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Old 03-23-2016, 10:02 PM   #1
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Insulation Opinions needed - styrofoam?

Okay, so I was planning on doing spray foam on the ceiling and side panels, or a combination of insulated foam board and spray. BUT when I started taking panels off the inside of the bus, here's what I found:



Some type of dense styrofoam insulation. It's cut to fit the spaces, and a little bit of spray foam in a can could probably seal up any gaps. Any idea if this is worth keeping? Just tell me if I'm crazy. I realize this is insulation tech from 1988, so maybe not a good idea to keep. it would save some work though (it's already cut pretty well, I wouldn't have to find a place to dispose of it, and I wouldn't have to buy new insulation. Or I could leave it in, and add another 1/2" - 1" or so of spray foam on top of it? I'm planning on doing a wood ceiling, and wood paneling on the sides, so not a problem to leave space for a little additional insulation.

A few more photos:


These are some of the panels that were in the ceiling (I took down one ceiling section, a few of these fell out, some were still jammed in the ceiling spaces)





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Old 03-24-2016, 05:16 AM   #2
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That old stuff is more for noise reduction instead of real insulation. I sincerely doubt there is any real R value in that stuff. You're better off going to a product that has real R value and you'll also get the sound reduction as a bonus. In addition, look at the mold. You really want to get rid of that health issue!

Just my two cents.

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Old 03-24-2016, 06:11 AM   #3
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I agree with M1031, that mold would eventually penetrate into the wood itself. Make sure to seal the outside so no moisture can get in to your new insulation too!
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Old 03-24-2016, 06:33 AM   #4
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Dang, I knew Gilligs were nice, but that's cool. Syrofoam is a much better choice of material for the job that the nasty fiberglass in the rest of our buses.
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Old 03-24-2016, 07:29 AM   #5
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Agreed with all of the above. Definitely get rid of the old stuff, replace with new spray or solid.
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Old 03-24-2016, 07:58 AM   #6
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I want a Gillig school bus. They're just so awesome.

Rad bus, man. Keep us updated with pics, please!
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
That old stuff is more for noise reduction instead of real insulation. I sincerely doubt there is any real R value in that stuff. You're better off going to a product that has real R value and you'll also get the sound reduction as a bonus. In addition, look at the mold. You really want to get rid of that health issue!

Just my two cents.

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Thanks! Appreciate the feedback. It's actually just dirt in those photos, not mold. The aluminum panel that I removed overlaps the window sill, so dirt/dust can filter down (or get washed down, if there's condensation on the windows, which would then drip down the walls and into that crack, then as kids sit up against the panel, it would rub right in the middle, which looks like what creates that larger dirty patch in the middle where the panel flexes more.

But that being said, going with a product that has better R value seems like a better choice anyway, especially since I'm planning on another layer on top of this anyway, to cover the metal rails that the current insulation is sitting between.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:01 PM   #8
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Closed cell foam board.
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:15 PM   #9
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If that is dirt and not mold, I would leave them and just add a layer on top. Are you going to full time in the bus or just camp?
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:10 PM   #10
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somewhere in between... live in it for up to a month or two at a time. But we're in the pacific north west, and it doesn't usually get below freezing (and we probably won't be in it very often if it does).

What if I left the foam insulation that's in there, filled in any cracks with Great Stuff, then put another 1/2" panel of rigid foam insulation over top of it on the ceiling (don't want to go thicker since I want to conserve headroom), and 1" on the sides. I'm keeping all the windows (will put up insulated curtains). Obviously, replacing all the styrofoam would be best... but just not sure how much I want to spend on this.

