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Old 10-31-2016, 07:44 AM   #1
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allergic to debt.

Hey everyone!

My wife and I have made the decision to skoolie our way to independence. We have a small cafe and bakery and live on the mid-maine coast. We are looking at buses this week, and have a very limited amount of time to get this thing to dry and warm.

We have exactly one month to build out our bus, and are somewhat daunted, and apprehensive about the time we have, with the amount of work needing to be done. Maybe you can tell me if my method is a hideous idea or not.

Due to time restrictions, I'm not planning on gutting any of the shell, I am planning on using 2" furring in ribs around the entire shell (floor to ceiling) sliding in r10 insulation between the furring strips with sprayfoam to seal. Then planking the entire interior with .7"x5.5" pine.

Because we own a restaurant, and don't really need cooking (there is even a small shower in the basement of our cafe) This is only a living space. I have an amazing little potbelly woodstove that we are going to install.

I wish I had the time to gut and do it right, but time is not on our side. I am trying to figure out where (if any) moisture barrier should go into the design, I am a little worried about condensation between the new insulation and metal paneling, however the woodstove should make for a pretty dry environment.

Any of you multi-bus builders done something like this? Am I crazy for thinking this will work? Maine winters can be brutal, but I've done my share of crappy rentals out here, so it doesn't need to be posh.

Thanks everyone, I'm really enjoying reading through these forums and I'm sure I will be posting a whole lot over the next few weeks.

Patrick
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:08 AM   #2
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:22 AM   #3
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thats a pretty quick timeline to buy, learn, and build.. and still run your business..

if it were me, I would seriously find a way to gain yourself a little more time so you dont rash decision things because its getting cold out.....

-Christopher
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:26 AM   #4
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Hey. My wife and are in a similar situation. We decided its best to start our build after the winter (we live in New York). Your one month time frame seems really tight but doable if you have the right tools and knowledge.

Any reason why you have to have it done so quickly?

When you say living space what utilities are you looking to install?

If you plan on using it during the winter with a woodstove you definitely need a moisture barrier
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:41 AM   #5
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buying private sale (so not much worry about time, give the guy cash, he signs title, I drive it away), and I'm a pretty competent builder (including owning all the tools I could need.) My best friend drives school buses for a living, so he can drive it to the (very private hidden) land (where no one will be checking my registration or plates) and if it goes a couple 3 weeks over, I can always sleep on the floor at the cafe.

It's nice to own the cafe where the cops come to get their coffee. They are a little more willing to look the other way while I move the thing and get our ducks in a row.

I agree it's not ideal, but the other alternatives are worse. Our current options
-sign a year lease on a crappy trailer for $800 a month (no utilities included)
-live in a tent through maine's winter
-stay with my parents and commute 1.5hrs to and from my business (no time to work on bus)

If we do this I will have 2 full days a week, and about 4 hours every other day to work on it with my wife, I also have friends that will pitch in a hand here or there.

This will be 100% off-grid for now. Composting toilet, oil lamps, However I am going to run wire and outlets before I plank everything. We have 4 years experience living off grid, without electricity or running water.

Moisture barrier on metal face before insulation, or on top of new insulation under planking?
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:59 AM   #6
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Moisture barrier thing is tricky. From what i read there's no clear answer on what will actually work.
Quote:
If you're in a place like Miami where it'll almost never be colder outdoors than indoors, a vapor barrier on outer surface of a wall assembly may be OK. If you're in Maine and never use an air conditioner, a vapor barrier on the inner surface may be OK. If you're in a cold climate, however, and do use air conditioning, you need to be careful with interior vapor barriers like polyethylene. You could be creating the kind of problems I described in scenario 1 above.
Source

I'm planing on painting the inside walls of the bus with an insulation type paint. Hopefully this will not only protect it from vapor build up but also prevent the wood from acting as a thermal bridge.

Insulation Coatings - Sound Damping Insulation | Mascoat
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:01 AM   #7
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Moisture barrier thing is tricky. From what i read there's no clear answer on what will actually work.
Quote:
If you're in a place like Miami where it'll almost never be colder outdoors than indoors, a vapor barrier on outer surface of a wall assembly may be OK. If you're in Maine and never use an air conditioner, a vapor barrier on the inner surface may be OK. If you're in a cold climate, however, and do use air conditioning, you need to be careful with interior vapor barriers like polyethylene. You could be creating the kind of problems I described in scenario 1 above.
Source

I'm planing on painting the inside walls of the bus with an insulation type paint. Hopefully this will not only protect it from vapor build up but also prevent the wood from acting as a thermal bridge.

Insulation Coatings - Sound Damping Insulation | Mascoat
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Old 11-01-2016, 10:38 AM   #8
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Well, after looking at 6 busses over the last 2 days, we have decided to rent somewhere and work on it over the next year. I am just not confident I can do the work with how cold it is already, cold hands make for slow work. Still going to do this, just gonna do it right, rip it all out and raise a roof extension on the back at least. This also gives me the time to find the right bus.

Maybe I'm getting old, but my body just can't do what it could do 10 years ago, good to realize this now rather than in a month when we are sleeping on exposed insulation with a wood stove and condensation rolling down the walls.

Sigh, why can't my body stay 20 with unlimited energy and run on 4hrs of sleep a day.

Thanks everyone. More to come.
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadtrickery View Post
Well, after looking at 6 busses over the last 2 days, we have decided to rent somewhere and work on it over the next year. I am just not confident I can do the work with how cold it is already, cold hands make for slow work. Still going to do this, just gonna do it right, rip it all out and raise a roof extension on the back at least. This also gives me the time to find the right bus.

Maybe I'm getting old, but my body just can't do what it could do 10 years ago, good to realize this now rather than in a month when we are sleeping on exposed insulation with a wood stove and condensation rolling down the walls.

Sigh, why can't my body stay 20 with unlimited energy and run on 4hrs of sleep a day.

Thanks everyone. More to come.
I rushed into my first bus. It cost me dearly. BIG mistake.

You're doing the right thing here. Feel free to stick around while you're waiting for next year, though. You seem like nice folks.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:16 PM   #10
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the r-10 insulation if it is foam board you can have one side of it as a vapor barrier. your timeline is exceptionally tight and unless you want to throw money at it. i suggest after you pull the chairs you consider the hidden rust factor. if you choose to just build over it it may come back to haunt you. that aside you can make your idea work but it wont be pretty. oh also buy a dehumidifier!
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