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Old 05-25-2017, 08:57 AM   #1
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Attaching Ceiling Panels

Hello,

I am working to frame my bus now and because I am pretty tall for a gal I don't have a lot of room to work with overhead in my '97 Thomas International. For this reason I wanted to forgo adding furring strips to the ceiling and attach my panels directly to the ribs. Is this possible to do?

Also, my bus seems to be not like many others and doesn't have vertical and horizontal ribs, only horizontal. Will this give me enough support of my paneling?

Thank you so much for the help! These probably seem like pretty simple questions but I can not find the answers and I am learning/teaching myself EVERYthing as I go.

Many Many Thanks!
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:06 AM   #2
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You could attach panels directly to the ribs, but most of us feel there is to much thermal energy transfer so choose to put up sheets of 1/2" rigid styrofoam between the ribs and ceiling panels. Part of the purpose of using rigid insulation between the ribs and ceiling panels is to eliminate any condensation from the steel ribs from contacting the wood.

Everybody has a little different plan for their insulation needs. It would be nice to actually know what works best, but that would require real world experience with each type of insulation process.
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Old 05-25-2017, 12:10 PM   #3
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I attached my wood ceiling directly to the ribs as I did not want to sacrifice any height. I did not use panels, I used 1/4 inch thick tongue and groove boards. It worked out pretty well

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Old 05-25-2017, 01:20 PM   #4
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Piersg; Looks great. By now I'm guessing you can really feel the heat where the ribs are on the inside under the 1/4" panels on a warm day.

happiinesshunter; Considering you're in a '97 Thomas International, I'm doubting your ribs are different than the rest of us are accustomed to working on. If you feel the ribs are different in your bus some photos would help clear things up.
You can attach your ceiling panels directly to the ribs, but as mentioned previously you will be able to feel the heat/cold through your chosen ceiling material because of thermal transfer.
This is just a suggestion for you to consider. Use 1/2" styrofoam rigid insulation between the ribs and your ceiling material. It squishes down quite a bit as you attach your ceiling and you won't loose much headroom, while creating a small thermal break between the ribs and ceiling materials.
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Old 05-25-2017, 02:03 PM   #5
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There is not a noticeable difference in the temperature, but if I use an infra red thermometer there is about a .5 degree difference in between the two areas. I expect that when I repaint the roof that will also help.
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Old 05-25-2017, 02:58 PM   #6
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I plan on cutting some wooden rib look-alikes out of wood and attaching them to the side of my steel ribs. It's just so hard to drill through this heat-treated steel. These will be anchoring points for tongue and groove wood, flexible conduit, etc. They'll also create a sort of thermal break without having to thicken the ceiling.
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:54 PM   #7
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Working on a similar setup, I'm using peel and seal. Used it before on other car projects to deaden sound but it also creates a barrier for draft leaks. My plan is to roll one across each beam and cover the seams. Be careful to roll it on flat after paint has thoroughly dried and cut out drill holes before sticking down. (the tar sticks to the screws and creates a real mess)
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Old 05-30-2017, 05:40 PM   #8
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I added a faux tin ceiling made of Styrofoam ..it was very cheap to do and looks great. I never really considered insulating the bus too much due to the 13 windows that we have left uncovered to make it less claustrophobic and provide plenty of ventilation.
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Old 06-10-2017, 12:52 PM   #9
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We are considering using the thermal bubble roll (Reflectix 16 in. x 25 ft. Double Reflective Insulation with Staple Tab-ST16025 - The Home Depot) and either the thin wood paneling or styrofoam ceiling panels to keep as much height as possible. Our bus was partly converted when we got it and already has 1/2 rigid and 3/4 ply on the floor with laminate over and my husband is almost touching the ceiling as it is.
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piersg View Post
I attached my wood ceiling directly to the ribs as I did not want to sacrifice any height. I did not use panels, I used 1/4 inch thick tongue and groove boards. It worked out pretty well

.

