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Old 04-07-2015, 02:26 AM   #1
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Great Stuff?

Hello! So we decided on a 75 ford 72 pax! Finally got the thing gutted, grinded, and the floor primed.

We will be living full time in this thing come August.

We are on a shoestring budget.

We were gifted a wood burning stove that we will use for heat.

We are contemplating how to insulate this beast. I chatted with a Home Depot guy for about a half hour yesterday, and realized my initial plan might need more thought.

So, what do you guys think?
The initial plan is/was;

Floor- sanded and sealed metal (check!), then foam panel insulation, then osb boards as subfloor, then hardwood floor.

Walls- foam panel insulation where they fit, then wood over it. Leave the windows, but "frame" them with wood.

Ceiling- drilling many holes from the inside then spraying in Great Stuff spray foam insulation. Seal drill holes with caulk, then paint to help mask them.


However, now I'm wondering if this is the best option, especially with the ceiling.

I really like the look of the bare metal ceiling, and I am not sure if we have to time or patience to remove all the rivets in the side walls and the ceiling, install batting, then put up wood. I just know that winter will be cold and without ceiling insulation, it will rain on us from the condensation.

Let me know what you think about trying to drill holes in the ceiling and put in great stuff as insulation! Has it been done?!?
Thanks!!
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:39 AM   #2
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I know there have been lots of threads about insulation. I have read as many as I could find, and the consensus is that some people like great stuff while other folks argue that it will rust metal.

I'm just wondering if anyone has experience putting this stuff in their bus. I looked thru a vent hole in the ceiling, and see no insulation whatsoever up there.
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:46 PM   #3
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Try contacting someone knowlegable at Retrofoam of Colorado Springs. Retrofoam did my shop and house. Both were differant products made for the particular job.
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:00 PM   #4
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Great stuff expanding single part foam needs air to dry. If it doesn't dry and expand properly, the chemicals left are corrosive to steel.

It works great for sealing small gaps under half inch around the rigid Styrofoam.

It will not work in the gap of the ceiling.

Low budget or not, that metal ceiling skin needs to come down, and stay down.

I'm not going to type four paragraphs tonight explaining why. No time for that tonight. Do a search containing the words "Insulation" and "Thermal Break" and read the threads that come up.

Nat
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maggiemae View Post
I really like the look of the bare metal ceiling, and I am not sure if we have to time or patience to remove all the rivets in the side walls and the ceiling, install batting, then put up wood. I just know that winter will be cold and without ceiling insulation, it will rain on us from the condensation.
Fear not: your ceiling and walls are probably installed with blind aka pop rivets, right? Those can be removed fairly rapidly, particularly if you have a good supply of compressed air available. Just last week I peeled all the metal off the interior walls in mine; the ceiling will be coming up shortly.

The secrets are these:
  • Get an air powered chisel (the Harbor Freight Air Impact Hammer Kit for USD$11 is a fine choice; also buy the package of replacement chisels)
  • Re-grind the chisel so that it has just one taper, ie so it's shaped like a conventional wood chisel. After the flat-edge chisel has broken, you can modify the forked chisel in this way too.
  • For the 3/32" shank rivets (the big ones, maybe 3/8-1/2" heads) use a pin punch and hammer to drive the mandrel out through the back of the rivet
  • Use the air chisel to peel the head off each rivet
It can be done with a regular hammer instead but it's not so fast. I did some with a 4 pound "mini sledge" hammer just to see how it went.

Once I had the technique down, and in particular the re-ground chisel helped immensely, I could buzz the heads off the small rivets in about one second each and the large rivets about 2-3 seconds each.

I agree the bare metal does look nice. But I find its greater radiant effect (as compared to a thin plywood etc) unpleasantly chilling in the winter, and I think you'll really struggle to get any meaningful insulation accomplished without removing the metal skin inside.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:42 AM   #6
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Here is some information that I think you may find useful in your decision, especially considering your intent to use a wood burning stove. I also noted that although Dow specifies superior adhesion on numerous products to prevent condensation, it fails to mention metals. In at least one of the SDS (safety data sheets) in specifically says that it is incompatible with metal compounds.

http://msdssearch.dow.com/PublishedL...romPage=GetDoc

"6. Cured foam is combustible and will burn if exposed
to temperatures above 240°F (116°C). Do not
apply GREAT STUFF™ foam around heaters, high
heat lamps or recessed lighting fixtures, radiators,
furnaces or fireplaces where it could contact heat-conducting
surfaces. Do not use GREAT STUFF™ foam
inside electrical boxes or panels (applications around the
boxes are permitted)."

