Finishing the insides of the rear doors and sliding door with fabric lining
Once the interior of the campervan had been insulated and fabric lined, the sliding side door and the rear barn doors needed to be finished to be lined and finished to the same standard. This was also an opportunity to insulate the door cavities and deaden the hollow sound from the empty voids in the doors.
The same materials are used for finishing and insulating and although the doors are a more complex surface with lots of fittings and tighter curves, fabric lining them was surprisingly simple, a much easier job than I had expected.
The first step when lining the interior of the camper doors is to remove all trims, fittings, door cards and seals. This allows you to achieve a really professional finish and makes it much simpler to apply the Veltrim fabric lining and trim around the fixtures and fittings. Once all of the fittings are removed, the inside of the glass (if fitted to your campervan doors) can be covered with paper and masking tape to prevent the fabric sticking to the glass when it’s being applied.
The best way to approach the application of the fabric is to cut a sheet large enough to cover the entire interior surface of the door, allowing enough fabric for wrapping around the curved reveals while also allowing plenty extra for trimming off once it’s all glued into place. Don’t underestimate the amount of extra need for waste, it’s surprising how much is needed to fully rap around the entire interior surface.
With the sheets cut to size, apply a good coating of spray adhesive such as Trimfix to both the metal surface of the door and the back of the fabric sheet (Remember there is a front and back surface to the Veltrim fabric, don’t spray the wrong side!). With the adhesive applied, hold the sheet at the top and allow it to hang freely while brining it into contact with the door surface. At this point, just position the sheet and smooth it onto the flat surfaces it comes into contact with, working evenly from the top down, make sure not to cause any creasing in the overall surface as you position the sheet.
Next, gradually work around the curved surfaces, smoothing the fabric into place and working it over the curves in the door. For the window reveals, just work the fabric into the curves until you find the fabric wont stretch any further. At this point you can cut a cross in the centre of the window to relieve the tension in the material and continue pressing it into place, cutting the centre further as you need to. The outer surfaces of the door are treated much the same way and the Veltrim can be cut roughly around the door hinges for now.
When the entire surface has been covered, and you are happy with the finish and position of the fabric, undo the bolts on the door hinges just enough to tuck the fabric behind them with a flat blade before re-tightening the bolts. Do this one hinge at a time to make it easier to handle the door while the hinges have been loosened off. Repeat this process for all fixtures and fittings on the doors for a really neat and professional finish.
Before refitting the door cards, the empty voids can be filled with insulation such as sheep’s wool for heat retention and sound deadening. This gives the door a nice solid feel when shut and helps to reduce vibration road noise when on the move.
Something to be aware of is the possibility of breaking the panel and trim fixings when removing the door cards and trims. They are fragile enough at the best of times and easily broken when being removed. Remember also that thickness of the fabric may mean the need for longer fixings to secure the panels properly as was the case with the side door on my van. I opted to cover the door card with fabric on the side door as it was a large panel and wasn’t in great condition. I decided not to cover the door cards on the rear doors since they aren’t visible when inside the van and are also exposed to some water from the shower unit at the back. The rear door panels clipped easily back into place with the original panel fixings.
Fabric lining the inside of your campervan is a much easier task than it first appears and with the right materials and equipment, it’s really easy to achieve a professional quality finish.