Can you give me specifics like where you got the t&g, the length, type and size of screws/washers? Things like that ? I'm in this phase right now and doing my research . Yours looks really nice and the method I want to go with.

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Old 02-05-2018, 09:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobeamiss View Post
Can you give me specifics like where you got the t&g, the length, type and size of screws/washers? Things like that ? I'm in this phase right now and doing my research . Yours looks really nice and the method I want to go with.

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Looks Great. I also would love to find out what materials you used to attach the T&G. self tapping screws, glue, ...?

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Old 06-21-2018, 09:57 PM   #12
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I wanted to bump this thread and ask if there were any updates to all of the setups mentioned? Any issues with extreme cold attaching directly to the ribs? I was considering pumping some Great Stuff into the steel ribs to help with the thermal transfer? Do you all think it would even help? I have a 2002 Thomas short bus and I put 1" foam insulation on the floor with 1/2" plywood ... I'm 5' 11" and my hair touches the ceiling as it is without any plywood or planks installed!
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrickhitches View Post
I wanted to bump this thread and ask if there were any updates to all of the setups mentioned? Any issues with extreme cold attaching directly to the ribs? I was considering pumping some Great Stuff into the steel ribs to help with the thermal transfer? Do you all think it would even help? I have a 2002 Thomas short bus and I put 1" foam insulation on the floor with 1/2" plywood ... I'm 5' 11" and my hair touches the ceiling as it is without any plywood or planks installed!
I think it would be expensive, laborious and have no measurable effect.There's roughly 709sf of insulated space in my bus. If you take out the 2" rib fifteen times that's 45sf. Because it is broken up I doubt the 2 of non insulation is going to be noticeable. What will be noticeable is the 645sf of added insulation.
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Old 06-22-2018, 06:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrickhitches View Post
I wanted to bump this thread and ask if there were any updates to all of the setups mentioned? Any issues with extreme cold attaching directly to the ribs? I was considering pumping some Great Stuff into the steel ribs to help with the thermal transfer? Do you all think it would even help? I have a 2002 Thomas short bus and I put 1" foam insulation on the floor with 1/2" plywood ... I'm 5' 11" and my hair touches the ceiling as it is without any plywood or planks installed!
Pumping great stuff into the ribs will only make them rot.

Besides- the ribs in a lot of buses are stuffed with fiberglass.
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:09 AM   #15
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What ECCB said. Great Stuff may be "great" for lots of things but not this. It will attack metal plus very likely never set in an enclosed area.
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Old 06-22-2018, 12:20 PM   #16
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What ECCB said. Great Stuff may be "great" for lots of things but not this. It will attack metal plus very likely never set in an enclosed area.
Plus the metal is just bridging all the cold/heat right around any attempt at insulating INSIDE the ribs.
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Old 09-23-2018, 03:55 AM   #17
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:09 AM   #18
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Ecb and Tango, do you have any scientific article about great stuff causing corrosion?
I would see no reason that it would unless you trap moisture inside that cavity as well or if you allow water to penetrate between the foam and steel. As far as curing goes ..... Just do small amounts at a time and let it cure.

Then depending on the bus roof construction... Our small bus Elfie has three aluminum sheets running length wise. The roof seams are riveted to the purlins in between the roof ribs. Actually the roof sheets are not in intimated contact with the ribs.. There is a 1/32 to 1/16 gap at most locations. Not sure if the engineers designed it life that for better flexing ability. Either way it shows less potential for leaks.

I for sure would fill our small bus ribs up with foam.
Oh ..our Econoline has the A pillars filled with foam (OEM) to help with noise and increase kink resistance in case of an accident.

Later j
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:35 AM   #19
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Great stuff is often called "rust starter" in the custom/hot rod world.

I've only ever used it for minor stuff around the house.
Do some google searching and you'll find lots of info about it causing a reaction/rust.
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