Questions on subflooring and vinyl vs laminate

I’m overwhelmed with useless info. Lemme get into what I’m dealing with.

I personally live in an 07 Honda Odyssey. Been living in a minivan for two years, and finally have some money set aside to do some alterations.

My end game is a smooth surface for the floor. Free of cracks, so no planks or hardwood or title. Think formica but on the ground…

So I look at others builds… I see people filling in cracks and holes in the floor with various types of insulation, and laying some IMO thick cuts of plywood down under the floor of their choosing…

I can understand this when a soft insulation is used, but when spray foam is used(and it often is in the videos and posts I see) why does the subfloor need to be so thick? Isn’t spray foam hard AF? Would some thin plywood not be sufficient? I want to open up as much space as physically possible in all directions floor/walls/roof, it’s a small space to spend so much time in…

However if there are some logical reasons to use a thicker plywood, I want to know before laying anything down!!

The other thing I am not sure of is the differences in flooring types between formica, laminate, vinyl, etc. Are they all the same? I basically want the smoothest easiest clean floor possible, like countertops, but floors…

Any clarity on these things is much appreciated! Thanks


Puzzle mats are a decent choice, and the joints are pretty much self sealing. Top that with a clear plastic tarp

followed by vinyl flooring. That will give you good insulation and sound deadening.

Top the vinyl with rubber backed throw rugs to prevent too hot/cold floors.

For minivan campers, I love these chairs… They’re indoor/outdoor & fold too. The sling is a soft canvas, and they are the equivalent of a rocker/recliner. It works very uniquely, and I can sit, work, cook, eat, & lounge in comfort in these chairs all day long without getting fatigued. It’s easily movable, and can fit beside the bed. It’s also low enough so you can sit straight up.


"Opportunities are everywhere, but only action makes it happen." ~ Van_Dweller

So you kinda seem to be agreeing with me I think… A plywood subfloor is not necessary…

I’m gonna skip any rugs cuz of my dogs tho… Any cushions on the floor are bought with the intent of tossing as soon as the hair is covering them!! After ten years with these guys I’ve found it’s the only hope of keeping things tidy…


Yes & No… While I appreciate the dilemma, rugs add a lot in the form of both insulation & sound deadening. While the lack of insulation can be largely overcome with climate control, the lack of sound deadening can be very frustrating if you’re doing much driving. I’ve ridden in vans where you had to shout to be heard by the person in the seat next to you, and gave you a severe headache.

Each van is different. Passenger vans are normally much quieter than cargo vans if their interior is intact. Many have a thick felt like insulation under the carpet that is also fire resistant because sometimes the floor can get extremely hot because of the exhaust. From the factory, the exhaust is usually designed to help avoid this, but when exhausts, catalytic converters, and mufflers are replaced, the same considerations are not always taken, and this can actually start a fire inside the vehicle.

This is another example why I’m against gutting a vehicle. I put rugs on top of my factory carpets, so they can be removed & cleaned or tossed. Between my 12v shop vac, and my non powered hand held carpet/upholstery brush, I’m good most of the time, when I need more, the laundromat & self service car wash can make those rugs look & feel like new. Speaking of car washes, some of them have some mighty powerful vacuums as well.

When I’ve had dogs that shed a lot, I would put a heavy clear plastic tarp over my carpet, that would enable everything to be easily be swept out while protecting the carpet & it advantages. You might be able to do the same with sheet vinyl over the carpeting.


"Opportunities are everywhere, but only action makes it happen." ~ Van_Dweller