Still thinking it over at this point...
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:35 PM   #11
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If its not moldy, I'd say you'd be fine to do that.
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:49 PM   #12
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Would it be bad to spray foam, then press in the panels? Might affect the drying or curing of the foam. I'm saying that because going around the insulation panels with Great Stuff wouldn't seal the same as spray on insulation.
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Old 03-25-2016, 09:21 PM   #13
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spray foam

Neither spray foam nor Great Stuff will cure properly if in a confined space--in fact, they liquify and then harden without forming the air pockets that do the actual insulation. I tested both under these conditions when I was building my bus. I chose foam board sealed around the edges with Great Stuff both trimmed with a hand held hacksaw blade after curing. Also, when it comes to foam board more is better all the way up to R 27. Beyond R 27 more layers don't help. The R values are summative up to R 27. You might want to consider under floor insulation as well. Jack
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:35 PM   #14
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Thanks for the info Jack. I was afraid of problems like that with the spray foam. I've heard before that applying it to thick in one application also causes a curing problem, so it makes sense that burying it behind slabs of Styrofoam or other rigid insulation would have the same deleterious effect.
The floor is my primary insulation goal. I've taken note of all the places that sweat when there's heat in the bus and it's cool outside. I really can't complain for spending my first winter in this totally uninsulated bus. I had cold feet much of the time and it feels like the windows radiate cold, but it was livable in a camping cabin sort of way. I actually thought it would hold heat better than it does.
Thanks again.
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:43 AM   #15
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I would avoid using great stuff wherever possible. I think the adhesion properties are a negative and not positive. Like others said it will not foam properly if not given a place to vent to.

Those foam panels are great, are they just across the middle section or fully from left to right?

If I had that "gift" of insulation, I think I would put it right back, then get some of the Styrofoam boards and cut into strips and use as "chinking" you know, like how a log cabin has rope as caulk between the logs. The trick is to get the size right so you don't compress the foam.

I would then follow up by taping all the joints with HVAC tape, then add thermal break strapping (wood planks) screwed into the roof ribs for something to attach stuff to later.

After THAT, I would add another layer of insulation that sits flush with the wood strapping to try and bulk your insulation up some more.

After that insulation is in, tape the seams between new foam and the strapping strips.

Don't forget to insulate your floor. If you can, do it from underneath - don't you have plywood floors? It might make a great attachment point from under the bus so you don't loose height on the inside.

Quote:
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Would it be bad to spray foam, then press in the panels? Might affect the drying or curing of the foam. I'm saying that because going around the insulation panels with Great Stuff wouldn't seal the same as spray on insulation.
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Old 03-26-2016, 11:39 AM   #16
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I would avoid using great stuff wherever possible. I think the adhesion properties are a negative and not positive. Like others said it will not foam properly if not given a place to vent to.

Those foam panels are great, are they just across the middle section or fully from left to right?

If I had that "gift" of insulation, I think I would put it right back, then get some of the Styrofoam boards and cut into strips and use as "chinking" you know, like how a log cabin has rope as caulk between the logs. The trick is to get the size right so you don't compress the foam.

I would then follow up by taping all the joints with HVAC tape, then add thermal break strapping (wood planks) screwed into the roof ribs for something to attach stuff to later.

After THAT, I would add another layer of insulation that sits flush with the wood strapping to try and bulk your insulation up some more.

After that insulation is in, tape the seams between new foam and the strapping strips.

Don't forget to insulate your floor. If you can, do it from underneath - don't you have plywood floors? It might make a great attachment point from under the bus so you don't loose height on the inside.
The foam panels are throughout the bus - the whole ceiling and the lower walls beneath the windows. I like the idea of filling in, then taping over instead of great stuff. I think I'll go that route. The thermal strapping is exactly what I plan to do for the ceiling, with another layer of rigid insulating foam between the wood.

Is there a special kind of tape I should use?
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:14 PM   #17
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Hvac ducting tape. It's the silver metallic shiny stuff at HD or lowes. You can find it in with the air vents and ducting for home systems.
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:33 PM   #18
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The stuff from home depot is only 2" wide and rather thin I did some
research on line and found a 3" wide heavier tape for less money even
with shipping. The extra inch of width really helps with covering gaps.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:19 AM   #19
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This is a good idea just make sure you order enough at one go, its crazy how much tape gets used up.

Quote:
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The stuff from home depot is only 2" wide and rather thin I did some
research on line and found a 3" wide heavier tape for less money even
with shipping. The extra inch of width really helps with covering gaps.
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Old 03-29-2016, 03:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
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The stuff from home depot is only 2" wide and rather thin I did some
research on line and found a 3" wide heavier tape for less money even
with shipping. The extra inch of width really helps with covering gaps.
Hey Dragon, would you happen to have the website link for that tape you found?
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