Vanlife Mold Prevention and Redoing Our Floor: Tips and Lessons

It’s every vanlifer’s worst nightmare. There’s a leak somewhere, and a good rainstorm brings a steady drip of water that might not seem like a big deal at first. But that water ends up leaching into some dark, unventilated corner of your van, and before you know it you’ve got a mold problem.

This is exactly what happened to us recently. Since day one we’ve had issues with our aging rubber door seals – excessive wind noise in the front, and water leakage in the back. Every time it rained, a trickle of water dripped down our rear doors and soaked the edge of the flooring underneath our bed. Replacing the door seals actually made the problem worse, since they don’t make one of the pieces anymore (some creative caulking around the top of the door seal finally fixed the issue).

But after a year on the road the damage was already done. We were rearranging the trunk one morning when we noticed some white fuzz peaking up between the floorboards. Mold!

The leaky door seals had caused water to soak into the subfloor, and mold started growing. We began peeling up our laminate flooring bit by bit, revealing a dusting of white and greenish mold that continued along the left side up towards the front of the van.

moldy van subfloor
We also found a little mold on the subfloor underneath our kitchenette – until our aim improved, we frequently spilled water under here while refilling our water tank.

Not wanting to deal with a mold-infested living space, we decided to tear everything out and completely redo our floor. In the process, we took a few extra steps to make sure that mold will never again be a problem.

Here’s everything we’ve learned about mold prevention in a van, the steps we took in our new flooring install, and what you can do to stop mold from taking hold in your van build.

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