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insulation and such and so forth
#1
So I'm trying to untangle the matrix which is the insulation conundrum....best options are these:

polyiso, then more over the ribs...

polyiso, then nothing on the ribs...

polyiso, then furring strips so as to be able to screw things to the walls...

Any sort of input or ideas or comments would be welcome, as I am trying to plan this out before I obtain a van and am able to get started! I am hoping to come to the RTR and am trying to get started as soon as I have one!
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#2
give us some more info. like what part of the country? following the sun or stuck in the snow? plan on using a heater? highdesertranger
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#3
My view has always been that many people who have insulation probably don't really need it, unless you are in an area that is REALLY REALLY cold (in which case it is pointless without a heater) or REALLY REALLY hot (in which case it is pointless without an AC).

For most people, a few good sleeping bags with different temp ratings, layered as needed, is all one really needs. I have no insulation, no AC, and no heater--a good set of sleeping bags has done the trick for me everywhere I've gone.

Living in "Ziggy the Snail Shell" since May 2015
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bethiebugs (12-16-2017)
#4
(12-15-2017, 05:54 PM)highdesertranger Wrote: give us some more info.  like what part of the country?   following the sun or stuck in the snow?  plan on using a heater?  highdesertranger

Currently I am in Kansas...land of horrific humidity or sudden below freezing temps. I am hoping to eventually become more nomadic, but gotta start somewhere. I will be using stove or self-insulation as my source of heat for the winter for now, until I can afford something else. My kids live here in KS so I will be returning frequently. I plan on getting a good sleeping bag and such. Just wanting to know where to start once I get a van soon--to prepare for various climates, specifically at least able to be able to withstand it here.
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#5
You do need insulation, even in the humidity, it keeps the edge off the heat. And in the winter it does keep the warm air from getting out too quickly.

On my roof I got rods installed on the ribs that I use for cabinets. They crissscross the entire roof. Connecting them to the ribs make a solid anchor point. But there is plenty of space around these anchor points where I installed the rtech foam insulation. Multiple layers.

Foam insulation only works if you use alot of it and try to isolate your rear of the van from the front of the van. You need to put it on the windows/roof/sides. If in the middle of day your in the back of the van and its pitch dark, you done a good job, light equal heat.

If you havent decided how to apply the foam, use hotglue, no fumes and drys almost instantly. Its all I use on the skin, and duct tape sometimes.

My thermometer measures front of van (no foam) and back of van (lots of foam insulation). Without insulation I wouldnt be able to spend anytime in my van during the day. 

summer temps (swampcooler running)
   

winter temps (no heater)
   
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frater secessus (12-18-2017), bethiebugs (12-16-2017)
#6
Yes unless you follow the 60/70's, insulation is **very** important.

Yes polyiso is best R-value, but that means little if you allow air movement, gaps between your airspace and conductive metal etc.

XPS should be the first 25% on the cold side, or a 1/2" at least.

Flexible stuff crammed into nooks and crannies, thinner sheeting over structural protrusions, spray foam filling gaps around the rigid sheets, ideally forming a complete vapour barrier, not easy.

Don't want any condensation sitting trapped on metal either, lots of high CFM ventilation is critical once you start sealing everything up, key is you control when and how much air exchange.

All structural supports, securing loads from shifting, most hidden electrical wiring paths, lighting, fans etc all need to be in place first.

Read through the past threads here, google what you don't understand, ask specific questions there or here, we're all here to help.

Yes people disagree, up to you to make up your own mind what's right in the end.
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bethiebugs (12-16-2017)
#7
(12-15-2017, 05:21 PM)bethiebugs Wrote: polyiso, then more over the ribs...

polyiso, then nothing on the ribs...

polyiso, then furring strips so as to be able to screw things to the walls...

I doubt there is any one perfect way to do insulation in a van. They all have advantages and disadvantages, and thus all methods become  the "perfect" compromise that suits your particular needs and preferences. 

So for each method you can look at the advantages versus disadvantages, and then make up your own mind. 
To possibly assist you, here are a few general comments about insulation. 


Polyiso is fairly easy to work with, and will not absorb moisture, so the sheets are in and of themselves heat and  vapor barriers.


If you can add a similar amount of polyiso everywhere, then you get a good even style of insulation. 
Since the wall and beams on the inside of a van, are however not styled the same even way as the outside of the van, then it can be a challenge to apply an even layer of polyiso. 

And if one were to simply apply an inner wall, to make everything as smooth, straight and even as the outside, and then add insulation, then it would shrink the available space of the inside shape and size of the van considerably. 

And thus people come up with solutions to fit insulation that fit their mood of doing things. 



I think "Into the mystery 13" on his latest van build, has chosen to insulate in a way, where everything is covered with an equal thickness. 
He did not use polyiso, but when using polyiso cut out polyiso panels for all the flat surfaces, and then wrap pieces or thin sheets around all support beams. And make it all vapor proof, by adding a durable tape with a  quality sticky side, over all seams in the polyiso. 
Also cover the top and bottom edges of the polyiso with tape, to ensure as good of a vapor barrier, as this help limit the possibility of mold buildup in between the polyiso and the outside metal skin of the van. 

This way the location of all beams are very clear, and if anything needs to be screwed to the beams later, they are easy to find. 
And then any interior cabinets etc. would simply be cut to follow any shape of the wall supporting beams. This method maximizes the available space in the van. 