Dow's main page for all types of "Great Stuff" if anyone is interested in reading more info.
GREAT STUFF™ Gaps & Cracks Insulating Foam Sealant
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Old 04-08-2015, 04:51 PM   #7
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Great Stuff is also super expensive. It only seems cheap because it's a few bucks a can. But it's like buying ketchup in 1oz bottles - the coverage is so small compared to other options that you pay way more per cubic foot overall.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:02 PM   #8
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"the chemicals left are corrosive to steel." Nat, that just isn't true.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:07 AM   #9
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uncured Great Stuff

Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
"the chemicals left are corrosive to steel." Nat, that just isn't true.
Maybe not the cured foam ol trunt, but you neglected to include the first part of Nat's quote
Quote:
Quote:
Great stuff expanding single part foam needs air to dry. If it doesn't dry and expand properly...
The OP was specifically asking about using it in a confined space, where it will not cure correctly if it does not have access to air. There is build post on here somewhere elaborating on how an application of great stuff remained fluid and only cured on the small surface area that was exposed at the insertion point of the nozzle, it was a mess to fix.

The company's own SDS for uncured Great Stuff, does say it is incompatible with metal compounds. The link to these documents is in my earlier post. I have no personal experience with metals and uncured Great Stuff, but I can tell you that the cured stuff changes to a very dark color when exposed to UV light over the course of a couple years.
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:02 PM   #10
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Right you are SL " Avoid contact with metals such as aluminum, brass, copper, galvanized metals, tin, zinc". Interesting that the (M)SDS doesn't mention steel. Of course the product is delivered in a steel vessel--probably coated with something?

Here's to a successful bus build and thanks.
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:55 PM   #11
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Spot on guys.

There was a thread back about 5 years ago on pirate 4x4 that showed a few pics if a real bad mess in a one ton camperized van build. That prompted me to do a bit of research.

I'm real glad that fellow member took the time to share that mistake. Years latter I have the opportunity to help save others from making the same mistake.

Filling support ribs, ("Hat Chanels") that have been painted inside, using common sense not to over fill the gap on a hot day is a bit different. Fill only a few inches at a time, moving from rib to rib in a big circle around the inside of my bus. There are over 30 ribs, so by the time I got back to the first rib I filled, and a quick drink of water, I was ready to start spraying foam again.

I did this on my bus and I feel 100% confident it will not cause any further corrosion.

I also pulled the old yellow fiberglass insulation out of the support ribs with a wire from the bottom before foaming. This is one more reason I removed the bottom outer skin panels off my bus.

Nat
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:56 PM   #12
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Wow, all this information is so great! You are right about the cost, I did the math and there are 30+ panels, with one can per panel @ $5+ bucks a piece... Yikes!!
Also, the fire safety is Huge for us (as it should be with everyone)
The way it would corrode metal is also a no brainier... Apparently they don't advertise this aspect well, though!
Thanks a bunch, everyone!! Time to cross that not-so-great-stuff of our list.

I called around to local insulation places as well. They mostly said that their products won't work by drilling a hole and spraying it in. Their products would just NOT fully cover the space, and get stuck near the point of entry. Figured, just thought I would try and ask if they had a miracle product. My good friend also mentioned that they use air to spray it in, which might make it travel farther. Nope!

However, one guy I spoke to mentioned "sand stuff that they pour in and around masonry bricks to insulate when building a house." He suggested looking into it, and I believe he was talking about perlite. Because it's lightweight, and "sandy", he thought it would work best to pour it in from the top. Anyone ever heard of this?
Sounds like another great option, but I wonder if the loose granular consistency will just jiggle out of any lost cracks, etc. and we will have a constant supply of perlite snow coming down.
Interesting concept, and the R value is comparable to spray in foam... But a big plus is that it is very fire resistant. It's also pretty hydrophobic, I think. (I'm just guessing that due to my observations working with it with plants, though.) Perhaps a medium grain perilite will work? It's not unreasonably expensive either.

Ah, we love that ceiling so much! It's shiny and pretty! Terrible for thermal bridges with all the rivets and beams, yes I know. But it's magnetic! :P

Oh hey, we started a website blog too, after requests from family and friends. thewolfbus.com. Some pics on there, and more to come. Although I suppose all of our bus ceilings are pretty similar, lol!!
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Old 04-09-2015, 09:16 PM   #13
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Most folks from here won't follow your build on http://thewolfbus.com/, myself included.

