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Old 12-20-2017, 07:58 AM   #1
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Insulation for new camper van

We are preparing to insulate our 2018 Dodge ProMaster van after Sportsmobile installs a Penthouse. There are so many opinions about moisture barriers and materials... I know less now than when I started researching! What wisdom can the Sportsmobileforum experts impart?

We are especially interested in how various treatments have successfully prevented moisture problems over time. We are hoping to get the insulation right so we can move on to building out the camper. Many thanks to you folks for sharing your experiences through this forum!
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Old 12-20-2017, 02:07 PM   #2
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There are so many opinions about moisture barriers and materials... I know less now than when I started researching!
Yeah, so many threads out there it's easy to get analysis paralysis. And then since insulation is Step 1 of an interior build, you do nothing. Been there, doing that!

I found Page 6 of this thread very insightful, particularly Post #84. It's how I'm going to go about the moisture/condensation barrier.

Good luck with your buildout!
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:14 AM   #3
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Thinsulate

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Originally Posted by Mount Branson View Post
Many thanks to you folks for sharing your experiences through this forum!
We used Thinsulate applied directly on metal (walls and roof), then EZ-COOL, then decorative finish is pine paneling tongue & groove:

- Thinsulate: Thinsulate Installation | FarOutRide
- EZ-Cool: http://faroutride.com/ez-cool-installation/
- Tongue and Groove: Wood Paneling Installation | FarOutRide

We're in Grand Teton skiing right now, we pleasantly surprised on how fast our ski gear dry after a day out and how moisture is manageable. The Webasto heat is really dry.

Good luck!


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Old 02-01-2018, 09:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by SteelheadJones View Post
Yeah, so many threads out there it's easy to get analysis paralysis. And then since insulation is Step 1 of an interior build, you do nothing. Been there, doing that!

I found Page 6 of this thread very insightful, particularly Post #84. It's how I'm going to go about the moisture/condensation barrier.

Good luck with your buildout!
Thanks! In comment #84, do you plan to use the bed liner spray ($8 Walmart)? I'm not sure what the "spheres" means. When I watch the YouTube builds with people carefully taping moisture barriers to the panels, I worry that moisture will still enter the skins of the van through the many holes in reinforcing struts of the walls, ceiling, etc. Have you insulated yours yet?
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by atoine View Post
We used Thinsulate applied directly on metal (walls and roof), then EZ-COOL, then decorative finish is pine paneling tongue & groove:

- Thinsulate: Thinsulate Installation | FarOutRide
- EZ-Cool: http://faroutride.com/ez-cool-installation/
- Tongue and Groove: Wood Paneling Installation | FarOutRide

We're in Grand Teton skiing right now, we pleasantly surprised on how fast our ski gear dry after a day out and how moisture is manageable. The Webasto heat is really dry.

Good luck!


Thanks, Antoine! Your finished van looks lovely. Are there any changes you would make after camping in it? Did you tape the edges of the Thinsulate to form a moisture barrier?
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Old 02-01-2018, 11:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mount Branson View Post
We are preparing to insulate our 2018 Dodge ProMaster van after Sportsmobile installs a Penthouse. There are so many opinions about moisture barriers and materials... I know less now than when I started researching! What wisdom can the Sportsmobileforum experts impart?

We are especially interested in how various treatments have successfully prevented moisture problems over time. We are hoping to get the insulation right so we can move on to building out the camper. Many thanks to you folks for sharing your experiences through this forum!
Not committed to the idea 100% yet, but we are considering using "Foam it Green" https://sprayfoamkit.com, then having that line-X'd and calling it done. Well see. So far, its not been too bad with no insulation, but we've only experienced 103*F and 25*F while camping.

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Old 02-02-2018, 07:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mount Branson View Post

We are especially interested in how various treatments have successfully prevented moisture problems over time. We are hoping to get the insulation right so we can move on to building out the camper. Many thanks to you folks for sharing your experiences through this forum!
What moisture problems are you trying to prevent?

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Originally Posted by GAR View Post
Not committed to the idea 100% yet, but we are considering using "Foam it Green" https://sprayfoamkit.com, then having that line-X'd and calling it done. Well see. So far, its not been too bad with no insulation, but we've only experienced 103*F and 25*F while camping.
Not being a buzzkill but ANY spray foam product designed primarily for buildings needs to be carefully researched for compatibility for use in vehicles. Of major concern is the expandability ratio and how the materials react when installed over or onto the body steel panels.

