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Old 09-20-2019, 08:07 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Insulating the ribs (and other impossible areas)

HELLO ALL No bus yet, but I've been on here and YouTube learning stuff all summer while recovering from double knee replacement surgery. BTW I go back to work on Monday 9/23 so this is the end of my lurking, for now.

If you want to know what I want to build look at my other post about a 4X4 Skoolie titled 4WD Conversion.

Time for a new thread about a new (unanswered so far using this forum and YouTube) question / problem... How do others insulate the ribs and other "impossible" areas on their bus?

I have concluded that closed cell foam insulation is the best option, weather sprayed or boards/rigid or a combo of both, professional sprayed or DIY. (There is literature and videos that support this, open cell holds water, and fiberglass has lower R value per inch and holds water, other batt materials like blue jeans?, etc.)

People talk about thermal bridging or you should create a thermal break. Dead air space (encapsulated) is/isn't an effective insulating method, and metal to metal is bad.

So has anyone insulated the ribs inside the walls, and other hidden or impossible areas? If so how did you do it?
Did you drill holes in the ribs or other areas and just shoot in cans of foam until it came out the hole? How large of a hole did you drill and how far apart? How well did this work?
If you did a roof raise or reskinned the outside of the bus did you insulate the ribs before the new skin went on? Or while roof is cut did you stick a really long spray wand inside the rib to insulate the roof rib before adding the additional support material? How did that work?

I have actually considered deconstructing the entire outer shell of the bus removing the windows and all the outer panels or skins, then removing all the factory insulation, coating the backside of the interior panels with something the spray foam wont stick to, then spraying the ribs and the back of the interior panels to have "completely" insulated bus walls, and then reskin the outside of the bus.
I know this sounds ridiculous, expensive and time consuming ( and a ton of rivets) BUT again I'm trying to find a solution to a brain fart of an idea that I had.

So what have you done, found, seen, links, videos, pictures.
READY, SET, GO
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:35 AM   #2
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The down-time of knee surgery explains a lot...
Awesome that you're recovering!!!

From my mechanic/mechanical perspective...

I see no (R) value in bothering to insulate the inside of the ribs because of the thermal bridging. Spending the time/money to insulate the interior from the ribs makes great sense -- if you can spare the interior room.

Pulling the exterior skin from the bus and coating between the ribs -- if it's enough insulation to make a difference it will be thick enough to weaken the connection of the ribs to the panel thus weakening the structure.
(I DON'T have the math to support that statement -- someone correct me if I'm wrong...)

From a strictly maintenance side, I hate spray foam -- it sucks to remove if it's in the way of future repairs or modifications.

Definitely agree on only using closed-cell-foam products though to prevent wicking and holding moisture -- insect critters don't like it as much either...
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Brain's 97 Diesel View Post
HELLO ALL No bus yet, but I've been on here and YouTube learning stuff all summer while recovering from double knee replacement surgery. BTW I go back to work on Monday 9/23 so this is the end of my lurking, for now.

If you want to know what I want to build look at my other post about a 4X4 Skoolie titled 4WD Conversion.

Time for a new thread about a new (unanswered so far using this forum and YouTube) question / problem... How do others insulate the ribs and other "impossible" areas on their bus?

I have concluded that closed cell foam insulation is the best option, weather sprayed or boards/rigid or a combo of both, professional sprayed or DIY. (There is literature and videos that support this, open cell holds water, and fiberglass has lower R value per inch and holds water, other batt materials like blue jeans?, etc.)

People talk about thermal bridging or you should create a thermal break. Dead air space (encapsulated) is/isn't an effective insulating method, and metal to metal is bad.

So has anyone insulated the ribs inside the walls, and other hidden or impossible areas? If so how did you do it?
Did you drill holes in the ribs or other areas and just shoot in cans of foam until it came out the hole? How large of a hole did you drill and how far apart? How well did this work?
If you did a roof raise or reskinned the outside of the bus did you insulate the ribs before the new skin went on? Or while roof is cut did you stick a really long spray wand inside the rib to insulate the roof rib before adding the additional support material? How did that work?

I have actually considered deconstructing the entire outer shell of the bus removing the windows and all the outer panels or skins, then removing all the factory insulation, coating the backside of the interior panels with something the spray foam wont stick to, then spraying the ribs and the back of the interior panels to have "completely" insulated bus walls, and then reskin the outside of the bus.
I know this sounds ridiculous, expensive and time consuming ( and a ton of rivets) BUT again I'm trying to find a solution to a brain fart of an idea that I had.

So what have you done, found, seen, links, videos, pictures.
READY, SET, GO
You wouldn't want to foam IN the ribs. It would be of no value anyhow.
If you want to totally unskin a bus to foam in the ribs we'll all follow along for the entertainment value, though. Sounds like a lot of work for nothing though.
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:46 AM   #4
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From a strictly maintenance side, I hate spray foam -- it sucks to remove if it's in the way of future repairs or modifications.
As a pessimist, I'm planning on using rock wool because I'll be able to remove it and use it in my second bus.
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:48 AM   #5
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As a pessimist, I'm planning on using rock wool because I'll be able to remove it and use it in my second bus.
Replace "pessimist" with pragmatic!
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:42 PM   #6
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As a pessimist, I'm planning on using rock wool because I'll be able to remove it and use it in my second bus.
You know, I agree with the sentiment behind this. I want to build eventually and I want it to be nice and good quality and all that, but I also don't want to over-engineer it. I don't expect a bus that's 15-25 years old when I start working on it to last another 30. Maybe it will, and that's great, but trying to solve problems that no one else is trying to solve sounds like it's not worth the time and effort. And reskinning the bus just for a bit of insulation sounds like a ton of effort for a pound of gain on something that's going to have a lot bigger issues going on, like rust.
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Old 09-20-2019, 03:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gregory The Scot View Post
You know, I agree with the sentiment behind this. I want to build eventually and I want it to be nice and good quality and all that, but I also don't want to over-engineer it. I don't expect a bus that's 15-25 years old when I start working on it to last another 30. Maybe it will, and that's great, but trying to solve problems that no one else is trying to solve sounds like it's not worth the time and effort. And reskinning the bus just for a bit of insulation sounds like a ton of effort for a pound of gain on something that's going to have a lot bigger issues going on, like rust.
Just saw the screen name- Are you from Scotland or living in Scotland?
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:39 AM   #8
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Go with closed cell spray foam professionally sprayed to cover all the surfaces, if you can fur out the ribs to allow for complete coverage of foam over the ribs it will provide a good thermal break. I just had mine sprayed the other day and made them come back to redo the ribs, as they did not spray enough foam on them. They used a two part tank kit as they had better control of the foam. The professional spray foam was stronger than the two part kit and when trimming was noticeable. Structurally the professional spray foam is better than the DIY two part kits.
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Old 09-21-2019, 01:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by banman View Post
I see no (R) value in bothering to insulate the inside of the ribs because of the thermal bridging. Spending the time/money to insulate the interior from the ribs makes great sense -- if you can spare the interior room.
Agree completely. The ribs ARE a thermal bridge, consisting of continuous metal from exterior to interior. A little foam in the middle of the hat channel might make some minuscule difference, but does absolutely nothing to negate the thermal bridge. Insulating the hat channel From the interior will be the key.
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