Looking for some van conversion ideas? Check out our ultimate guide!
One of the best ways to experience the great outdoors more is to pack up a van and live on the road. You can sleep under the stars or set up camp in a new and exciting city.
It all starts with the van, and for many people that means van conversion. Whether you’re thinking of a do it yourself van conversion or buying one ready-made, we’ve got you covered. Check out our ultimate guide to van conversion.
What Is A Conversion Van?
We all know about the humble van – we see them on our roads every single day. A conversion van takes the everyday work van and converts it into something more.
Think of all that room you can use to convert into a comfortable living space while you’re on the road.
This method of travel, or living, has proven to be a cost-effective way to see more of the world without the added expense of finding a room for the night. Instead, you can travel in your Mercedes conversion van and sleep wherever the road takes you.
How Much Does A Van Conversion Cost?
One thing that a DIY van conversion will definitely cost you is time. You might find cheap materials but if you plan on doing the work yourself, you will have to put in plenty of hard hours.
If you don’t already own a van, the most expensive outlay will be toward your vehicle. Some people are extremely fortunate and find base vans for as little as £1,000, but in reality, you are going to be paying several thousand pounds for a used van. You might even put your haggling skills to good use to make some savings.
New vans are more expensive still, but they come with the bonus of warranties and no hard miles travelled yet. Once you have your van, you may have to strip the original vehicle down to the bare bones and build the inside from the ground up.
Planning is also super important and, without fully working out what you are dealing with, you could have essential items that just don’t fit. It’s a limited space so you may have to get creative with what you put into it.
Depending on how far you’re looking to take your conversion, the fixtures and fittings can set you back anywhere between a few hundred pounds to several thousand. For instance, adding full kitchen and bathroom facilities is going to require much more work than adding some bench seating and a few drawers. You will also have to consider the costs of fuel toward any journey you are planning.
Getting The Job Done
Another often large expense that can be overlooked for van conversions is the cost of buying or hiring tools to complete the job. This hardware doesn’t come cheap and we suggest renting as much as possible if you don’t plan on using the tools for anything else. It’s also important to declare all the changes you make when trying to insure your van.
Finally, you must also inform the authorities and reclassify your vehicle if it has changed significantly. This is another added cost that is often missed when people are thinking about a conversion van.
The Technical Bits
There are several stages to consider when converting a van into your home on the road. First, the van must be stripped and prepared for conversion.
This often involves ripping stuff out. Fun fact; you can even make money by selling the van’s existing materials and putting the profits toward your project. Then, you must insulate the van, especially if you’re going to live in it and remain in the UK.
Those winter evenings are tough enough without adequate shelter from the worst of the weather. Once insulated, it’s time to lay the flooring and build up your walls. This stage will give you a real understanding of the space you are working with.
You will be able to measure everything from here and begin planning what you can put into your van conversion. It’s important to check how well your van is running from getting it serviced to checking its tyres.
It’s also the best time to consider ventilation. Trying to retrofit ventilation around plumbing or bulky items is way harder than doing it in an empty van. You may even opt to cut a hole in the roof so you can properly lie under the stars on warm summer evenings.
Power is essential for a van conversion and you must consider how to make the items inside your van conversion work. You could consider solar panels to take a more sustainable approach or perhaps a generator will give you the electrical power you are looking for.
If you don’t even know where to begin looking for van conversion ideas, there are options. Van conversion kits are available to provide a faster transition from dusty old cargo van to liveable and functioning moving home.
Making Life Comfortable
Once you have a basic understanding of the layout, now comes the fun part – adding the furnishings and equipment. For instance, you can take a Chevy conversion van and turn it into a work of art.
Consider where your bed is going to be and whether you want it to be a permanent fixture or if you’d prefer it to fold away. Perhaps it could double up as a sofa during the day and a bed at night.
If you intend on living inside your van, cooking and washing areas will be essential. You can buy pre-made kitchen and bathroom furniture to speed things up or go for custom-built items to maximise the space.
Don’t forget about storage either. You could be staying inside this van for months at a time if you are travelling the planet so you need somewhere to put your things.
Similarly, as you will be spending a lot of time inside the van, make sure to design it to your taste.
Conversion Vans For Sale
If all of that transformation sounds like too much hard work you can always buy a van that has already been converted. Some companies specialise in converting vans to sell to the public and while it may be more expensive than doing the work yourself, it is easier.
You won’t find yourself worrying about your dodgy plumbing skills, or whether your bed is going to collapse. You can even look for used conversion vans for sale which will keep the price down rather than buying a new one.
Alternatively, there are plenty of helpful tradesmen capable of converting your van for you. Of course, you will have to pay them for their skills and expertise.
Conversion Van Rental
If you’re worried you won’t use your van conversion enough to justify the price tag, the conversion van rental market is an option. You don’t have to commit to spending thousands on a van you might only use once per year.
Instead, some companies have done the hard work and can loan you their van conversions for a short time.
Choose Your Van Wisely
Picking the right base van for your needs is essential. Firstly, you need to figure out what you want to put into the converted space. Secondly, you have to buy the van that fits the size.
A Sprinter van conversion might be more appropriate if you intend to live in it for a long period. However, if it’s just going to be somewhere for you to sleep then something smaller might suffice.
Camper van conversion is popular because they don’t take too much converting and are easy enough to drive compared to Ford Transit van conversions. A benefit of owning a camper instead of a regular-sized van is the ability to gain access to multi-storey car parks.
Of course, the more storage there is in the van the larger the scale of the conversion. It means you can fit more stuff in, but it will also take longer and cost more to complete.
Van Conversion: How FairSquare Can Help
If you’re thinking of starting a van conversion project then why not get your base van right here with us? Thanks to our great range of vans you can find the perfect size for your own van conversion. No matter your credit rating we offer competitive finance options.
We even deliver your new van directly to your door, all you have to do is make a few clicks and our hassle-free service can do the rest. Our vans come with the same warranties you would expect from a dealership and a minimum of six months MOT.