Spray foam is very attractive given its advantages and relative ease of application BUT so far there's not a lot of "affordable" products for our use in vehicles. Mind you there might be something new I've not yet discovered but I would think such a product would have been discovered and written about here on SMB forums.

If I'm mistaken someone please correct me.
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:40 AM   #8
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JWA,

Thanks for commenting on this. I agree, lots to consider for sure. Closed cell foam Vs open (closed is best for van project); the effect of the foam causing van body to distort and show on outside of van (best to spray several light coats allowing each coat time to cure); time spent masking and health concerns while spraying.

And then there is the repairability factor if involved in an accident.

I know foam with line-x over it works for refrigerator vans, and I’ve talked with my local line-x guy who said it can be done, but it would not be cheap.

I’m now considering Line-X first for a vapor barrier and support to keep the sheet metal from warping, and then foam (possibly just foam sheet insulation over the Line-X). Let’s not forget re-wiring jobs in the future because as we all know, these vans are never really “finished.” Lol

Another consideration is that a well insulated van will require more effort to cool once it’s been in the heat for a day with no cooling having been done. Unlike just sheet metal, which cools rapidly (according to my research) after the sun goes down, an insulated van will not cool as quickly.

we’ll see...

YT video that got me thinking about do it yourself spray foam:
https://youtu.be/-ZvqUgiqwcM

Note:
No VOC concerns with Line-X after it’s cured, same with “closed’ cell foam when “properly” mixed and applied.

Gar
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:13 AM   #9
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Thanks! In comment #84, do you plan to use the bed liner spray ($8 Walmart)? I'm not sure what the "spheres" means.
I was originally planning a bed liner or epoxy primer coat to deal with condensation and corrosion. Over that I was going to do a coat of the spheres mixed into paint as a radiant barrier.

But later in that thread someone mentions HyTech Metal Shield which seems to handle all those goals in a single step. While it's a little more expensive, it would save time, mixing and mess so that's the way I plan to go now.

Over that I'll do butyl mat for vibration and resonant noise, then closed cell foam as a decoupler, then mass loaded vinyl to block sound traveling through air. Then finally hydrophobic melamine foam for thermal insulation.

More info on all these steps over on SoundDeadenerShowdown. Super informative site if you haven't checked it out. I've sourced all the products on Amazon and think I can do the job for about $500.

Overkill? Maybe. But I have a 7.3, which if you haven't driven one can be like riding inside a steel drum during a concert. My goal is to feel like I'm driving a cloud.

I also do a lot of winter camping in really cold temps and a lot of summer camping in really hot temps and I've found radiant cold and heat to be the biggest issues.

Finally I only want to do this job once; I don't want to have to pull the interior because I'm not happy with the results.
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelheadJones View Post
I was originally planning a bed liner or epoxy primer coat to deal with condensation and corrosion. Over that I was going to do a coat of the spheres mixed into paint as a radiant barrier.

But later in that thread someone mentions HyTech Metal Shield which seems to handle all those goals in a single step. While it's a little more expensive, it would save time, mixing and mess so that's the way I plan to go now.

Over that I'll do butyl mat for vibration and resonant noise, then closed cell foam as a decoupler, then mass loaded vinyl to block sound traveling through air. Then finally hydrophobic melamine foam for thermal insulation.

More info on all these steps over on SoundDeadenerShowdown. Super informative site if you haven't checked it out. I've sourced all the products on Amazon and think I can do the job for about $500.

Overkill? Maybe. But I have a 7.3, which if you haven't driven one can be like riding inside a steel drum during a concert. My goal is to feel like I'm driving a cloud.

I also do a lot of winter camping in really cold temps and a lot of summer camping in really hot temps and I've found radiant cold and heat to be the biggest issues.

Finally I only want to do this job once; I don't want to have to pull the interior because I'm not happy with the results.
My biggest concern would be VOC off gassing. Is not Hydrophobic melamine foam an open cell foam? Also, what is the VOC for butyl mat? And when exposed to heat would you be breathing all the chemicals? A van is a tiny place to live and breath, i would think the VOC would be a much greater concern then say an office or a house.

Gar
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