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longhaired1 04-02-2015 04:45 PM

Why am I paneling my ceiling
Here is a strange question that I hope has not been asked too many times.

Why am I putting wood panelling on the curved ceiling on my skoolie? There is a significant gap between the inner and outer shell. Instead of adding the cost of panelling as well as the additional weight could I not instead drill out some of the rivets (on the inside), remove the funky fiberglass insulation and then use a blown insulation product to replace the insulation.

Help me Obi Wan. What am I missing? I don't mind having a metal ceiling.


SassyLass 04-02-2015 07:54 PM

There is no need to panel your ceiling. That is just a matter of personal taste. I've seen some do it because they didn't want to re-install the skin they took down, or because they damaged the skin during deconstruction and couldnt re-use it.

Insulation is a must if you are to stay warm in cold weather, or cool in hot weather. You do want to create a good thermal break no matter how you do it. Steel will transfer heat and cold through the rivets and the ribs to the inside steel skin even with insulation between the ribs. Best case scenarios have a thermal break, but you will lose some head room.

I can't answer your blown in insulation question, but you likely need to remove all the old insulation and check for/treat for rust. My guess would be that removing all the panels, removing the old insulation and spraying on spray insulation would be the way to go. Specifics - not my area of expertise. Some use strapping for thermal breaks too. I'm handing this over to the experts...

Good luck!

jazty 04-02-2015 08:38 PM

The ultimate reason not to replace metal skin back on to metal ribs is that metal is a decent conductor of heat (and electricity. These two usual correspond). If you remove the metal panelling to better insulate the void then put the metal panels back on you will come out slightly ahead, but the metal panels will act as a huge thermal sink that will transfer exterior temperature inward and vice-versa. Essentially, you will waste money on insulating by letting all the heat conduct around the insulation.

sickrunvanyardsale 04-03-2015 07:37 AM

Another thing I observed with the metal skinned ceiling is that condensation accumulates on it in very short order once the weather gets colder outside.

charles_m 04-03-2015 02:24 PM

Because wood has a nice, cozy feel :)
If you like the metal and can get the r-value and thermal break you need for comfort, keep it!
I loved the sea-foam green metal skin of my last bus. Too bad it was hot to the touch in the summer and ice cold in winter!

nat_ster 04-03-2015 02:29 PM

Blown in insulation absorbs moisture and has no place in a bus.

As been said, the inner skin needs to go or your bus will be useless in cold / heat.

Lift the roof, vault the ceiling, strap the interior, spray foam the gap flush to the strapping, Add rigid Styrofoam, glue the interior finish to the rigid Styrofoam, done.

This is about the best system anyone on this site has come up with. More than one bus here is already built this way.


charles_m 04-03-2015 02:42 PM

Nat's right on with all that!
I doing much the same system, except without the layer of rigid foam, and vault. I guess it's not too much the same, but I did pull the skin and will be spray foaming the ceiling out to my 'strapping' which will be 3". I'll do a .25" layer of the closed-cell reflectix-type insulation over that, mainly as a vapor barrier, but it will help with a bit of r-value too, i think. I got it for free, so why not.
Blown in is definitely a no-go. I didn't see you had mentioned that. Spray foam and rigid foam of the only options on a bus IMO.

mdl76 10-15-2015 07:32 PM

Older post I know, but insulation has in my opinion been the most import step to me in this process.. screw it up, get mold and then I need to start over. Not something I want to do when Im home/garage free.


Originally Posted by charles_m (Post 105497)
Spray foam and rigid foam of the only options on a bus IMO.

From what I am reading, Even rigid foam in some climates will develop mold because there are so many gaps that allow inside/outside difference in temp to build moisture in the air which in turn condensation collects, then it has now where to go. Spray is really the only option that i can see to insulate and best prevent mold because it gets and attaches itself to everything and acting as a vapor barrier.

I also think a dehumidifier is VERY important. Proper Spray foam/good water tight skoolie, and a dehumidifier is what seems to be the best defense agains mold.

If I am wrong in this thinking please correct me.
I could definitely be wrong on this.
Just wanted to add my 2 cents.


chardog1971 10-18-2015 11:08 AM


Originally Posted by charles_m (Post 105490)
Because wood has a nice, cozy feel :)
If you like the metal and can get the r-value and thermal break you need for comfort, keep it!
I loved the sea-foam green metal skin of my last bus. Too bad it was hot to the touch in the summer and ice cold in winter!

I live where it gets really also gets hot as hades here too. I didnt remove the ceiling panels mainly cuz it was 20 years ago and I didnt know what was good.Im glad I didnt though as my headroom is not so high. Im looking at a Thomas diesel which has another 2-3" height so I will remove and add spray on urethane do need a thermal brake or you will end up with cold spots at the roof joists. I put carpet on the lower side wall and it really helped just not having the bare steel.

charles_m 10-18-2015 11:28 AM

The ceiling is the most important part of the bus to insulate--if you only get it right in one place--that's the one. Because of the bowed pine slats I used on my roof, I actually do have about a 1" air gap between the reflextix behind the pine and the surface of the spray foam--the pine's curve does not follow the buses exactly. This is my first winter in the bus but so far, my infrared heater is more than enough to keep the bus warm on a 40* night. I suspect i could stay warm into the 30s with it.

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