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Old 07-21-2017, 11:02 PM   #11
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Location: Katy, TX
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We had a 32' travel trailer we full-timed in Houston. In the winter it was COLD. Even with the heater system working full-tilt it still was COLD. We are spray-foaming the bus to be better insulated by foaming the first two inches that had fiberglass fill, replace the sheet metal, put wood 2X4s over the sheet metal, spray foam an additional 2 inches then 1/8th inch birch wood covering to give an excellent "R" value. We're in the second year of building, mostly by myself. So hopefully this gives you an idea of a good insulation plan. However, it seems you are in a pinch. I'd still get rid of the fiberglass insulation because it has next to no insulation value. Use some insulation board. The "R" value will be better than the fiberglass and quicker/cheaper than spray foam. In addition the fiberglass poses a health issue to get rid of. Shards of glass are not a healthy thing.

Just sayin'. Hope this helps.

M
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Old 07-21-2017, 11:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
We had a 32' travel trailer we full-timed in Houston. In the winter it was COLD. Even with the heater system working full-tilt it still was COLD. We are spray-foaming the bus to be better insulated by foaming the first two inches that had fiberglass fill, replace the sheet metal, put wood 2X4s over the sheet metal, spray foam an additional 2 inches then 1/8th inch birch wood covering to give an excellent "R" value. We're in the second year of building, mostly by myself. So hopefully this gives you an idea of a good insulation plan. However, it seems you are in a pinch. I'd still get rid of the fiberglass insulation because it has next to no insulation value. Use some insulation board. The "R" value will be better than the fiberglass and quicker/cheaper than spray foam. In addition the fiberglass poses a health issue to get rid of. Shards of glass are not a healthy thing.

Just sayin'. Hope this helps.

M
Thank you very much! That is very helpful.
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Old 07-22-2017, 03:32 AM   #13
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since you are inexperienced at bus conversion, properly insulating a metal school bus to be warm in - 25 temp with 35 mph wind would most likely be a difficult task. Not many people would probably do it correctly the first time, and having lived in the bush in AK for a few yrs i know how cold it really gets for quite a while n the winter.

as far as insulation, your bus will need to be really sealed tight with lots of insulation whether foam board or several inches spray foam.
as far as the bus, you should have all the heaters for engine, batteries, transmission, etc.,l but most northern busses that are used come with that stuff already
i would also reccomend insulated plywood panels to be placed on the ground around the sides of the bus to keep the floor, etc warm. is same thing as mobile home skirting.
Dont know what u would do for heat, but even small size wood stove will most likely have a hard time keeping an entire bus warm when about january ...i found in AK that in extreme cold the small wood stove was very hot, yet the outside wall were cold, even with the insulation...
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:49 AM   #14
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Cost n time

Another way to look at it,
If you work full time all year in a normal job the average person works 2000 hrs per year, gutting a bus, insulating it, making it look like a decent Cabin inside, adding minimal furnature kitchen and bath will probably take 200+ hours of work, if you have skills.
It will take a thousand dollars of tools, a thousand for insulation uninstalled, the money adds up quick.

Just something to think about..
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Old 07-22-2017, 11:28 AM   #15
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Without going all doom and gloom, the simple fact is that a metal frame bus is not designed with temperature control in mind. Steel on the outside connected to steel on the outside is an effective way of keeping the inside the same temp as the outside.

So the primary goal has to be to insulate yourself from that steel (and windows!). This doesn't need to be complicated, but it does need to be thorough! And in the grand scheme of things, the materials aren't expensive, but they're not cheap either.

Quick and dirty method: Get a few rolls of Reflectix insulation. Use it to cover every inch of the walls and ceiling. It's flexible so you can put it right up against the metal.

Next, get some insulating foam board. Well I say some but I mean a lot. It comes in 4x8 foot sheets. Use this to cover every inch of the reflectix. Avoid cutting it, when you need to go around a curve, score it so you can flex it around the curve. Use tape to seal the edges, you don't want free flowing air from behind it. Next, another layer of reflectix on top of that. As a bonus, a small amount of light (1 or 2 watt LED bulbs) will light up the whole place.

So most of your heat/cool escapes through the walls and ceiling, but with this much insulation you need to pay some attention to the floor. Some sort of skirt will indeed help a lot to keep the wind from pulling heat away, but also a layer of carpet will make a huge difference inside. You can get remnants, you can get mismatched, doesn't have to be expensive.

For the entrance.. Cut foam board to create a wall with a doorway. A couple hinges can make it into a real door, Covering both sides with reflectix (with overhang so you have flaps covering the gaps) will help a lot. Using thermal curtains inside to segment the sleeping area from the front will help too, keeping a small space warm is easier than keeping a large space warm.

A little wood stove should be bale to handle this setup now. Producing the heat isn't a big job if you can keep from losing it.
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Old 07-22-2017, 01:07 PM   #16
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Spray foam insulation is 100% the way to go. It will cost more upfront but it will probably keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer without consuming too much energy from a generator, solar, propane, and fire. Look up on YouTube skoolie conversions and regrets. Most will tell you that they regret cutting corners. There are so many great videos that you can learn from. I just bought my 1958 blue bird bus and will be converting it over the next year. I'm also a single mama and my daughter is 2.5 years old. Congratulations on opening up your new business and good luck!


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Old 07-22-2017, 02:50 PM   #17
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Do you have somewhere you can park your bus that has water & electrical hookups and neighbors/home owner associations that won't hassle you?
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Old 07-22-2017, 03:36 PM   #18
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I've survived two Montana winters in Brunhilde. So far, the insulation consists of 1" double-sided rigid foam on the sides and carpeting on the floor. I have electrical hook up, but my water consists of two 8 gal jugs. Heating is with a Wave 8 and a Wave 6 catalytic heater and two 40 gal propane tanks with an auto changeover. The first winter, I kept warm under about 1000 lbs of blankets. Winter 2 I got smarter - I purchased a German Federbett.
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Old 07-22-2017, 06:37 PM   #19
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Someone in Billings should know... I have been there in winter... was just as cold as AK. Not to mention b4 car block heaters my parents had hard time starting the car n winter sometimes.
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Old 07-22-2017, 06:42 PM   #20
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Spray foam is OK... but I prefer foam board and only spray in the edges, etc when my wiring and plumbing is roughed in. I do this because I often have to add more or change the wiring so even tho spray foam place is very close to me in oregon, is too much of hassle to deal with when working on the conversions.
Second reason I just drive by the foam place is that i do not like the finishing work that it requires
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