foil faced bubble wrap insulation lies - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-12-2015, 12:49 PM   #1
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foil faced bubble wrap insulation lies

Some RV manufacturers make outlandish R value claims of their foil faced bubble wrap insulation. I am glad my trailer has it, but its far from as good as they claim. Its insulation value is nowhere near R15, more like R 3. That's enough to help with cold weather condensation prevention, though plain unfaced bubble wrap would do as well. The reflective foil faces must face a substantial air gap to be effective and do little good tightly sandwiched between fiberglass and ratfur. Its best use is in temporary window insulation where its reflective properties work well. See the article below.

Stay Away from Foil-Faced Bubble Wrap
This R-1 product can be used to make Halloween costumes, but should never be used as insulation
POSTED ON MAR 21 2014 BY MARTIN HOLLADAY, GBA ADVISOR

Foil-faced bubble wrap is a thin product that comes in a roll. Its R-value is dismally low.
Most brands of foil-faced bubble wrap are only 3/8 inch thick or less, and have an R-value of only 1.0 or 1.1. Since the product often costs more per square foot than 1-inch thick rigid foam rated at R-5, why would anyone use bubble wrap as insulation?
Check out the rest of this article for real data.

Our fiberglass trailers are great. Manufacturers don't need to stretch the truth.

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Old 08-13-2015, 09:17 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by John Linck View Post
Some RV manufacturers make outlandish R value claims of their foil faced bubble wrap insulation. I am glad my trailer has it, but its far from as good as they claim. Its insulation value is nowhere near R15, more like R 3. That's enough to help with cold weather condensation prevention, though plain unfaced bubble wrap would do as well. The reflective foil faces must face a substantial air gap to be effective and do little good tightly sandwiched between fiberglass and ratfur. Its best use is in temporary window insulation where its reflective properties work well. See the article below.

Stay Away from Foil-Faced Bubble Wrap
This R-1 product can be used to make Halloween costumes, but should never be used as insulation
POSTED ON MAR 21 2014 BY MARTIN HOLLADAY, GBA ADVISOR

Foil-faced bubble wrap is a thin product that comes in a roll. Its R-value is dismally low.
Most brands of foil-faced bubble wrap are only 3/8 inch thick or less, and have an R-value of only 1.0 or 1.1. Since the product often costs more per square foot than 1-inch thick rigid foam rated at R-5, why would anyone use bubble wrap as insulation?
Check out the rest of this article for real data.

Our fiberglass trailers are great. Manufacturers don't need to stretch the truth.

John
Thank you ! Finally someone posting the truth . Before We purchased our trailer I had used product in my ceiling of a studio I built . For it to be any use at all it needs a airspace . I stapled it between rafters leaving a airspace . I had manufacturer install this product extra wherever they could . I have since bought extra and applied over wherever I could hoping for a better result . I have just resigned myself it is what it is . Pat
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:17 AM   #3
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There's always a "naysayer" no matter what the subject. Always somebody that knows more than the manufacturer, true of all products. Take "naysayers' claim with the same grain of salt that you have a tendency to take manufacturers claims.
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:39 AM   #4
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There's always a "naysayer" no matter what the subject. Always somebody that knows more than the manufacturer, true of all products. Take "naysayers' claim with the same grain of salt that you have a tendency to take manufacturers claims.
Excuse me when I installed said product it was in the instructions to maintain a air space with said product to obtain any r value . Somehow that has been lost . I always like to follow instructions . I worked in construction and like to read all instructions from manufacturers . Pat
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:10 AM   #5
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My statement was a very general statement. It's one of those shoe things.
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:16 AM   #6
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foil faced bubble wrap insulation lies

Which manufacturer are we talking about here- the manufacturer of the insulation or the manufacturer of the trailer using the insulation? Even if you take the insulation specs at face value, I don't see how the trailer manufacturer can ever get to a claimed R-15.



That said, I still think the foil bubble/marine headliner combo makes a comfortable and durable hull lining at modest cost with relative ease of installation. It is adequate for extended season use and comparable to the commonly used alternatives. But R-15? Probably not, and that is a credibility issue for the trailer manufacturer.
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:26 AM   #7
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My statement was a very general statement. It's one of those shoe things.
That's alright . I really don't think yet there is anything else without cost , taking up needed space etc. out there for this situation . Oliver using double hull with that air space is great . But then you have the cost most of us can't do at this stage of our lives .Pat
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:39 AM   #8
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I was fortunate to own a well insulated Bigfoot trailer but an older one with single-pane windows. While the body was well insulated, the heat transfer through the glass was enormous.

Prior to my first winter trip from California to Alaska (I've done 7 trips to date, several in winter), I bought a couple rolls of Reflectix from Lowes and cut a bunch of pieces to fit the windows, attached to the walls outside of the window frame to maintain an air gap between the glass and the Reflectix material. I simply used a few Velcro tabs on each piece to hold it in place.

With the Reflectix in place I was able to camp in temps well below zero in reasonable comfort. Without the material on the windows, it would have been impossible.

