#21 Stringing up the Ceiling & Cutting Ceiling Ply

Today we came up with a solution to our bulky ceiling insulation problem and measured and cut out our ceiling ply panels, ready to be covered in material and secured in place.

Stringing up the ceiling

Since we redid it, the ceiling insulation had stayed up no problem, however as the recycled plastic wool had expanded fully we noticed that it sat significantly lower than the struts that our ceiling would be screwed into. There was a slight concern that this pressure would cause our ceiling ply to be pushed out in places giving an unsavoury shape to our ceiling.

We thought of a few ways to combat this and then a simple, inexpensive idea came to us and we decided to give it a go.

We wound string between the struts, almost in a figure of 8 fashion moving down the van with each loop. With one end secured we pulled the string as tight as it would go, leaving no slack and naturally raising the ceiling insulation & silver foil which was now resting on it. When we got it as taught (and high) as we could without it breaking we tied off the other end and moved onto the next section.


We managed to get the full length of the ceiling down in 4 sections and it made a significant difference to the height of the insulation. A lot of people opt to use insulating board on the ceilings, which would remove any of these issues, however we had wool left over which we didn’t want to waste and we had decided against the boards quite early on.

Happy with our fix we moved onto the next job… Ceiling ply!

Cutting out the Ceiling Ply

We used large pieces of cardboard as a stencil for the ceiling, first taking the basic measurement and cutting it to size and then using it to mark and trial the fiddly corners.

Trying to get the right shape around the side loading door was the trickiest bit, it involved a fair few pencil lines and lots of snipping with the scissors, but eventually we managed to get the cardboard to fit the space perfectly, tucking in above the runner for the side loading door. After checking it several times, we used the cardboard as a template, drawing around it onto the 3mm ply for our ceiling and then used the jigsaw to cut out the desire shape. With it almost perfect straight off, all it needed was for the edges to be planed until it fit exactly where we wanted it to.

Moving onto the second piece, we realised how much we lucked out – the measurements of the second piece where 1cm smaller than the remaining piece of ply, this didn’t leave much room for error but meant we could get it done in two big panels rather than have to do three smaller panels which we originally thought we would have to do… lucky lucky lucky! Once again we cut the basic shape and size using the jigsaw and then planed the edges to get a more precise fit.


This job was significantly easier than we thought it was going to be, there was a lot of trial and error, getting in and out of the van to see if the panels fit, but other than that it was done and dusted surprisingly quickly!

We haven’t yet bought the material for the ceiling panels, so decided to leave them with a small overlap at this point in time. Once we have the first panel covered and secured in place we will measure and trim the other one exactly, no point taking off any more than necessary now, much safer to leave it to next time when we have all the information.

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