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How to Prevent Squeaks in a Campervan

Picture this, everything you’ve ever wanted has come to fruition at the hands of your van builders! Full of joy and excitement, you drive your new van off the lot and into your first adventure. 15 minutes pass, and you go from very happy to quite annoyed and upset … About what, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you—squeaking. The ominous sounds come seemingly from nowhere, but little do you know, these sounds creep out from the very walls, seams and joints of your brand-new van. 

You see, this simple annoyance doesn’t even cross your mind as you scroll through the endless #vanlife videos on Instagram and TikTok. Not until you’ve spent your life savings on the adventure van of your fantasies just to find out it squeaks like a mouse caught in a trap. 

Here at Papago Vans we have been through many trials and tribulations in our fight against the squeak. I am happy to tell you, we have emerged victorious! 

What Causes Van Squeaking?

The dreaded noises that I speak of are simply a result of certain materials rubbing together. Of those, the biggest culprits are

  • wood joints 
  • wood on metal 
  • cabinet doors and drawers 
  • anywhere that the floor or ceiling meets the walls 

The problem can seem quite intimidating when you stare at it head-on, but with our years of experience, Papago Vans has come up with some very simple and elegant solutions to this common issue. 

Papago Vans’ Squeak Prevention Method    

Squeak prevention starts from the very beginning of each van build. With your finalized designs in hand, Papago Vans begins with the construction of your cabinets. Every joint is assembled with a healthy serving of wood glue, a handful of nails and a few screws to finish it off. This ensures a concrete bond strong enough to survive a hurricane and will prevent any squeak between those pieces. 

Our Solution

As we move along with the rest of the build and come to the point of attaching cabinets, walls and ceilings to the metal frame, our next solution comes in. Between any and every point where wood comes in contact with the metal frame, we lay down a thick coat of liquid-nail (a heavy-duty construction adhesive). 

Liquid Nail

The liquid nail, when combined with some sheet-metal screws, creates a very strong and durable bond between the two materials. However, not only does the liquid-nail act as an adhesive but also as a barrier between the metal and wood. This barrier is essential in preventing squeaks from that otherwise noisy combination of materials. 

Papago Standard

Once we finish construction, we paint the walls, lay down flooring, and start on the finish work of the van (i.e., installing cabinet doors, fixtures, electrical components, etc.). During this stage, we hang the doors on your cabinets. However, this step creates a great opportunity for unwanted noise because the doors and the cabinets are two separate moving pieces touching each other. Fortunately, the solution for this issue (as with the rest) is standard in all Papago Vans. 

Preventing Noise with Latches

Every cabinet door and drawer has a locking latch plus felt pads on contact surfaces. The latches create a solid closure, preventing unwanted openings while driving and also preventing movement between the separate pieces. Further, the felt pads are additional sound deadeners because they stop the points of contact from even touching.

Trim Helps Silence the Squeaks 

Lastly, our squeak prevention method includes how we use our trim (the small pieces of wood you see between the floor and wall, ceiling and wall, and on the corners of your cabinets). Papago Vans utilizes trim both aesthetically and functionally. 

The aesthetic aspect is self-explanatory, however, the functional use is slightly more intricate. Strategically placed trim hides unsightly gaps between materials and creates a flexible border where different sections of the build come together.

Utilizing trim, we are able to leave a slight gap between the floor-to-wall and the ceiling-to-wall intersections. The gap allows these surfaces to move slightly with the flex of the van without rubbing each other, effectively preventing the horrid squeak. This gap is then simply covered by the trim to create a beautiful (and not squeaky) finished product. 

Time to Travel!

All of these tactics come together in perfect harmony to create a squeak-free van and a very happy customer! You may now rest assured that you can trust the experts at Papago Vans with your dream build and not have to worry about those pesky squeaks. The only thing you will have to worry about is where you will take your van on your next adventure!