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Old 08-21-2013, 07:24 AM   #1
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Insulation questions

First post. I just got a Chevy Express 1500 AWD and I'm going to launch into making it somewhat of a camper. I'm a cabinet/furniture maker so I'm not intimidated with the woodworking aspects of the project but looking through all the home build projects it's hard to determine what the best method of insulating the floor, walls, and ceiling is. I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the choices, wool, rigid foam, spay foam, foil back bubble wrap, carpet pad, fat mat....If you've done your own what worked or didn't work for you and what would you do now?. Also your thoughts on how to attach it all carpet tape, spray adhesive, just stuff it? Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Old 08-21-2013, 02:57 PM   #2
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Re: Insulation questions

Be careful with using fiber insulation. Critters seem to love it so if its exposed they'll get to it. And look for what deadens sound, although most do.

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Old 08-21-2013, 03:28 PM   #3
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Re: Insulation questions

Watch out on the spray foam. Somebody else on here did it to their chevy and it deformed the panels enough you could see the ribs from outside.
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:46 PM   #4
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Re: Insulation questions

I also have an Express 1500 AWD early in the process. EZ Cool is working well for me. The 200' roll should be sufficient for everything except roof. The Sportsmobile penthouse top works great with a bed up top. Also, there is a light 1/2" exterior plywood for the floor. I've been unable to find it in the Northeast.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:41 PM   #5
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Re: Insulation questions

For the Floor:
I started with layering with EZ Cool as well as the other bubble foil stuff, I'd suggest EZ since it's easier to work with. I then put down 1/2" of rigid foam, and then 1/2" of plywood. I'm happy with the insulation of it so far after a year.

For the Walls:
Again with the bubble foil first. I then glued Roxul sound deadening insulation to the sandeply panels I was installing. Some warned me that the fibers would become loose and run around the van, but haven't had any issues. Again, very happy with the results.

Bubble wrap and then the sandeply panels over that.

I haven't camped in freezing temps, but I'm not worried about staying warm. I'm not sure there is any 100% way to insulate a van unless you change out the windows and literally cover every piece of metal. Check out my build to see my progress. There are many guys that have done a fantastic job on here.

Have fun!
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:46 AM   #6
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Re: Insulation questions

There are some other posts about soundproofing not sure how to copy/paste the posts here? Might be helpful if you were also looking to soundproof as well as insulate, esp. the front seat and doghouse area, where its loudest and hottest. Search "dynamat", I just soundproofed and insulated and laid new carpet using that post as a guideline, helped out with road and engine noise as well as with the engine heat. also do a search here on "soundproofing". Lots of different products out there. Wondering how that spray in viscous foam would work, the stuff they use in walls and attics, I don't think it expands...I used the recycled cotton batting in our house, nice and enviro friendly, but the mice love it.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:27 PM   #7
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Re: Insulation questions

My wife and i installed a home brew sandwich of postal bubble wrap, reflectix, and mylar foil in our 2010 chevy awd with a 24" fiberine top.

After almost three full years of use (fall 2013) the only change that was made in the original design was having Van Specialties (who installed the roof) redo the DIY headliner. They kept the insulation we applied (same sandwich) but also glued 2"x2" stringers and then put up a nice 1/8" board with a nice marine grade headliner, LED lights/MaxxFan trim etc.

Our original sandwich installed with 3m 77 spray adhesive is still holding everything together well. We LOVE the soft touch walls covered with the marine grade carpet/headliner. We would do it all again. Well, actually... we would PAY someone else to do it just like we did : ) 28 happy years of marriage at that point (DIY install) and there were times we wanted to strangle each other...insulating a van is not for the faint of heart! If you are married, be sure to take your dear wife out for a nice dinner treat during the project and roses might help too.

Your milage may vary.
Greetings from the WET! Coast of Oregon, USA
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:15 AM   #8
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Re: Insulation questions

Thanks for the replies. Postal bubble wrap? Interesting I hadn't heard of that one before. Sounds light and inexpensive though.
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Old 09-17-2013, 10:24 AM   #9
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Re: Insulation questions

We had our van done with extra attention to insulation as we plan to do quite a bit of camping in colder climates. We did not do the work ourselves, it was done by Van Specialties, just south of Portland, OR.

* Fatmat sound deadening
* Reflectix all around
* 3/4 foam board insulation on floor, 1/2 marine plywood on top.
* For general insulation, we spec'd "Enguard" spun polyester insulation vs. fiberglass for several reasons:
- does not absorb moisture
- does not emit particles into the air as you go over rough terrain
- very lightweight

We've not tested the van insulating capabilities in very cold climates, but I believe this is a really good setup. I spent a lot of time talk to the guys and Van Specialties, who really know their stuff BTW, and they said this is the best insulated van they had ever built.

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Old 09-17-2013, 08:39 PM   #10
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Re: Insulation questions

I wanted to add to those who are not too concerned with looks...Rhino lining the exterior would provide an incredible additional layer of insulation before the sheet metal. Some Off-road guys do it to their trucks to protect it from rocks and scrapes, but an additional property of Rhino-liner or line-x is it does a decent job of insulation. So doing the outside and inside of the Van might work extremely well!

Just a thought.

Here's an example of what some other have done...


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