Van Build: Side Step Floor Extension

Extending the floor space i our tiny home on wheels is one of our priorities. So extending the floor into the very spacious sliding door step seemed like a must. 😀

Written By Freedom Strider

On May 16, 2020

To maximise the floor space in our van build, and as our couch extends on our sidestep, we decided to extend the floor out and build a side step platform (plus, we need to have somewhere to put our shoes). We need it to be insulated, strong, waterproof, and lightweight, so let's get to it.


Batten up

Our original van floor only came up to the bulkhead, which is long gone from our van. Therefore, we had to build a small floor extension out the front and over the side step to accommodate our couch.

We cut and stuck down short sections of our floor beams (using a Mitre Saw and Sikaflex Pro 3) for the front part.

For the side step, we already had some beams extruding thanks to our pre-planning when sticking down the main floor. For the perimeter border and legs, we cut lengths from the remainder of the wooden floor beams, but didn’t attach these yet.

floor extension - van conversion




Even these simple rectangles had kinks and notches in them! We measured and cut some 25mm PIR Board to fit in these gaps, secured the front floor insulation in and sealed it in with aluminium foil tape. 🌡️

floor extension - van conversion


We need MORE plywood?

Since we somehow had no pieces of 9mm ply big enough, we went out and bought one. It had to be 9mm as that is the thickness of our original floor. 💸

We then cut and shaped 2 pieces with a jigsaw: one to fit the front area, and one for our side step extension.

Since the floor had quite a few kinks in it, it took a few tries to get them to fit properly. We also stained the ply with the same woodstain as the main floor for extra protection.

floor extension - van conversion


Starting the framework

The next morning, we cut a piece of 3mm hardboard that we had spare to go under the floor step extension, and we glued this to the beam extrusions and clamped it in place to dry.

This hardboard is only to keep the insulation in place.

floor extension - van conversion
floor extension - van conversion
floor extension - van conversion
floor extension - van conversion


More wood cutting

We glued the outer perimeter beams to the hardboard, and then cut more slices of wood for the legs of the step.

We chose to build a ‘bridge’ leg (a very strong design) and have a simple L-leg in the corner. These were screwed and glued together, and all the wood was painted with outdoor white wood paint for protection. 🖌️

floor extension - van conversion


Adding carpet

Since the underneath of this step will most likely be shoe storage, we cut up the front door mat we had and fit it into place (don’t worry, there was another front door mat spare for the house).

floor extension - van conversion


It all comes together

Once the paint and glue dried, and despite the rain, we put everything together.

We put in our cut insulation into the wood frame, which fit easily since it had zero kinks in it.

Next, the legs were wedged into places and screwed into the frame of the floor step extension.

Then it was a matter of putting on the pre-cut and stained 9mm floor pieces, and screwing it down to the blue wooden support beams. We also screwed the front floor piece down as well.

We pre drilled and countersunk the screws in to give the floor a flushed surface. 🔩

floor extension - van conversion
floor extension - van conversion


One last bracket

We knew we needed one more bracket, on the corner without a leg, and after testing its strength the floor definitely dipped down in that spot.

After accidentally breaking a rivnut gun (not entirely our fault) we got one that worked, rivnuted 2 threads into the van, and secured a beefy L-Bracket to support that corner.

We did have to remove and modify the lower sliding door stop (by cutting a notch out of it, in order to get the door to close), but all corners are fixed in and secure. 🗜️

floor extension - van conversion



It didn’t break!

floor extension - van conversion

quick look

Quick Steps Overview:


  1. Follow floor beam + insulation process
  2. Cut, shape and stain 9mm ply to fit extension
  3. Frame the floor extension step
  4. Create wooden legs
  5. Add carpet to step
  6. Screw everything together
  7. Add final L-Bracket with rivnuts