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I'm wanting to insulate a school bus that I'm renting in Boulder. The rent is low enough that I could put up to a few hundred bucks into it and would still be ahead, given the cost of living here (don't get me started on that, eventually I'll be outta here).

In "Dealing with Heat and Cold," Bob recommended 3/4" Styrofoam foil faced insulation, but I'm not seeing that anywhere (Home Depot or Lowes). Thicknesses available are .5 and 1" and nothing foil backed that I can find.

My landlord doesn't want me using glue for adherence, so I'm planning on using some heavy duty double sided tape.

Ideas, advice?

Never mind about the thickness. I just found 3/4" !! But I still welcome advice, ideas. Smile
The thicker the better, but whatever size is easy to get and that you can afford will be fine. The advantage of the 3/4 is it is flexible and will bend to curve with a wall. Usually, school buses have fairly straight walls, but very curved roofs. So on the roof you will be better off with multiple layers of thinner plywood.

I think the tape will be fine on the walls, however on the roof I'm not sure. Bending the styrofoam puts quite a bit of pressure on it and the tape may or may not hold it. I'm sorry but I can't think of a solution without drilling holes. One thing I did in Alaska once when I put a Travel Trailer in an RV park for a year was to put the styrofoam on the top of the roof and then use a tarp to cover it and tied the tarp down to the bottom of the trailer. If you do that, you want to buy the blue or pink styrofoam, it is much, much tougher than the white.

But just covering all the windows with 4x8 sheets of styrofoam will help tremendously!!

If you can afford it you want to buy Polyiso instead of styrofoam, it is R6 which is higher than styrofoam.
Bob
Hi Karin,

I can't imagine renting a school bus! (land FOR a school bus I could imagine). YAY for cheap rent!

Anyways, around FOAM, this is the stuff I've used
R-Tech 3/4" 4'x8' foam insulation. It's made by Rtech, the link is to homedepot's website, but if it doesn't work, here is a bunch more info on it:
R-Tech Model # 310873 Internet # 202530470 Store SKU # 483214
3/4 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. Foam Insulation Sheathing

Basically it's 4 foot wide, but 8 feet long, and 3/4 of an inch thick. One side is white with plastic lettering all over it saying R-TECH, and the other side is shiny, like those shiny mylar balloons, with little styrofoam beads in the middle.

They also sell a pink version (no shiny side), and a grey version (can't remember if the grey stuff has the shiny side). If I remember right, the white stuff has the least insulation, followed by the grey version (you can't see the individual beads) with the pink version having the best insulation factor (R-value).

The thicker the better, but of course the thicker it is, the harder it is to have room inside to stand up and store all your awesome stuff! So 1" would be fine, if it won't hamper your ability to stand up or anything!

Any of them will work, the shiny side is helpful to reflect radiation, like the sun. The white R-tech stuff is the cheapest and works fine.

When I insulated my van, I didn't glue anything really, it's all just held up by pressure. I was just very careful in cutting so that everything was a tight fit. It's all been in there for 2 years now, without falling down from the ceiling or falling off the walls.

I did glue the edges together where they join up, but I didn't glue anything to the van walls. When gluing the white stuff, you need to use 100% silicone, everything else I tried seems to eat away at the styrofoam.


Anyways, I wish you lots of success!!

With Love,
Tara
If they can't special order it, use the foam board and the Mylar coated bubble wrap or even plain old 'aluminum foil', or a Mylar blanket... Aluminum does a fantastic job by reflecting back more than 90% of the radiated heat generated by your heater. It also is very useful by blocking heat from a wood stove.... 20" x 10' or even 50' rolls of aluminum flashing can be cut with a utility knife and used as a heat shield. But it ain't cheap! It is basically super duper heavy duty aluminum foil that can be stapled into place... this could also be used in a bus in places that no other and less expensive forms of aluminum will do. Hope that helps............



(08-29-2014, 06:11 PM)Karin Wrote: [ -> ]I'm wanting to insulate a school bus that I'm renting in Boulder. The rent is low enough that I could put up to a few hundred bucks into it and would still be ahead, given the cost of living here (don't get me started on that, eventually I'll be outta here).

In "Dealing with Heat and Cold," Bob recommended 3/4" Styrofoam foil faced insulation, but I'm not seeing that anywhere (Home Depot or Lowes). Thicknesses available are .5 and 1" and nothing foil backed that I can find.

My landlord doesn't want me using glue for adherence, so I'm planning on using some heavy duty double sided tape.

Ideas, advice?

Never mind about the thickness. I just found 3/4" !! But I still welcome advice, ideas. Smile
Would this stuff work for the floor as well? The one example I'm sorta following is did this (for the floor): a layer of plywood followed by foam board insulation (looked like it was 1/2 inch) followed by another layer of plywood.

For the sides and top I'm thinking to use the white stuff (shiny side towards van walls & cieling) and on the floor the pink.

Also on the walls, would 1 layer of 1" alone be okay? Should another layer (of plywood or another type of insulation) be desired? Not planning to use any paneling.. ugly is fine.
idk, about the flooring, riffraff, but I'm sure someone here will answer.

wow thanks all for the advice! I actually thought about insulation on the roof outside, but dismissed it. I may reconsider, given Bob's experience. Tara's idea might work, too. I thought about buying some used insulation on craigslist, too, though that seems like a hassle.

