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The vanlife => Van Conversion => Topic started by: treesner on November 11, 2017, 05:35:38 AM

Title: Best insulation video
Post by: treesner on November 11, 2017, 05:35:38 AM
Hey guys overwhelmed by the different styles of insulation and all the steps. Could you recommend one good video that goes through insulation so I️ can just follow it and move on to more fun steps of the build? Building a sprinter thanks
Title: Re: Best insulation video
Post by: Camper_Dan on November 12, 2017, 06:45:53 PM
Not too sure about videos, have yet to see one done properly...

Condensation is a HUGE issue.  You can't stop it, or prevent it.  All you can do is plan your build so that you get adequate ventilation all the way to the outside skin, or you're wicking the moisture into the interior, where it can then be evaporated out.

Most people appear to be hiding & trapping that moisture, which in turn will lead to moisture, mold, and rust problems.  Everything, floors, walls, ceilings, and doors, have to be built to  handle the evaporation of any moisture buildup.

Title: Re: Best insulation video
Post by: Danp83 on November 13, 2017, 10:00:01 PM
Insulatulating vans cause alot of controversy.

From what I've read closed cell insulation seems to be the most agreed on type along with a vapor barrier. I'm in the process of doing mine, I've gone for 50 & 25mm Celotex, expanding foam,  and vapor barrier in the form of foil bubble insulation over the top.

There is many other options which people do use such as recycled plastic insulation but I would be concerned about it soaking up moisure. But I have seen this type of insulation used on Coach built vans.

Title: Re: Best insulation video
Post by: peeela on November 29, 2017, 03:29:58 PM
Interesting @Camper_Dan - after almost 9 months of research, your comment around there being TWO strategies was the first time I’ve heard that.

Just to clarify your comment:

“get adequate ventilation to outside[ skin [good strategy] OR you’re wicking moisture into the interior [also good]”

Are they two different approaches?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Best insulation video
Post by: Camper_Dan on November 30, 2017, 09:56:33 AM
Yes, they are two different approaches.

For the wicking approach, let's examine vehicle floors, because this is the easiest example.  Under the carpet is a fiberous or foam pad, that wicks the moisture away from the metal floor, and up to the carpet, which then wicks the moisture to the surface to be evaporated out.  If compared to a floor with a rubber mat, the one with the rubber mat will be moldy and rusty underneath, while the one with the carpet will likely be good as new.  The rubber mat has trapped the moisture under it.

In a cargo van, the moisture is controlled by leaving the walls uncovered, allowing for air to circulate, and the moisture to be evaporated out.  The ribs have holes in them for air circulation as well, so that condensation can not get trapped inside the ribs.

Passenger vehicles typically employ both methods.  They will have hidden holes that allow ventilation under the nice interior panels, and as a backup plan, they also wick the moisture away from the metal with a specialty paper material.  Vinyl or leather panels, will have a carpeted kick panel at the bottom to aid in air circulation, and evaporation of any moisture.  Nothing is actually as sealed as it appears.  Ceilings are ventilated either by using a fabric material for the headliner, or if using vinyl, it is typically perforated.

If we fill the interior cavities with insulation, we are blocking the factory ventilation, so unless we either replace it, or the insulation wicks the moisture to the interior, we are trapping moisture.  If we keep the original cavities and ventilation holes intact, and add furring strips to the ribs, being careful to not block the holes in the ribs, it is possible to then add insulation to the furring strips and then your interior paneling.  The problem with this is that many cargo vans don't have the active ventilation holes in the back, because their walls weren't designed to be paneled to begin with.  If this is the case, then we must provide the ventilation into that cavity.

The two methods work on different principles, but both will successfully prevent moisture build up within your walls, floor, or ceiling.  The metal skin, top, bottom, and sides, will have condensation forming on the inside.  You can't stop it or prevent it from happening.  Preventing it from becoming trapped, and providing for it to be evaporated out, is the only solution that actually works.

Hope this helps...
Title: Re: Best insulation video
Post by: Taydan on February 19, 2018, 09:13:22 AM
Hey Dan, im struggling to imagine what you mean with regards to using the furring strips. Can you elaborate here?
Title: Re: Best insulation video
Post by: Camper_Dan on February 22, 2018, 11:46:42 PM

Furring strips are the boards placed across the metal ribs of the van, used correctly, they provide an adequate thermal break between the outside skin and the interior, and also give a place to mount your inside paneling without screwing them directly to the ribs.  The holes in the ribs of vans are there to prevent condensation build up inside those ribs.  If those ribs were sealed, the mositure would be trapped and lead to rust.  Most of the van insulation schemes I've seen actually trap condensation rather than dealing with it appropriately.

In the picture below, you can see the furring strips, but  it looks like they have filled the cavities in between all the way to the skin, which is only appropriate  if you are using a wicking material, that will wick the moisture from the skin to the interior where it can then be evaporated out.  Otherwise you need at least 1" of ventilated cavity between the skin and any insulation, to prevent moisture from building up and being trapped.  Likewise, those holes in the ribs need to have air circulation to them as well. 


When dealing with materials that are prone to condensation, the whole process becomes much more complicated.  No amount of insulation, or type of insulation can stop or prevent condensation from occurring, and moisture is a camper's worst enemy.  Dry heat, and ventilation are the only practical solutions for moisture problems that actually work.  While some air conditioners can dehumidify the air, their power consumption often makes them an impractical solution.  Less power hungry options are available and equally as effective.


Title: Re: Best insulation video
Post by: pjpol on March 20, 2018, 06:37:20 PM
This guy is great https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDZBJw7cV2U
The following video also shows him fitting the insulation