Perhaps Reflectix isn't suitable for insulating an entire trailer, but it has its uses and works well from my experience. As always, your mileage may vary.

The World’s Largest Manufacturer of Reflective Insulation and Radiant Barrier Products
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:47 AM   #9
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I've camped in my 13' 2006 Scamp in 5°F weather. Inside temperature at 70+ during the day, 50°F at night. Nothing extra added. Most of heat loss is through the roof vent and the windows. By the way, always keep the roof vent open a bit and the window over the stove open a bit. Air volume inside a 13' trailer is just too small not to make sure fresh air is moving through, at least in my humble opinion.
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Old 08-13-2015, 12:36 PM   #10
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i like the Reflectix....

To be honest, I haven't really paid any attention to claims of its insulation properties.

I just know that the fiberglass walls of my Compact Jr. don't seem to be any thicker than that of a normal chopper gun fiberglass canoe.

And when the camper sits in the direct sun the walls and ceiling inside feel very hot.

And when it is cold and damp outside the walls and ceiling feel very cold and damp.

With Reflectix covering the walls they no longer feel nearly as hot in direct sun or nearly as cold and damp in those conditions.

I'm much more comfortable inside and it is inexpensive and easy to work with.

I've attached mine to the walls with heavy duty adhesive Velcro. the thickness of the two necessary pieces of Velcro keep it a fraction of an inch away from the wall.

But you do get the feeling of being in a space capsule with all that shiny aluminum.

My first effort to cover it up worked pretty well, using a vinyl shelf shelf paper with a bamboo finish.

But now I'm trying something else. Here's a photo of it. The corners are covered with drapes. They look pretty rough in the photo as I haven't decided if I want a fluffed up curtain or have the material cut exactly to the size of the wall it's covering. And the material hasn't been hemmed yet.

The wood covering the Reflectix under the windows is oak plywood with a clearcoat finish.

I've managed all this without having to drill any holes in the fiberglass. The rods holding up the curtains are just 1/4" dowels held in place horizontally with screw eyelets on the top of the wood window frames.

The dowels take on the shape of the corners by inserting the ends into flexible tubing.

I think when it's finished it will look pretty good.
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Old 08-13-2015, 12:43 PM   #11
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I just finished gluing Reflectrix and Marine headliner in the bed compartment of our LIL Snoozy. I didn't expect much more than getting rid of the condensation. Using an IR temp gun I get reading inside 6 degrees lower than outside. Taking a reading on the bare wall before the covering the reading was the same inside and out. I don't know have much R value that translates into but it seems to have some. it feels better to.
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:14 PM   #12
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Well, I love the product. I did notice that the last time we bought 2 rolls that we had a brand, not Reflectix and it seemed thicker. We made liners for our windows in the pop-up, when in a stick trailer, we used it to line the windows and inside cupboards and closets (full-time in winter in an entry level trailer) and I use in the windows in our house built in 1927. Very good luck in all of these situations and well worth the expense.

I like that it is clean and non-shedding. It made a positive difference in all the situations we used it for. I don't really understand the airspace thing. I just always crammed it against the glass, canvas, etc. and it performed.
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by trainjunkie View Post
I was fortunate to own a well insulated Bigfoot trailer but an older one with single-pane windows. While the body was well insulated, the heat transfer through the glass was enormous.

Prior to my first winter trip from California to Alaska (I've done 7 trips to date, several in winter), I bought a couple rolls of Reflectix from Lowes and cut a bunch of pieces to fit the windows, attached to the walls outside of the window frame to maintain an air gap between the glass and the Reflectix material. I simply used a few Velcro tabs on each piece to hold it in place.

With the Reflectix in place I was able to camp in temps well below zero in reasonable comfort. Without the material on the windows, it would have been impossible.

Perhaps Reflectix isn't suitable for insulating an entire trailer, but it has its uses and works well from my experience. As always, your mileage may vary.

The World’s Largest Manufacturer of Reflective Insulation and Radiant Barrier Products
Using on windows works pretty good .As said before it 's better then nothing for the walls Etc. having curtains helps too . We have a lot of cold come in from our door . Made a nice curtain lined , goes to floor to pull over door . Really works well . Use a tension rod between cabinets in doorway to hang . Always have kitchen window cracked open a little and use max fan , helps with condensation . There really isn't anything else that will do the job as well as our homes insulation . Someday that may change . You get the reflectix because they have it but don't expect it, how it is applied or for what it is ,to perform miracles . Get dual pane windows , anything you can get to help with the cold and heat is all good . Pat
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:23 AM   #14
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Reflective bubble wrap was and perhaps still is touted as having extraordinary insulation value. Products need UL testing to verify claims before they can be specified. On one of my jobs many years ago a contractor suggested substituting bubble wrap under a radiant slab instead of the sheets of extruded polstyrene I showed. No way I sensed that something that thin could be as good, considering that it only had two things going for it a. Air b. A reflective surface which could reflect radiant heat. Also, if it were this great, why was Owens- Corning Fiberglass still in business !!?? Anyway, there had been no testing done to justify the claims. (In the case of this under slab application, there was no way to have the required airspace for radiant reflection anyway.) There are naysayers, and there are skeptics who investigate bold claims.
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:31 AM   #15
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Sprayed polyurethane would be the most commonly available product with highest R-value, but the application is very messy. It also "grows" irregularly when curing and would need some contouring afterward with a Surform. A side benefit of using sprayed urethane directly to fiberglass on fiberglass eggshell type structures is a stiffening of the shell. Urethane is very tough.
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:56 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by LindaandPat View Post
That's alright . I really don't think yet there is anything else without cost , taking up needed space etc. out there for this situation . Oliver using double hull with that air space is great . But then you have the cost most of us can't do at this stage of our lives .Pat
I've had carpet, double hull construction,latex coated foam rubber, fiberglass insulation,and ratfur over reflextix in travel trailers.

