive dried.

Brad Nails
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For the ceiling panels of the van I knew I wanted to use a wood planking but I also wanted to tie in the white cabinets and wall panels. I decided to use a white semi transparent stain to give the wood a white washed look and allow the wood grain to still show through.

Semi Stain
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Anywhere in the van that I wanted to leave the wood grain exposed, I used a stain as the color treatment then applied multiple coats of clear satin or matte Varethane to give it a durable professional finish.

Clear Coat

Install Process

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Pro Tips

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Author

Scott Adamson

Vanlife aficionado with his rescue dog Ellie. We travel around North America in search of good times and fresh coffee.