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Old 05-13-2017, 01:43 PM   #1
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Need help selecting ceiling insulation materials

Hey. I'm new here. My partner and I are currently converting an E-450 based shuttle bus and I'm hung up about what to insulate my ceiling with. I've dug extensively through the the forum but haven't exactly found what I need.

My ceiling is gutted and whats exposed is a thin layer of steel(?) and the steel ribs. The outer shell is fiberglass. I've figured on using 1/8" or 1/4" luan for the ceiling.

What i can't figure is what to put between the ribs. I've seen foam blocks (which is what was originally up there) and I've heard people talking about expanding foam insulation like great stuff. I know great stuff can't be used in a enclosed space so would one have to put it up and then shave it down before putting up the boards? Is this any easier or cheaper or more effective than using styrofoam blocks? Is there a third thing I'm completely missing? I a reflectix layer a good idea?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-13-2017, 01:58 PM   #2
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Inexperienced opinion here: All those sound like good ideas, at least as far as my research has led me to believe. Spray foam seems to be king if you can afford it, otherwise it seems like rigid foam boards, spray foam in between to seal, and reflectix seems like the next best.

I plan to do just that: spray foam if I can afford it, otherwise rigid foam with spray foam to seal, and reflectix. Some more experienced people should chime in soon..
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Old 05-13-2017, 03:29 PM   #3
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Aside from the spray foam and rigid insulation is the newer rockwool. Some are using that in their builds currently.

The long term thought is that you can use a thin coat of spray foam to insulate the outer skin and ribs 1/2" deep, eliminating condensation while also sealing the interior. Use any other type of insulation, or more foam, to fill in to whatever depth you feel you need. Some have six inch thick walls and ceilings, usually involving several types of insulation. It's all about how you intend to use your bus.

I have spray foam filling the walls and ceilings to rib level. Beyond that I put up 1/2" rigid insulation before putting in a durable interior surface of plywood. I've also retained all my windows, which isn't good during cold weather, so I've cut panels of insulation that cover one or more window frames. I estimate a 70% reduction in heating energy this winter, which was a unusually hard winter this year. I don't have experience with other types of insulation so it's hard to make a comparitive conclusion.
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Old 05-13-2017, 04:13 PM   #4
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How thick are most bus ribs? I was thinking of spray foam up to that thickness then other insulation outside that. Can you get spray foam less than the thickness of the ribs so the extra insulation you get doesn't go past the ribs? Or is it hard to gauge when spraying? I guess ideally it would be good to get spray foam up to ribs then other insulation beyond that to increase r value.
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Old 05-13-2017, 04:32 PM   #5
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I'm having some issues with R-values. The 1/2" rigid styrofoam insulation I use against the windows has an R-value of just under 2. Yet it works very well in freezing temperatures, as well as stopping the sun on hot days. Doesn't make sense.
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Old 05-13-2017, 04:58 PM   #6
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I remember you talking about that somewhere... Weird huh? Maybe we don't need as much R value as we think. I'd still rather over do it than under do it.
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Old 05-13-2017, 06:38 PM   #7
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It just makes me think. Has anyone done only the 1/2" of spray foam? I honestly don't know how spray foam compares to styrofoam in R-value but it seems they'd be similar. Rigid styrofoam flat against a window works well in the winter, so I'm wondering if 1/2" of spray foam would possibly be adequate in that same sense that the styrofoam seems to work. Maybe I'll try that on my next bus.
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Old 05-13-2017, 06:46 PM   #8
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Honestly it's making me thinking that spray foam might be overkill for the price and R value. It just keeps coming back to an effective vapor barrier...
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Old 05-13-2017, 06:47 PM   #9
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I've installed 1" rigid insulation on the sides, with removable panels for the door and windshield. Remember, though, you'll lose/gain more heat through the roof. This 1" gives me an R-6 on the sides. I haven't insulated the overhead (yet), but I've already done TWO Montana winters in Brunhilde. I use catalytic heaters to keep the cold down to a manageable level.
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Old 05-13-2017, 08:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStinker View Post
Hey. I'm new here. My partner and I are currently converting an E-450 based shuttle bus and I'm hung up about what to insulate my ceiling with. I've dug extensively through the the forum but haven't exactly found what I need.

My ceiling is gutted and whats exposed is a thin layer of steel(?) and the steel ribs. The outer shell is fiberglass. I've figured on using 1/8" or 1/4" luan for the ceiling.

What i can't figure is what to put between the ribs. I've seen foam blocks (which is what was originally up there) and I've heard people talking about expanding foam insulation like great stuff. I know great stuff can't be used in a enclosed space so would one have to put it up and then shave it down before putting up the boards? Is this any easier or cheaper or more effective than using styrofoam blocks? Is there a third thing I'm completely missing? I a reflectix layer a good idea?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
hello, i'm the inexperienced voice on this thread.
I'm in planning/research stages of my adventure - bus purchase is in process.
Though spray foam insulation(s) is wildly popular, I don't want it in my bus home. That's a personal choice because of health.
I have been looking into radiant foil and specific insulating of 'metal buildings'.
I see my bus as a building on wheels that happens to be made of pretty serious metal, so figure that insulation geared to metal buildings would be suitable.
https://www.radiantguard.com/pages/h...ls%20&%20roofs
This link may be of help in your query.
Idea I have is to strap & insulate exterior, then sheath with wood or metal. Then do another process for the interior - vapor barrier, strap, insulate, sheath. I don't know what 'R' value this approach would give, or what challenges will present themselves. Like with many insulation approaches, the answers lie miles and years down the road...
very best to you,
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