Hands down, the ratfur over reflextix is superior in real world comfort.

We spend a lot of time slicing and dicing ratings and decimal points on everything from tires to tongue weight, while paying little attention to what actually works best for the application.
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Old 08-14-2015, 09:24 AM   #17
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What percentage is actually exposed exterior walls and ceiling in the average Fiberglass trailer?
Much of the interior is fitted with cabinetry and benches which definitely affect the thermals.
Floors and windows are huge factors as well, the floors on most fiberglass campers are not insulated at all.
That may also be an argument for ordering carpet instead of vinyl for flooring or adding hard foam and Ozite to the floors inside the benches.

I have slept in project trailers with the lining removed and the experience is miserable... Hot in the sun cold at night and the walls glow all night if there is a street light or even a full moon! Then there is the noise... You could almost hear an ant sigh at a hundred paces.

Every approach to wall covering works pretty well though, since by far most camping is done in temperate weather and the trailer is equipped with wheels which help to assure that it is.
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:12 AM   #18
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My trailer of choice uses Ensolite. What reading I have done says it is mediocre insulation, at best. But it does not pass light, and it keeps the condensation down. Good enough for me.

I think Reflextix serves the same function, with less weight. Even better.
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:23 AM   #19
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From my original post --

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Linck View Post
I am glad my trailer has it, but its far from as good as they claim. Its insulation value is nowhere near R15, more like R 3. That's enough to help with cold weather condensation prevention though plain unfaced bubble wrap would do as well.
Furthermore, there are many advantages in Scamp's use of Reflextix, or similar brands. The folks at Scamp line the whole interior shell, save the floor, before any furniture, built-ins, etc are added. This provides a continuous insulating layer with no thermal bridges save for a couple of dozen rivets. While only achieving something like R3 the lack of thermal bridging (think studs in a wall) adds to the real benefit. I am pleased its there and was a factor in my choosing Scamp. Now if only some window supplier made double paned windows with frames of less conductive fiberglass, like used high end houses, condensation issues in cool weather would be nearly eliminated. Scamp does claim R15 on their website. That's wrong. Still they make GREAT trailers even if their copywriters are prone to exaggeration.

Physics - Shiny metallic surfaces not only reflect heat, they also are very stingy in emitting heat. An insulating air space of about 3/4 inch adjacent to both sides of foil is ideal; twice as good as one side. No air space exists in Scamps on either side so the effective R value is somewhere between 1 and 2. With an airspace on both sides the R value will increase to something like 4 or 5. I estimate the typical Scamp wall assembly (fiberglass, bubblewrap, ratfut) achieves a R value of 3.

One fellow above noticed increased comfort by leaving the Reflextix exposed on the inside of his RV. This is a clear demonstration of the insulating value of an exposed shiny surface. In this case it reflects body heat, etc. right back at you and you are warmer. You can try this when camping by holding a piece of foil between you and your campfire. It easily blocks nearly all sensible heat from the fire. However this blocks only radiant heat, only one component of heat loss, but it is easy to feel the difference. Most folks chose a more decorative, if less insulating, surface treatment. I like Rat Fur myself.

There are other advantages to Scamp's choice of wall assembly. Resisting heat flow is one. It also resists sound penetration. I appreciate this when adjacent campers party later than me. And the rat fur makes a great surface to velcro things to.

Airstream campers benefit from their shiny foil skins. Have to query the Google to know for sure but white fiberglass is probably as good from a heat perspective and much better protecting from casual hurled objects or worse.

Cheers all, john
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:38 AM   #20
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Thermodynamics is an interesting study. I happen to believe in the science of air currents and breaking them up to improve insulation factors. I relate an experience I had a number of years ago that was very convincing. Some of you might remember blue foam pads for backpacking. I used that same material for insulation between a vibration table and environmental chamber. One side was exposed to the temperatures inside the chamber and the other to the air outside. At 150°F inside I could not feel any temperature rise on the outside. At -40° I could not feel any cooling on the outside. This material was 3/8" thick, closed cell foam. No air space for air currents.
I too am a bit skeptical of the R15 rating, but it's probably not that far off. With two layers you're not going to get air currents that transfer heat between layers and between the inside of the trailer to outside or outside to inside.
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