Most self builders will want to include at least some extra windows in the living area of the van. One exception to this is the ‘stealth’ van. Builders of these vans will convert the interior of the van but with as few outward clues to their new use as possible. They may install skylights to allow natural light and may need to fit vents for some appliances but they try to keep the van looking as much like a normal van as possible.
For the more regular conversion the options for windows are to cut holes in the side of your van or convert a minibus. A large minibus may have too many windows for your liking and you will then need to address the issue of covering or removing those which are surplus to your needs but there are many very nice mini bus conversions owned by members of the SBMCC.
If you are installing windows in a panel van then your main choice is between single glazed (mini bus type) windows or double glazed caravan type windows. Either of these types can be bought new or used. The main benefit of the single glazed window is that they do tend to cost considerably less than the caravan type. The downside though is that as they are only single glazed you don’t get the same insulation properties as the caravan type and you are likely to suffer more window condensation. These are often available used, from vehicle salvage yards or new from various suppliers
The Caravan type of window can of course be bought new from various suppliers. One of the more popular windows in camper vans is the ‘Seitz’ window. Unfortunately it is also one of the more expensive, these windows can be either sliding openers or top hinged and come with integral blinds and fly screens. It is of course possible to buy these or similar types of caravan windows second hand from caravan salvage yards.
Work out where your new windows will fit in the van. Will they be at the right height for when you are using your van? Where will they be in relation to the furniture and appliances you are building into your van? Can you see out when you’re sat down on your furniture in the van? How do they fit in with the panel shape on the outside of the van?
DVLA requirements for a van to be classified as a ‘Motor caravan’