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Old 07-02-2007, 11:18 PM   #1
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Insulation options and best practices

I've seen online everything from just leaving the existing interior walls and insulation intact, to stripping out the interior sheetmetal and insulation, and going back in with foil, foam, and panelling.

So, what's really best? Keeping whats there? Adding foam over what is there (interior panels and all) or stripping everything to the frame and exterior skin and starting from the ground up?

What about the floor insulation? I'm thinking 1" foam covered by 1/2" plywood and then laminate over that.

This will be in the South (NC) with trips all over, mostly southeast US, some cross-country travel.
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:11 AM   #2
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Re: Insulation options and best practices

Another thing you see people doing is drilling some holes in the panels and squirting expanding foam up into the roof so that you don't have to actually remove the panels.
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:07 PM   #3
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Re: Insulation options and best practices

I used 2.5" of Fomular (Home Depot's styrofoam sheathing product) in the ceiling and 2" in the walls over the existing interior surfaces and covered with the new panelling. In the floor I used 1" of Fomular on top of existing floor and covered by 3/4" subfloor. I am still considering whether or not to use insulating ceramic paint on the exterior of the roof.

I did not use the foil/bubble insulation at all because those extreme R values are only achieved when used with the specified air space between it and other materials. Sandwich it in and it becomes virtually useless. It is very useful in an attic or warehouse, but not in a bus.
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:39 PM   #4
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Re: Insulation options and best practices

Two things I'd recommend...especially if you're going to be in sunny places:
1. Paint the exterior a light color
2. Utilize a layer foil-faced insuation facing outward...not necessarily for the R-value but so that the solar radiation is reflected outward

Your bus is a steel tube and will become an oven if allowed. Those two items have allowed us to live w/o air conditioning in the southwestern US.

That being said...the outside skin of your bus is steel...the ribs/structure are steel, and the inside skin of your bus is steel. Metal is a very efficient conductor of heat...which goes both ways (brings heat in....and lets heat out/cold in (so to speak)). So the existing insulation isn't very effective, IMO, so anything that can be done is an improvement over what's there.

Good luck
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Old 07-09-2007, 05:42 PM   #5
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Re: Insulation options and best practices

I learned in a hurry that the insulation in the floor is just as important in the summer as in the winter. Actually, I have yet to use my bus in the winter to be perfectly honest. In the summer the floor insulation keeps out the heat from the drivetrain and exhaust while quieting everything down. My floor has 1x2 (nominal) furring strips with 3/4 inch rigid foam insulation. On top of that is the vapor barrier (Which works! You should see the condensation that drains from that bus sometimes. ) covered with plywood of some oddball thickness (got a deal). In the front is industrial carpet while the rear had a thicker pile which has since been removed. I too am going the laminate route next time I get down to the Ikea in the Twin Cities.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:33 PM   #6
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Re: Insulation options and best practices

My first bus had 3/4 OSB over steel floor with closed loop (office type) carpet glued down. It was cold in the winter, but seemed fine in the summer. It did feel really solid. The new bus is getting rigid foam (thickness will depend on ceiling height, I don't have the bus home yet) covered by 3/4 OSB. The first setup worked fine, but I'm going all out on this one.
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Old 01-01-2008, 11:28 PM   #7
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Re: Insulation options and best practices

I've been thinking about this topic lately.

Has anyone here actually injected spray foam into the ceiling of their skoolie as an alternative to taking the ceiling down to insulate? I am wondering if that would really work very well since the interior metal would still be in communication with the exterior skin.
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Old 01-02-2008, 01:39 PM   #8
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Re: Insulation options and best practices

Quote:
Originally Posted by dentarthurdent
I've been thinking about this topic lately.

Has anyone here actually injected spray foam into the ceiling of their skoolie as an alternative to taking the ceiling down to insulate? I am wondering if that would really work very well since the interior metal would still be in communication with the exterior skin.
I remember reading an article about one guy putting rigid foam insulation on the outside of the roof. He then covered it with sheets of thin metal over it. He used it on an old GMC transit bus, which he converted.

The beauty of his system was very little conduction of heat through the metal, no sacrificing of head room, and it was cheap.

I've been trying to find the article, but I can't remember where it was at. I'll keep on trying.

Robert
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:38 PM   #9
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Re: Insulation options and best practices

Guys, I was just thinking I wonder if covering the insulation with rubber, instead of metal, be a better option?

Fasten the insulation to the roof, cover it with that heavy rubber used on RVs or homes, and coated with Plas-T-Coat stuff.

I'm looking for any input.

Robert
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Old 01-02-2008, 03:59 PM   #10
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Re: Insulation options and best practices

For my floor, I laid down the 3/4" thick sheets of pink foam board insulation. I used 1x2 firring strips around the edges and through the middle as well. The 1x2's are actually 3/4" thick. Then, I laid some 7/16" thick sub flooring sheets down on top of that. It's a nice, solid feeling floor. The whole thing cost me about $150. The insulation is the main expense. The 4x8 sheets were almost $10 each. I needed 7 of them. Then, the sub flooring sheets were about $6 each. Again, I needed 7 of them. Then the firring strips were $1 each and I used about 25 of them. Then there was the nightmare with finding the right screws! Just use some TEK screws. It's the best way.
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