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Making a High Roof Ford Transit Ceiling Fit

We found the ceiling to be one of the hardest parts of this van conversion so far. The design of the high roof van has a great impact on how the ceiling is installed; in our case, twice.

We had three requirements in designing our van ceiling: quietness, a natural look, and to reflect light. We were wanting something to work with our natural wood and black theme but yet keep the open feeling.

3 Requirements in our Ceiling build:

  1. Quietness–not rattling while driving
  2. Natural–single pieces without a lot of cut pieces
  3. Reflect light–light-colored stain on wood


After planning and watching many YouTube videos, we were ready to start the process. First, we purchased 4-foot x 14 feet long pine shiplap boards. Our first attempt was with one-inch pine boards using Rivnuts to attach them to the van ceiling ribs. Having everything in place we began to screw the boards in place, but soon realized there was too much twist to the boards. This was pulling the screws right out of the pine making it difficult to get the shiplap to fit together. So, we opted to pull out the several pieces we installed and stain it first. We painted the rough sawn side with Kills primer and finished the smooth side with an Old Master’s gel stain which gave us a whitewashed finish. After a week of thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that I was going to need to lose a couple of inches in the ceiling height in order to be able to lay the boards flat and smooth. Luckily we have a high roof van and we still have a ceiling height of 75 inches with the installed ceiling. To accomplish this, I went with 2-inch wide birch wood, cutting the first piece ¾ of the width of the rib and installed that with two rivnuts. Then we cut the second piece of two-inch birch the whole width of the van and installed this with two rivnuts and two screws into the first piece. Instead of going with the flow of the ceiling and keeping the ceiling crowned, we flattened the curve allowing the boards to lay much flatter and straighter. While putting all the pine shiplap pieces in, I used motorcycle straps to pull the pieces together and installed the ceiling with stainless steel screws that we purchased from High Desert Fasteners. Once finished we have a very quiet and good looking ceiling.  

We have Thinsulate in the ceiling and a sheet of reflectics to learn more read this blog

We hope that you enjoyed our blog about the ceiling install.  If you have any questions please contact us. We are having a great time meeting new people and sharing our stories.



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