I thought I would share with you how to make a simple fibreglass van liner – truck bed liner – with GRP fibreglass. I have been lining the wooden floors of my work vans, and friends vans when asked, with fibreglass for a number of years now with great results. Gone are the days of wet worn splintery wooden van floors with dirt ingrained into them contaminating everything you put in there. Now you can have an extremely hard wearing, flexible and lightweight van floor that is smooth, non slip and can be cleaned with a brush or washed if you want. Even better than that a simple sand and a new layer of topcoat a few years down the line brings it up like new again. Winner.
How to fibreglass a Van or truck
Fibreglassing a van – This video shows two simple methods of how to fibreglass a van or truck, big or small. This accompanying video shows how to mix the resin and colour.
Fibreglass van floor kit
To make, lay, or laminate your own GRP van or truck floor it couldn’t be easier, all you need is a simple GRP fibreglass roof kit and these are sold with literally everything you need including tools, so it’s just a matter of measuring up your van floor and buying the correct size kit, simple. You may get a common choice of weight (thickness) i.e. 300g (1oz) or 450g (1.5oz), and either of these is absolutely fine.
If your looking to customise your requirements and want to buy your fibreglass in non kit form you will need to think about coverage, so here are the two most common weights of CSM and what coverage you can expect…
- 300g CSM requires approximately 1.5 litres of resin per square metre to cover.
- 450g requires 2 litres of resin per square metre.
- Topcoat (colour or flowcoat) coverage is about half a litre per square metre.
Fiberglass paint for sides or walls of a van
In my experience simply painting on some topcoat with a roller after cutting in the edges with a paintbrush will result in an extremely long life and a tough finish that resists scratches and abuse. A light sanding may be required for good adhesion if the surface of the plywood is smooth to the touch.
GRP van interior – Here the 6mm plywood walls of the van have been quickly sanded and painted with a topcoat or flowcoat before the van floor. A 50mm brush was used for cutting in and a 100mm mini roller used for the finish.
Timber lining for vans and trucks
The first thing you will need is to line the interior of your van or truck out with either plywood or OSB sterling board so that the fibreglass will stick to it. Plywood or OSB sterling board will work fine but if you use plywood it must be roughly sanded first on the side that will receive the fibreglass later, 40 – 60 grade grit is fine.
Generally speaking the sides of a van are 6mm ply, but the thickness of your timber floor should reflect what’s underneath to support it. If you have a steel van floor, 9 -11mm thick boards should be fine, there’s no point carrying around extra weight.
Bigger floors – If you have a van or truck floor with less underneath in terms of support a minimum of 18-25mm tongue and groove plywood may be better. Obviously vehicles carrying heavy loads should have a base or bed that suits that need structurally and from a load bearing perspective.
If your van floor is a complicated shape I use some old carpet or cardboard boxes and fit those to the van floor first, then transfer that shape to your timber for marking and cutting with a jigsaw. Of course if you’re not savvy with woodworking you can always buy a custom ply van lining kit.
Fixing the boards is normally a simple matter of screwing them down with self drilling screws like baypole screws, just don’t screw into pipes or wiring looms, look before you drill.
Interior van lining kit
Of course if you’re not savvy with woodworking you can always buy a custom ply van lining kit. I’m pretty good with timber and fibreglass, but I can tell you lining a van with Plywood or OSB timber is 20 times harder than applying the GRP.
Anti slip finish
I find the topcoat fibreglass finish not particularly slippery, especially after some light foot traffic, and I personally like the way my kit slides into the van without snagging, I also like the way it wipes and brushes clean without effort too. If you have a critical use for it to be non slip however a non slip topcoat can be purchased separately, or Delabole slate chippings can be sprinkled in between 2 layers of topcoat. I have also known people to sprinkle kiln dry sand through a sieve between layers with a similar result.
Sticking fibreglass to existing plywood linings
The strength of the job depends on what the fibreglass resin sticks to. If you have ingrained dirt or oil this will hinder the adhesion and may result in delamination later (peeling off) or worse, not curing properly. Of course it may also work but you run a risk.