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Old 06-18-2014, 03:42 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 18
Year: 1996
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Insulation without losing too much headspace

My bus is a 96 Bluebird and has 6'3" of headspace before I tear the floor or ceiling out to build it back up. I want to insulate the floor, ceiling, and walls as well as possible without losing too much space, especially for our heads. My husband and I are 5'10" and 5'11" so we need it as tall as possible. I've been reading that with insulation I ideally want at least 3" on all sides. I'm not sure how many inches are in a bluebird factor done ceiling. Do they insulate? Say there is an inch up there. If I do six inches between the ceiling or floor that will leave us at 5'9" and we would be stooping. So what would be the best insulation for the space I have so that we can stand up straight. lol I do want it as energy efficient as possible as I have poor circulation and small babies. What insulation should I use and how thin can I get away with and still be well insulated? Is there a trick? Thanks!

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Old 06-18-2014, 06:48 PM   #2
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lornaschinske's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Roswell, NM
Posts: 3,588
Year: 1986
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: 40 ft All American FE
Engine: 8.2LTA Fuel Pincher DD V8
Rated Cap: 89
Re: Insulation without losing too much headspace

You need to build in a thermal break. No matter how much insulation you install, it's worthless if you do not make that thermal break.

We used a modified version of the double wall method (kept the original bus walls intact and screwed furring strips to the metal wall covering for additional 1" rigid foam insulation). This gave us a thermal break from the rivets. We screwed the finished wall covering (click-lock laminate wood look flooring) to the furring strips.

You can always insulate outside your shell. You can add your insulation under the floor (what we did) and add insulation to the exterior of the roof (what we might do later down the road).

Our BlueBird came with a dense 2" thick fiberglass insulation. The insulation in our bus (walls and ceiling) is like the insulation that we have found insulating the ovens in household cooking ranges. Apparently not all Birds are like this. We coated the exterior of the roof with Henry's SolarFlex roof coating. It made a huge difference. The rivets still get warm but not blistering. Between the roof ribs and their hundred rivets per rib (okay, it's not quite that many), the clear expanse of metal ceiling stays cool. The metal close to the ribs is warmer. So we have started capping the rib rivets with stepped trim moulding that incorporates an air gap for the rivets (my decor is art deco, hence the stepped trim). Hard to describe but easy to do. And it does work. We only did a few of the ribs in the salon to see if it would work. I don't know how much the temp difference is but it is enough to feel the difference with our hands. We don't own an IR thermometer.

Our floors currently only have 15/32" (1/2") OSB on top of the old incredibly well stuck rubber. A thin 3.8mm thick vinyl flooring will be installed on top. We live fulltime in our bus in cold winter/hot summer climate.

Learn what a thermal break is and do a little research online to see different ways to create a thermal break. You should find a method that suits you and that you can incorporate into your build. When it comes to converting a bus, you need to think outside the box and look at materials a little differently.
This post is my opinion. It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
Fulltime since 2006
The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. Zeno (335BC-264BC)
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