Fiamma roof fan vent van conversion

If you’re looking for information about how to install a Fiamma Roof Fan for your Van Conversion then look no further. Here you’ll find a step by step guide with pictures and videos. 

After reading about so many people having roof vent leaks we realised that this was going to take a bit more research than we first thought. So if you want to find out how to secure your roof vent so that it doesn’t leak, keep reading. 

If you would rather check out our step by step video, you can view it here: 

We decided on the Fiamma Turbo 28. Heres how we successfully attached it to the roof of our Vauxhall Movano:

First, you’ll need to purchase your vent.

We chose to go for the Fiamma Turbo 28

But we’ve also heard great things about the larger and more superior model: Maxx Air Fan OR Maxx Air Fan Clear

You’ll also need:

19mm Mastic Tape

Caravan 512 Sikaflex OR Caravan 512 Sikaflex twin pack

Masking Tape

Sand Paper

(If you happen to purchase an item through our link, thank you. We film and edit videos every day and this helps us keep doing what we love.)

Step 1: Make a wooden Frame

The first thing you need to do is create a wooden frame for your vent. This is pretty straight forward. Just make sure that the wooden frame sits comfortably around the vent.

My dad happens to be extremely talented when it comes to making things out of wood so ours was perfect. 

Step 2: Sand The Roof Vent

Many people find their roof vents sliding off the roof. This is because of the plastic coating on the vent itself not sticking to the sikaflex. To prevent this we just sanded down the edge of the vent where it would be touching the roof of the van.

1 month has passed since we fitted our vent and it still remains watertight. During this month we’ve had some pretty heavy rainstorms so its safe to say this method is tried and tested. 

Step 2: Marking The Lines To Cut

Firstly you need to choose the location of your roof vent. If you have roof bars like we do you’ll also need to make sure that it can open fully if you place it near the bars. 

If you look at our roof vent you’ll see its slightly off-center. The reason we couldn’t put our roof vent directly in the middle was because our van has lots of ribs running vertically down the roof. We wanted to chose the flattest area we could.

When you’ve decided on the best place for your vent, use masking tape to prevent damaging the metal. This is also handy for drawing a nice straight line on for you to cut to.  

Remember to measure, measure, and measure again. And then get someone to double-check your measuring. Cutting a hole in the roof is something you only get one shot at. 

Step 3: Drill 4 Holes In Each Corner:

The next thing you need to do is to drill 4 holes, one in each corner. This is so you can insert the blade and begin cutting from corner to corner.

Just take your time with this and make sure you stick to the line you’ve drawn previously.

Step 4: Use a Jigsaw To cut the carefully marked lines

When we had a hole in each corner we used a jigsaw to cut between each hole following the line on top of the masking tape.

Step 5: Check the fan fits and cut more if needed.

Check if the fan fits. Ours didn’t at first. One of the corners was too tight so we had to trim it back some more. Remember that too small is better than too big as you can always cut more if needed.

Next, you can Peel off your masking tape and marvel at the gaping hole you’ve just cut in the van.

Step 6: File Down and Paint to Protect

Next, you need to file down the edges that you’ve just cut, clean it up and paint with red oxide to prevent rust and let this dry.

Step 7: Mastic Tape The Area

We bought the wrong size mastic tape. We didn’t realise it came in different sizes so the one we purchased is designed for awnings. It was a lot wider than what we needed. We had to cut it in half lengthways but it would have been easier to buy the correct size.

Many people say you don’t need mastic tape. The reason we used this was because we have ribs on our roof so we had to make a level surface before sticking down the vent.

Before actually sticking the vent down we placed it in the hole and drew around the circumference with a pen so we knew where the mastic tape had to reach. This stuff is very stretchy. It feels comparable to blue tac and isn’t the easiest thing to work with. 

Step 8: Use Masking Tape For a clean professional finish

 A top tip from my dad who is a boat builder is to put lines of masking tape around the whole thing so when you use sikaflex it makes a perfect square around it. Otherwise, you might end up with a big wobbly mess. As our van is bright red and the sikaflex is white we had to try even harder to make it neat.

Step 9: Sikaflex The Edges

The next thing you need to do it apply Sikaflex to the underside of the roof vent where it’s going to meet the mastic tape. Sit your bottle of sikaflex in the sun or somewhere warm to make it easier to squeeze out if you’re having trouble.

Step 10: Stick The Fan Down

Make sure its the right way around and slowly plop your fan into the hole. Now if you’re on your own doing this you’ll be getting a bit of a workout now. You’ll need to climb down, climb back up and then down again.

We happen to be completing our van build in the middle of a worldwide pandemic so my dad was around to help us. 

Step 11: Screw Underside Of The Fan

While applying a small amount of pressure to the vent, Dave (Beth’s dad) screwed it in from the inside with the box sandwiched between the two parts of the vent.

Step 12: Make a Waterproof Seal

After this, you can create your sikaflex seal. To create the perfect waterproof seal you’ll need a little bit of soapy water on your finger while you smooth it down. This will prevent the Sikaflex from sticking to your finger and make a smooth finish.

When you’ve done this you can Peel off your masking tape to reveal the nice neat line. 

When the sikaflex is set you can either wait for rain or take a hose and spray the heck out of your roof to analyze for any leaks. 

It’s been 1 month since we actually fitted our roof vent and still not a single leak! Success! 

You can even test your fan with a nine volt battery! (Photos below were taken after cladding ceiling).

And that’s it! I hope you found this informative! 

Check out our complete van build video series here: https://www.youtube.com/ourwildhorizons

Or

If you’re not so much into videos you can check out the written versions of the videos here: https://sheisthelostgirl.com/category/van-life/

Best of luck with your roof vent!

The Lost girl

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About Me

Hi! I am Beth Johnstone, a travel journalist and photographer.

I began travelling in 2014 with what I thought would be a short holiday. I’ve now been travelling around the world full time for five years, taking photographs, writing about the places I’ve been and immersing myself in new cultures.

I am passionate about capturing the whole experience not just with images, but with words too. My blog is a positive place where I welcome readers to learn about the best places to stay, along with tips and advice on long term travel.

“Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.”