There is one small detail that can make your road life unbearable: noise. A rattling van that offers no protection from road/outdoor noise can make a pleasant road trip quickly become an ordeal. In this guide I will teach you all about van sound deadening and van sound proofing! I'm Shane, I've been teaching people to convert campervans for many years, I'm the van conversion instructor at Udemy, author of The Van Conversion Newsletter, and the proud owner of a beautiful self-build campervan called Beans. So let's jump in and have a look at van sound deadening!
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What brings about rattling in a van?
A noisy campervan rattles with every movement on the road. It reverberates with the unevenness of the road and receives all the engine and outside/neighbourhood noise, giving you a bad travel experience. It will make you (and even moreso, the children) cranky and irritable, thereby making your whole road experience unbearable.
A noisy or rattling campervan results from the shaking or vibration of the thin steel body of your car when it's moving on the road. These thin sheets vibrate and resonate with any movement of the car on the road. And this makes the panels produce a rattling noise.
This problem is more prevalent in older vehicles that are travelling on bumpy roads. The higher vibrations, the more your campervan becomes noisy.
The thin body of the car also offers little or no resistance/insulation to external noise. So, if you are in a noisy place or in the wild at night, any animal or party noise will infiltrate your campervan, making it loud.
To prevent the occurrence of a rattling and noisy ride, van sound deadening is essential.
van sound proofing is easier than you think. It will help you travel in comfort and keep the outside noise out. Soundproofing your van will help you rest in peace, travel in silence, help you focus, and will improve the effectiveness of your internal sound system.
Where to put van sound proofing
The roof is the recipient of all-weather elements. It receives the brunt of rain, hailstones, and strong wind. When these elements land on the roof of your campervan, they produce an irritating sound that makes it hard for you to sleep and drowns out your conversation or stations you are watching or listening to. I recommend van sound deadening your roof
Campervans have thin steel walls. This makes it easy for any noise or external sound to enter the interior of your car. These walls also produce rattling sounds when on the road. Adding van sound proofing to these walls is the best way to do away with the noise.
Car doors (driver, passenger, back, and side doors) produce a lot of road sound, especially if they are not shut well or if there are cracks between the doors and vans and around the window. It is essential to add van sound deadening to the campervan doors.
What is the best van sound deadening?
The van sound deadening you choose should be thin and lightweight. They shouldn't take up too much space and add weight to your campervan.
Dodo dead mat
This is the sound deadening material that I used. And I found it to be an excellent van sound proofing material. Dodo dead mat is a superior self-adhesive, foil-backed sound deadening vibration damper. It reduces unwanted vibrations and structural noise. It is probably the most popular van sound proofing choice for van conversions.
This van sound deadening material is in the form of a thin, lightweight sheet that effectively deadens sound in a campervan.
Silent Running SR-500
This van sound proofing coating absorbs both sound and vibrations in a campervan. You can apply it on metal (steel surfaces like doors and walls), fibreglass, and some plastic surfaces in your campervan.
This van sound proofing material comes in many variations: high-density soundproofing sheets, sound-absorbing acoustic quilts, and peel-and-place tape. It is also easy to clean.
Mass loaded vinyl
It is an excellent sound barrier for vibration, sound dampening, and heat. Mass-loaded vinyl is also a great sound deadening mat because it also improves the inside sound.
This van sound deadening material absorbs excess sound and improves the acoustics in your campervan. It is excellent for hard surfaces like the walls and roof of your van.
Butyl sound deadener mat
This van sound proofing material comes as a butyl sheet with an aluminium foil layer at the back. It absorbs unwanted rattling (rattles) and vibrations.
The butyl sheet is made of butyl rubber, which makes it great at absorbing vibrations and sound waves when driving. An excellent example of the butyl sound deadener mat is the Dynamat sound deadener.
Sound Deadener insulation
This van sound deadener insulation is closed cell foam wrapped or covered by foil. It is a combination of sound deadening and thermal insulation.
It is an excellent soundproofing material because it is heat resistant, durable, flexible, self-adhesive, making it easy to install as it easily moulds to the vehicle's surfaces.
Calmat automotive sound deadening mat
This butyl mat and foil mat absorb engine noises, vibrations, metal rattling, and outside noise. Its internal and external noise deadening makes it one of the best campervan soundproofing materials.
Yes. Sealants play a big role in soundproofing. Use sealants to block cracks and any spaces around doors and windows, and panels. This will block sound from entering through the cracks.
Things to consider when choosing van sound deadening
Effectiveness of the mat in blocking or absorbing sound and vibrations
Ease of installation of the material
Level of heat resistance of the material
Material's sound-enhancing qualities on the inside of the campervan
Again, I chose Dodo dead mat because it ticked most of the boxes above.
Procedure for soundproofing your campervan
Strip your camper van panels. You can use a drill to do this.
Clean the steel sheets with an alcohol solution and leave them to dry.
Peel off the outer covering on the dodo dead mat sheets
Apply the dodo mat or any other sound deadening material
Stick it to the interior steel panels of your campervan
Use it to cover as many metal sheets as possible
Around the wheel arches and on the doors is particularly important
I hope you found this guide to installing a sound deadening in your van conversion useful! You now know the best way to soundproof your campervan. A well-soundproofed campervan shouldn't block out all external sound. It should leave room for you to hear important sounds like that of cars approaching, braking, and so on. That aside, it will help you enjoy your travels in peace.
You are well on your way to a beautiful self-build campervan! Don't forget to subscribe to The Van Conversion Newsletter for everything you need to get started with your own van conversion.
Be sure to check out the rest of the insulation guides. In particular you should check out the complete guide to campervan insulation.
If you're converting a van but unsure of how to do it, you could also check out the Van Conversion Course on Udemy. In the course, you'll learn directly from me how to convert a van into your dream home - no prior experience needed!
Until next time,