How To Carpet Your Van For $12

On cold mornings, I dread stepping on a cold floor to go turn on the heater, let Lister out, or do whatever else I need to do. I wasn’t able to insulate my floor because it already came specially built with the wheelchair van conversion. I found a cheap, easy solution that can either be permanent or just a temporary job.

While wandering around the tents at Tyson Wash in Quartzsite, Arizona, I stumbled into one that was selling carpet tiles. These are two-foot square pieces of commercial-grade carpeting, often used in high-traffic office situations. I don’t have a lot of floor space I need to cover, so I bought four of these at $3 a piece. Last year they were $1 each, but everything’s gotten more expensive in 2023. Many colors and patterns were available but I went with a simple black and grey that matched the actual floor in my van, preserving the original look. While it would be difficult to carry a roll of carpet back to camp on my motorcycle, it was easy to fold the carpet tiles over and strap them to my seat.

In commercial installations, carpet tiles are glued down to the floor. I didn’t bother. My van is such a small space that they don’t move around much. It’s also not a high-traffic area like an office. Two of them fit perfectly behind the seats without any cutting at all. I trimmed a third one to fit around the pantry, and a chunk out of the fourth one to fill in a gap by the bed. And that’s it. Thanks to a bit of forethought during the original van build, we’d left a gap between the floor and the bottoms of the cabinet doors, specifically to leave room to add some kind of flooring later. The doors still open and close just fine.

Carpeting certainly has its issues, mainly keeping it clean. While I could just use my shop blower to blast dirt out the door on the original floor, it’ll tend to stick in the carpet, so I’ll likely need a small vacuum cleaner. Last year, I spent $5 to carpet my floor and used it all winter. When I left Quartzsite for the season, I simply threw the old, dirty carpet tiles away. But this time, since I didn’t install it until January (the carpet tile tent has been closed every time I’ve tried to buy them until now), I might just vacuum them and keep them around for a while. We’ll see how they hold up.

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