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Old 08-13-2019, 08:25 AM   #1
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Take down walls or build over

I have a question about the bus panels and ceiling. Iím seeing some take everything down. But why take everything down? Why not build over it? Is it a leaking issue or a insulation issue? Or personal preference?
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:23 AM   #2
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Lots of people do this. Do you have enough headroom?
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:01 AM   #3
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I have a question about the bus panels and ceiling. Iím seeing some take everything down. But why take everything down? Why not build over it? Is it a leaking issue or a insulation issue? Or personal preference?

As for the ceilings, metal conducts heat, and the original cheap fiberglass has a reputation for retaining moisture and mold/mildew. As such most people opt to remove the metal and fiberglass and check for rust/leaks and upgrade the insulation. As for the walls, add possible leaks around the windows to the mix. Most folks want to make sure there's no evidence of leaking around the windows, or in some cases remove the windows.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:00 AM   #4
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Even if your ceiling and walls aren't leaking, moisture can still build up due to condensation..leading to mold, rust, or just plain nastiness! I have built over the walls and two buses and regret doing it both times. Currently waiting to get back around to time number 3 on my current bus. Going to do it right this time
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:06 AM   #5
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Even if your ceiling and walls aren't leaking, moisture can still build up due to condensation..leading to mold, rust, or just plain nastiness! I have built over the walls on two buses and regret doing it both times. Currently waiting to get back around to attempt number 3 on my current bus. If your thinking about skipping this step because people are just getting crazy anal/thorough on there busses,dont. I don't think anyone ever wanted to get that involved in there project, they did it for good reason. If you decide to skip it, I would just make sure that your conversion is expendable(don't use expensive and non un replaceable building Products), as you very well might find yourself redoing it after a little experience has been earned. I would say also that it depends a lot on the climate that you live in. I, personally plan on doing it right this time best of luck
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:23 AM   #6
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With 250k on my bus I saw no eveidence of wet or moldy insulation. The reason I removed and filled the space with insulation was due to the poor performance for long term habitation of the batt insulation. Replacing it with rigid foam to get better R value, and also check for leaks. It also can save you 3"-4" of buildable floor space if you frame and insulate outside the wall. Beleive me, every square inch of floor space is valuable.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:30 AM   #7
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I have a question about the bus panels and ceiling. Iím seeing some take everything down. But why take everything down? Why not build over it? Is it a leaking issue or a insulation issue? Or personal preference?
I'm planning on spray foam ( likely, but maybe foam board ) on TOP of the bus, covered with pressure treated plywood and sheet rubber - if I don't like the look of the metal ceiling or if condensation is a problem, I might glue on some patterned vinyl - even if there had been a small leak in the ceiling, between closed cell foam and sheet rubber roofing, the roof won't leak for as long as my children are alive ( no promises to my grandkids or great grandkids, sorry ) - it would be nice to find a high ceiling bus, but as the people most likely to be using this skoolie/toy hauler are well under 6', a normal height ceiling should do the trick
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:43 PM   #8
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I built over my wall and floor, according to my line ticket on my bus, I have marine grade plywood on the sub floor and 2" fiberglass for the walls and roof along with insulated bow cavities (Ribs maybe). All optional equipment. I did not want to pull that all out of there, (the windows are your enemy anyway). I just framed 2x2 studs over the floor and side walls added 1-1/2" blue board insulation then caped off with 3/4" TG pine boards so my floors and walls are like 2 1/2" to 3" thick.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:13 PM   #9
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I think I’ve decided to leave the ceiling alone. No leaks and it’s going to be covered most of the time.
I do want to take out the side panels though. Any advice on a easy way to take them out?
If you want to follow me I’m mysunshineskoolie on Instagram.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:39 PM   #10
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I think Iíve decided to leave the ceiling alone. No leaks and itís going to be covered most of the time.
I do want to take out the side panels though. Any advice on a easy way to take them out?
If you want to follow me Iím mysunshineskoolie on Instagram.
If you're leaving the ceiling just leave it all.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:42 PM   #11
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If you're leaving the ceiling just leave it all.
I was going to say, having so much heat come through the roof, it would be a waste of labor to do anything to the walls.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:01 PM   #12
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I think I’ve decided to leave the ceiling alone. No leaks and it’s going to be covered most of the time.
I do want to take out the side panels though. Any advice on a easy way to take them out?
If you want to follow me I’m mysunshineskoolie on Instagram.

