Road Read – Main Floors and Wall and Ceiling Panel Ribs (Not BBQ Ribs) 7-22-16

Walls, Floors and Colors.

Another trip to the Hardware Store. This time to pick up the paneling for the walls. There is roughly 252 square feet of walls and ceiling to cover and I have decided to do this with a 1/4 inch thick Pine panel from Home Depot. My original intent was to do it in Cedar but the pine was more readily available, lighter and I decided to stain the boards with some lighter colors and the reds in the Cedar would not have worked well.


The calculations are based on the rough measurements that a side was 7 feet tall by 12 feet long giving an estimated square footage of 84 feet. Multiply that times 3 (Left, Right, Ceiling) brings us up to 253 sq.ft.

Each of the packages covers 14 square feet meaning 18 packs would do the trick. However at only a quarter inch thick, these panels can be slightly delicate. In spite of my best effort to get the best packages of the ones available, I still found a couple of pieces that had some chips missing after I arrived home.

I still bought two extra bundles to have on hand if necessary and it is a good practice to have about 10% more than you think you will need for bad pieces and odd cuts. And this interior is going to require some tricky, odd cuts. The passenger side wall will require less due to the sliding door that I do not plan on covering with planking (although that may be subject to change as well), however the ceiling section cover more than 12 feet in length.

I think I have enough and I can return what I don’t need.

The current (and I do mean current and subject to change ) plan is to patchwork the sage, blue and white across the wall paneling with a very occasional darker piece done in the brown. I wanted to stick with light colors in order to ward off any of the cave type aesthetics if possible. The cabinets and bed will be done with the brown.


I plan on doing some test staining to see how things look.

Which brings me to the next quandary in this adventure. The current plan is to drill the necessary holes in the ribs on the walls to allow 1/2 by 3 inch boards to be attached with the use of molly bolts. For those not familiar with molly bolts, they are the ones that allow you to hang heavy stuff on sheetrock or on walls where you do not have access to the back to secure a nut on a bolt. You drill a hole and slip the molly bolt through it and it expands on the other side thus preventing the bolt from coming back through.

I can afford to lose a little of the width of the floor plan and this will provide (hopefully) adequate mounting points for the wall planks.

Ceiling Plank MountThe ceiling may be a bit more difficult.

The plan here is to cut down some 2 x 4 pieces of lumber to a trapezoid shape that will snug up to each side of the van ceiling ribs. They would be bolted to each side where they did not interfere with the AC install and would look like this. Ford could have made tyhis much easier by just having vertical sections on the ribs instead of it necking down at an angle.

The red shows the pieces that will be needed if this method is used.

By doing the ceiling plank installs like this, I keep more of my overall headroom. Not a huge deal in most of the can but where there are lower areas like where the Air Conditioning controls are located (overhead) and the 12 Volt Fan sticks down a bit, I would like to keep these as far above my cranium as possible.

This will require some time in front of the table saw and I am betting a few tries to get the dimensions just right.

While it might be some time before all of the planks are installed, I need to continue to figure out issues like this. I know that there will be some electrical conduit running behind the planks for lighting, the vent and even the AC / Heat Pump but understanding how I will eventually get the planks mounted is important now.

At the pic at the top, you can also see in addition to my 4 shiny new wood working pencils, some 2×2 boards. I picked these up to work with over the next few weeks as I start to figure out my cabinets and bed dimensions. I think that will take up several articles all on its own.

Also ordered this week was the actual flooring. At least the flooring that will be installed while the rest of the walls, ceilings, insulation, electronics, bedding and cabinetry is figured out. (I just got overwhelmed a bit there.) It may be the last flooring installed and if I find I don’t care for it or even if it gets mangled during the above installs, I can replace it. It was cheap and also from Home Depot. I present to you……. Coastal Travertine.

Coastal Travertine

A bit over a buck and a quarter per square foot, it didn’t break the bank. I also liked the way it looked with some of the wood stains that were shown above. This stuff has a decent wear rating and is 8mm thick. There was just no need for any thing thicker since I already have a solid subfloor and as mentioned above, I want to have as much vertical area as possible.

Since I spent quite a bit of time on the subfloors already, I have a plan on how I may save myself some pain and frustration on this section. I plan on assembling enough of the flooring to cover the bottom of the van but I plan on doing this with the material upside down. Once this is laid out on the garage floor, I will remove the subfloors and invert them on top of the main floor. This should, in theory, provide me with a excellent pattern to trace.

Once marked with an outline, I can number the flooring planks and dismantle them, cut them where needed with the jigsaw and then reassemble in the van.

This flooring and at least a small portion of the wall planks need to be installed so I can start on the design of the cabinets and bed with out consistently trying to factor in the measurements adjustments for the thickness of the floor and walls when attached to the ribs.

After the ribs for the wall and ceiling planks has been figured out, created and installed, I am thinking it is going to be very close to the time to cut some holes in the roof for the AC and vents as well as another for the shore power inlet. But that is another conversation for another day.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

Keep the course,