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Old 07-06-2017, 02:13 PM   #1
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Red face Insulation in walls and ceiling

I'm new at this. Looking at getting a short bus - probably a 5 window - to convert as a home. I'm prepared to have to insulate the floor properly. Wondering what the consensus is on whether or not the walls and ceiling need to be re-insulated as well. I'd like to avoid as much of the rivet-removal trauma as possible.

Currently in Texas. Hopefully going to get a Texas bus. The bus will likely need to take us to the Pacific North West, but winter will probably be spent a bit further south. I imagine the existing insulation in the ceiling and walls will be sufficient to keep enough heat out in summer (I know AC is our only real hope against Texas sun). How difficult is it to keep a smaller bus warm in winter without a complete re-insultation job?
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Old 07-06-2017, 03:07 PM   #2
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So I went through this and let me summarize my findings.

Most buses have a steel outer shell, a steel frame in the middle, and a steel shell on the inside. Then they fill the empty space with insulation. But since you have steel connecting the inside shell to the outside shell, you don't have any sort of thermal break. If it's hot outside, the frame will happily transfer that heat to the inner shell, bypassing the insulation entirely.

So let's talk about options.

You could install a thermal break. Basically you would use some sort of insulating material to prevent the outer shell from touching the frame.Are you going to be able to stop metal-to-metal contact on every bolt and rivet? I doubt it. I know I couldn't, so I didn't do this.

You could pull out the inside panels and put a layer of insulation inside the outer shell. This is pretty popular. You lose a little bit of rigidity doing it, but I haven't ever heard of anyone having issues from doing it. Just pull out all the interior panels, rip out the existing inslation, and go crazy with your insulator of choice. A friend of mine used a double layer of blue insulating foam board plus a layer of reflectix and that box really held its temperature nicely! Your bux probably doesn't have a square interior, so you'll end up with wasted space (aka air gaps!) if you use foam board. One good option is to layer the inside with regular fiberglass roll-out insulation and then reflectix inside of that to hold it in.

Or, if you're lazy like me, you can just put reflectix over any surfaces you want to insulate. I'll be honest, I've only done most of the back wall and the windows. If I were starting from scratch, I would put a layer of reflectix all the way around with holes cut for windows. If you're planning to follow springtime like us, it's easy to deal with it being a little warmer or a little cooler than optimal. If you're trying to live in Miami, this won't be an option without a power hookup and an AC unit.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:45 AM   #3
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Hi. I'm in Texas too (Ft. Worth) and just finished removing the wall and ceiling panels on my Bluebird. I was too concerned about the unknown behind the metal to leave it.

I just wanted to say that, with the proper tools, the rivet removal was not a big deal. Air hammer and chisel made simple work out of it. A day's work and I got a whopping $20 for the salvaged metal!
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for your take. So you just left the walls as they are and put another layer of insulation on the inside?
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Old 07-13-2017, 01:51 PM   #5
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Nope. I pulled out 400 pounds of panels.

Just sprayed foam insulation today, as a matter of fact.

Running decking and 2x2 exterior walls next. I considered not running exterior walls, but figured I needed something to screw cabinets and furniture to. I'm only building three interiors to frame in the facilities.
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Old 07-14-2017, 10:57 AM   #6
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Did anyone have any issues with their insulation trapping moisture and causing any rust issues or rotting any wood paneling or cabinets?


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Old 07-14-2017, 11:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otis Tetrax View Post
I'm new at this. Looking at getting a short bus - probably a 5 window - to convert as a home. I'm prepared to have to insulate the floor properly. Wondering what the consensus is on whether or not the walls and ceiling need to be re-insulated as well. I'd like to avoid as much of the rivet-removal trauma as possible.

Currently in Texas. Hopefully going to get a Texas bus. The bus will likely need to take us to the Pacific North West, but winter will probably be spent a bit further south. I imagine the existing insulation in the ceiling and walls will be sufficient to keep enough heat out in summer (I know AC is our only real hope against Texas sun). How difficult is it to keep a smaller bus warm in winter without a complete re-insultation job?
Whats in there shouldn't even be called "insulation" it should be called "half assed panel filling".
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:40 AM   #8
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Did anyone have any issues with their insulation trapping moisture and causing any rust issues or rotting any wood paneling or cabinets?


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My insulation and the steel interior were hiding a ton of mildew, rust, and all sorts of horrible things. I'm GLAD AS HELL I chose not to build over all that nastiness.
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