The hardest part is making a decision. The weather just turned warm here, after being weirdly cloudy and wet for this time of year. I hope procrastination doesn't set in.

I'll check in when I do something. Hmmmm, I hope I do something, lol.

I was just wondering - Bob, what kind of tarp did you use?
Karen,
Using the shiny stuff in one of many forms, mylar, on both sides of the walls and ceiling, will not only refect heat back in, but also reflect heat away during the hot summer.

Riffraff
Your plan for the floor is a good one. A root cellar I built into an existing basement used the same technique to break the connect to slab floor. The root cellar only needed a 40 watt light bulb to keep it above 40 degrees when it was 20 below zero outside. It worked good. One could save money by using OSB ( oriented strand board, aka., compressed particle board) instead of plywood, and put the save money into more insulation. I would try to use blue foam board, as I know it will not compress. 1/2" is better than nothing and will make a difference. More is better. The white foam on the walls and ceiling will work good. Put the shiny side toward the interior. If you can afford it, use two sheets and use the shiny side of one toward the exterior. This will go far to reduce the temp inside during the summer.
We kind of have two threads going, but they are very similiar so it's okay.

1) Riffraff, I'm not a fan of insulating the floor. I just accept that the floor will be cold and keep my feet elevated and buy down booties. The loss of headroom isn't worth the slight gain. However, bear in mind I am being a contrarian here and the majority wisdom is to insulate the floor. Make your own decision.

2) For the majority of us 1 inch on the wall is enough, especially if you use Polyiso which is R6. If you are in extreme cold, use 2 inches.

3) There is so much misinformation about reflective barriers out there. For an reflective barrier to work it MUST have at least a 1/2 inch of open air space between it and the heat source. Without it, is is worthless. that includes Reflectix or foil facing. With an air gap Reflectix is GREAT stuff, without it, it has an R value of 1 per inch, which is terrible and a total waste of money. I turned my foil face into the trailer so it reflected light and heat back into the trailer.

4) Karin, you understand that putting the insulation on the outside means you can not move the bus, right? The problem is the curve of the roof on the bus. If the insulation doesn't curve and stay tight to the roof, it does no good. My trailers roof was flat and I just cut out openings for the various things stick through the roof. I had three layers of 2 inch styrofoam. But I was in Anchorage Alaska and it got down to -30 below zero Fahrenheit on a regular basis and stayed that way for weeks at a time.

To keep the wind from blowing it away I put a huge, very heavy duty tarp on top of the insulation and used rope to tie it down to the bottom of the trailer. It worked well, the insulation stayed in place just fine. I also used the pink styrofoam that is nearly waterproof and much stronger than the white.
Assuming the landlord wants to continue renting that space after you are gone and you aren't planning on taking it with you, tell them you are adding value and a few screw holes won't be a problem. That's how I would install it - run a 1x2 strip along the wall outside the insulation, drill holes in the wood then run self-tapping sheet metal screws through it and the insulation into the metal. This will hold the insulation in place and give you something to screw hooks and such into. If you want it to look nice you can spray glue some fabric to it or cover with thin plywood.

To do the curved roof you can cut the insulation into 2 foot wide strips and lay them next to each other. Use foil tape to hold them to each other.
Okay I spent the day at the home depot (mostly the parking lot). I might have screwed up a bit. I was thinking about R-values and especially the added value of sound dampening (my father was a very loud snorer.. I know I snore too but not sure how loudly).

Looking at the different foam boards, I went with 7 sheets of this:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rmax-Thermash.../100573703

I made a floor out of it, which worked very nicely (I don't think I'm going to mind the missing headroom... time will tell).

I also used it to make a layer on the walls. Being so thick (2 inch) it did not bend hardly at all and my walls that I wanted to "snap" into place do so only when I stand them up (leaving a lot of empty space between the insulation and the curved walls). When it came to the bottom of the roof it was already late in the day, so I returned 3 of the sheets for a refund. I really couldn't figure out how I was going to make them stay up there anyways.

On one section of the wall I had cut it wrong so needed to use another piece to keep it from falling down. This section was the only one that came close to following the curve of the van wall since it had a break in it (connected by some really nice very shiny tape which the home depot employee pointed me to).

I'll go back out there tomorrow, and perhaps choose something else for the roof once I figure out how to affix it. Should I make cuts in each section of the insulation I already have up, to try and get it to follow the van's walls better? I don't mind horribly having less space at the moment... but I worry the insulation isn't going to work properly with the way I have it now. Plus I'll have to figure out how to affix the pieces to the walls anyways.. they are not at all stable and definitely will fall down if nothing's done.

I got a roll of Reflectix too for making some quick & ez window blockers or use in a cab/living area separator even if it's just a blanket hanging down for the first few days before I can get something better built. Will also use this stuff in doors or oddly shaped areas.

Surprisingly my "measure once, cut 4 times" method was not that efficient. =) I did end up getting a lot of sun tho.

I'd like to try and get the insulation finished tomorrow if possible. Sunday night I'm going to have to throw the mattress in the van. I can't imagine how I'm going to get plywood down on the floor. They do offer tool rental at that store. Considering how much I've seemingly botched this job already, power tools are appearing intimidating to say the least.

Any ideas on how to salvage this setup are welcome. I could get some of that real foamy type stuff and just fill in the places behind the boards.. dunno. It's probably got way too much insulation as it is.
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