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Old 01-06-2018, 09:48 PM   #1
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Build without insulation

I've been reading multiple theories on insulation and many strategies. I cannot figure out the best option, the most used option, or the cheapest option...

So I thought I'd pose a few different questions.
Has anyone done a build without insulation? Are they happy without insulation?
What's the minimal amount and location of insulation suggested (i.e. floor is most important vs roof)

Right now we are just starting this van adventure. We got a van and started a tear down. We have been doing short (2days) type trips where we sleep in a Subaru Outback. Our initial thought is we can do without insulation but is this a mistake? Would love to her from people who skipped insulation (but also very much appreciate everyone's wisdom!)

Thank you ahead of time. I've been lurking for a while and finally decided to join!
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Old 01-06-2018, 11:51 PM   #2
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Part of it depends on where you live. Here in Oregon the insulation keeps condensation at bay. Have slept in vehicles without it and woken up in the mornings to wet walls and ceiling. It is amazing how much moisture the body produces while sleeping. One of two layers of Reflectix glued to the walls solve the condensation issue.

Have also lived in the south west in an un insulated van. No issues with condensation. The van would heat up very quickly and cool down slowly.

Where are you located? Post some photos of your van when you get a chance.
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Old 01-07-2018, 05:40 AM   #3
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In any climate I'd personally want at least one layer of insulation. I've been around the country twice and all sorts of weather related issues inside. The worst thing was lack of sound insulation.
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:34 AM   #4
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I agree ^^. If nothing else get a couple rolls of Reflectix and glue it to the walls, ceiling and floor. for $20 more you can get some rigid foam board for the floor to go under whatever flooring you choose. It makes a big difference.

But......it really all depends on your use and where you live. If you're in San Diego then why bother?
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:28 AM   #5
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I would echo what others have said. Spend the extra time and money and insulate your build. You'll be glad you did at some point.
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:37 AM   #6
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If you don't insulate and don't like the results, are you willing to remove the entire interior so you can install it afterwards? Seems to me a small price to pay to do it right the first time.


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Old 01-07-2018, 10:40 AM   #7
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As Herb mentioned above.....really difficult to do after the interior is built out....

I used ultratouch recycled denim for insulation..available at Home Depot...cheap and works great.
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Old 01-07-2018, 11:02 AM   #8
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Also to add...
I spent hours removing panels and interior parts on my 04' SMB to insulate it better. SMB did an absolute crap job from the factory and it was obvious.
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Old 01-07-2018, 11:53 AM   #9
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I agree with larrie. Condensation can be a bad problem and even with insulation the windows will have a lot of water on them if you're sealed up in cool weather. Eventually you will probably want to travel into some mountain areas where it can get pretty cool even in the summer. I would go with the insulation.
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Old 01-07-2018, 11:48 PM   #10
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I looked at an Airstream B190 today that showed obvious signs of condensation seeping into and staining the wall coverings and headliner. I ran because to me that screams RUST and MOLD.

I'm going in the exact opposite direction with my build. Five layers of different types of insulation. Overkill? Maybe. But I really like the idea of driving a high speed quiet booth.

My first layer will be a gallon of this. Total moisture barrier plus sound and temperature insulation. Seems like it should be easy to apply too. Maybe try that at least?

FYI, the guy over at Sound Deadener Showdown has a super informative site. No way I can afford all his products, but if you understand the principles he explains, you can find much cheaper alternatives.
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