In Bobs video series of his latest van build, he chose to fill up all cavities (mainly with polyiso), and to finalize with  interior wall paneling, so the inside of the van become as smooth and slick as the outside of the van. 
So he has chosen to have different layer thickness in the insulation. As the slick inside paneling suits his mood the best. 
As far as I recall, he did however decide that a minimum of 1 inch of polyiso, would cover all wall beams. 

A convenience note: If one were to make small markings on the inside panel, that indicated where the wall beams were located, then it would still be easy to later screw anything into those beams.  



This guy (VANCITY VANLIFE) has done something in between, as not all the ribs/beams are yet covered. But he takes the time to describe why (and why not) he has chosen to do it this way. 



About furring strips along the length of the van.

Wood can be considered an okay insulation material, so it can indeed be attached to the wall ribs/beams, and the wood can later be used to make fairly strong attachments of things that hang. 
So it is possible to fill the space between the furring stribs with polyiso, in order to maximize the insulation thickness. 

If the furring strips are later covered with a surface panel, then it might be wise to add small markings, so one could later locate the furring strips. 

Using furring strips (of wood), it becomes fairly easy to add polyiso over all the wall rib/beams. 



You mentioned three ways of choosing to apply polyiso. 
Did this text help you get closer to choosing which way you will end up doing the walls in your van build? 
Or did you have something else in mind?
And what questions do you still have?
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bethiebugs (12-16-2017)
#8
Wood is not itself a great insulator.

But it doesn't actively help heat to migrate through the envelope, so it is **much** better than metal for supports attached to the van body.

When metal to metal is necessary, insulating "washers" can help reduce heat leakage.
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bethiebugs (12-16-2017)
#9
(12-16-2017, 12:51 AM)MrAlvinDude Wrote: I doubt there is any one perfect way to do insulation in a van. They all have advantages and disadvantages, and thus all methods become  the "perfect" compromise that suits your particular needs and preferences. 

So for each method you can look at the advantages versus disadvantages, and then make up your own mind. 
To possibly assist you, here are a few general comments about insulation. 


Polyiso is fairly easy to work with, and will not absorb moisture, so the sheets are in and of themselves heat and  vapor barriers.


If you can add a similar amount of polyiso everywhere, then you get a good even style of insulation. 
Since the wall and beams on the inside of a van, are however not styled the same even way as the outside of the van, then it can be a challenge to apply an even layer of polyiso. 

And if one were to simply apply an inner wall, to make everything as smooth, straight and even as the outside, and then add insulation, then it would shrink the available space of the inside shape and size of the van considerably. 

And thus people come up with solutions to fit insulation that fit their mood of doing things. 



I think "Into the mystery 13" on his latest van build, has chosen to insulate in a way, where everything is covered with an equal thickness. 
He did not use polyiso, but when using polyiso cut out polyiso panels for all the flat surfaces, and then wrap pieces or thin sheets around all support beams. And make it all vapor proof, by adding a durable tape with a  quality sticky side, over all seams in the polyiso. 
Also cover the top and bottom edges of the polyiso with tape, to ensure as good of a vapor barrier, as this help limit the possibility of mold buildup in between the polyiso and the outside metal skin of the van. 

This way the location of all beams are very clear, and if anything needs to be screwed to the beams later, they are easy to find. 
And then any interior cabinets etc. would simply be cut to follow any shape of the wall supporting beams. This method maximizes the available space in the van. 



In Bobs video series of his latest van build, he chose to fill up all cavities (mainly with polyiso), and to finalize with  interior wall paneling, so the inside of the van become as smooth and slick as the outside of the van. 
So he has chosen to have different layer thickness in the insulation. As the slick inside paneling suits his mood the best. 
As far as I recall, he did however decide that a minimum of 1 inch of polyiso, would cover all wall beams. 

A convenience note: If one were to make small markings on the inside panel, that indicated where the wall beams were located, then it would still be easy to later screw anything into those beams.  



This guy (VANCITY VANLIFE) has done something in between, as not all the ribs/beams are yet covered. But he takes the time to describe why (and why not) he has chosen to do it this way. 



About furring strips along the length of the van.

Wood can be considered an okay insulation material, so it can indeed be attached to the wall ribs/beams, and the wood can later be used to make fairly strong attachments of things that hang. 
So it is possible to fill the space between the furring stribs with polyiso, in order to maximize the insulation thickness. 

If the furring strips are later covered with a surface panel, then it might be wise to add small markings, so one could later locate the furring strips. 

Using furring strips (of wood), it becomes fairly easy to add polyiso over all the wall rib/beams. 



You mentioned three ways of choosing to apply polyiso. 
Did this text help you get closer to choosing which way you will end up doing the walls in your van build? 
Or did you have something else in mind?
And what questions do you still have?
Yes! this was very helpful. I'm glad you said that about making markings for where the strips are! Very important! I am thinking, then, maybe some rattletrap or something, polyiso in between ribs built up to them, some sort of flexible "insulator" or barrier over the ribs, then furring strips so as to attach paneling and other things. Is a specific vapor barrier necessary before any paneling? I wouldn't think a person could actually get something like a van interior to be airtight, but would it help?

Also, is insulation inside the small cavities/ribs needed? And would it help?
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#10
(12-16-2017, 01:01 AM)John61CT Wrote: Wood is not itself a great insulator.

But it doesn't actively help heat to migrate through the envelope, so it is **much** better than metal for supports attached to the van body.

When metal to metal is necessary, insulating "washers" can help reduce heat leakage.

So when putting up the furring strips over the ribs, it would be best to use such insulating washers, correct?
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