I'd recommend building over the ceiling. We left metal ceiling in and once the build was 90% done we realized it wasn't much more work to cover the ceiling with 1/2" foamboard and 5mm Luann plywood. It really cut down on the heat that radiated from outside and it only took a day of work. Plus it looks a LOT nicer....more of a finished look. As for the walls? I supposed it could go either way....we paid someone to do the demo of the walls for us. At a minimum, I'd insulate with 1/2" or 3/4" foamboard over the metal, then some sort of wood over that.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:51 PM   #13
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I left my original ceiling and original walls. The floor got 1/4" insulation under the plywood and I framed my walls with 2X4's and insulated over the factory walls. If you are keeping the original windows, then don't bother trying to re-insulate unless you have a mold issue.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:01 PM   #14
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I live in Southwest Oregon and am pretty much full-time living in my bus. I heat with wood in the winter and keep a couple windows cracked open for ventilation. I have a couple ceiling lights removed..on a cold winter night, with a warm bus, when I put my hand up there I feel tons of moisture condensed on the inside of the outer skin, behind the fiberglass. Occasionally I will get a drip through the perforated panels in the front of the bus. Yuck!p what am I doing wrong? I'm defenatly planning on stripping down the interior and spray foaming and rebuilding everything. Lesson learned the hard way, or so it was for me.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:40 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone for the ideas!! I live in the south so the cold isn’t an issue as much as the heat!! So I’m pretty sure we are going to take down the walls and ceiling. Might as well get it done right the first time, since I will be living in the bus full time once it’s done
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:54 PM   #16
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In Southwestern Oregon, it's not the cold, it's the humidity, and the water that falls from the sky. The first weekend I brought the bus here, in early April of this year, it rained almost 7 inches, just flooded the inside of the bus. Sounded like a drum in there when it was coming down good, and some of the plywood panels I removed seemed to weigh more than I did.

As soon as I saw those perforated ceiling panels in my BlueBird I decided I had to remove them, and the insulation behind them, because I didn't want to have fiberglass dust continually raining down from all those holes.

But the holes do their job. I found no mold or rust anywhere on the ceiling, even around the one roof hatch that leaks. The insulation around that hatch was soaked and dripping back in April, and I doubt that was the first time, but there was no rust there, and I assume that's because all the little holes let things dry out quickly.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:28 AM   #17
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In Southwestern Oregon, it's not the cold, it's the humidity, and the water that falls from the sky. The first weekend I brought the bus here, in early April of this year, it rained almost 7 inches, just flooded the inside of the bus. Sounded like a drum in there when it was coming down good, and some of the plywood panels I removed seemed to weigh more than I did.

As soon as I saw those perforated ceiling panels in my BlueBird I decided I had to remove them, and the insulation behind them, because I didn't want to have fiberglass dust continually raining down from all those holes.

But the holes do their job. I found no mold or rust anywhere on the ceiling, even around the one roof hatch that leaks. The insulation around that hatch was soaked and dripping back in April, and I doubt that was the first time, but there was no rust there, and I assume that's because all the little holes let things dry out quickly.
My understanding is that the perforations are for dampening sound inside the bus. If your response is "WHAT?" then they're doing their job.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:26 AM   #18
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Maybe all those holes help a little, but most of the sound deadening is done by the Mass Loaded Vinyl on the floor.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:31 PM   #19
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One of the first things I moticed when entering our bus for the first time was how quiet it was. My school days were spent travelling in a number of busses with solid ceilings. They echo a lot. The perforations in the ceiling take away all of the echoing.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:42 PM   #20
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When I was in school I don't remember paying much if any attention to schoolbus ceilings. There were plenty of other things to pay attention to.
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