Host your build here like the rest of us for maximum viewing.

Nat
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:18 PM   #14
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Most folks from here won't follow your build on thewolfbus, myself included.

Host your build here like the rest of us for maximum viewing.

Nat
Ah, sorry. Didn't know that was the custom here. Just thought the pictures are already up there, and if others enjoy looking at others projects as much as I do, thought it might be fun.

Didn't mean to offend! I was just putting it there so I'm not just another random newbie poster.
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:06 PM   #15
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However, one guy I spoke to mentioned "sand stuff that they pour in and around masonry bricks to insulate when building a house." He suggested looking into it, and I believe he was talking about perlite. Because it's lightweight, and "sandy", he thought it would work best to pour it in from the top. Anyone ever heard of this?
I've posted about this stuff in the wood heating thread, not as something to actually use in a Skoolie but just as general information, one of the options for insulating chimneys when installing stainless liners. It's a "pour down" product, and it's usually vermiculite, not perlite (perlite has high water content and can absorb even more), mixed with a small amount of portland cement. You don't mix it like concrete - you just slightly dampen it enough to activate the portland cement, and it pours down like very light, very coarse sand.

In chimneys it's the bees' knees - as long as the surrounding flue isn't so huge that it takes a dozen bags (it's a bit of work to mix and get onto the roof), it makes great insulation, provides rigid support to the liner, and if NECESSARY, is removable - you bang it around with a chain or pole and it breaks back up enough to vacuum out. It's a H*** of a lot of work to remove, but it can be done.

In a skoolie I don't know what you'd use this stuff for. It's easily fractured when vibrated/shocked and although I suppose you could stuff it between two sheets of stainless or something for heat shielding, stainless or cement board mounted on stand-offs works just great.

This stuff is very lightweight - but only compared to concrete. As a pour-in insulator for a wall it provides a poor R value. Its main purpose is to be heat/fire-proof insulation for flues, where the main goal is to a) not be flammable, while at the same time b) keeping the flue warmER to minimize creosote condensation and improve its draft. This is mainly done in exterior masonry chimneys where outside-air cooling is a problem.

It can achieve both of these things with a very low R value. I wouldn't bother with it in a wall. The existing bus wall is so thin that you'd be lucky to get R-1 or R-2.

If anybody wants a video of this I can post one - I have a half bag left from a previous project. But as I said I think it would be a waste. I wouldn't recommend it in a skoolie. You're still going to get all the thermal bridging around the metal support channels, and it's not going to add enough to the walls to be worth the money.
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:39 PM   #16
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If anybody wants a video of this I can post one - I have a half bag left from a previous project. But as I said I think it would be a waste. I wouldn't recommend it in a skoolie. You're still going to get all the thermal bridging around the metal support channels, and it's not going to add enough to the walls to be worth the money.
Thank you! I really appreciate all of your knowledge!

On to looking for an air hammer, I suppose. Just have to convince the boyfriend that the ceiling needs to come down.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:29 AM   #17
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Justin keeps saying "there's got to be another way".

We want a deck up top... Maybe that is our solution!
On to researching that.

All of your replies are absolutely amazing, I can't thank you all enough for your insight. I'm so happy for this website and its forums!! It's a life saver!!
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:07 PM   #18
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Justin keeps saying "there's got to be another way".

There is.

It's called sweating your self half to death, and freezing almost to death in a bus with a uninsulated pretty metal ceiling.

We tell it only like it is.

Roof deck or not, that metal ceiling needs to come down.

Nat
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:05 PM   #19
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I have to confess I may have misled you a little bit about the easiness of pulling down the ceiling. Last night I removed my own ceiling and was disappointed to find that although the walls seemed to be fastened with aluminum rivets, those in the ceiling were definitely steel and didn't shear off with the air chisel as fast as the aluminum kind do. It still worked, but it tore the metal more and it took longer (5-10 seconds each).
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:43 PM   #20
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I have to confess I may have misled you a little bit about the easiness of pulling down the ceiling. Last night I removed my own ceiling and was disappointed to find that although the walls seemed to be fastened with aluminum rivets, those in the ceiling were definitely steel and didn't shear off with the air chisel as fast as the aluminum kind do. It still worked, but it tore the metal more and it took longer (5-10 seconds each).

We really appreciate your insight.
Did you still use the same method... The one posted earlier with the air hammer and modified chisel?
How many chisels did you go through with the ceiling?
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