Volara - Closed cell foam for insulation - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-25-2009, 09:01 PM   #1
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Has anyone here used a closed cell insulation foam called Volara? I found it at http://www.closedcellfoams.com/index.html The cost seems reasonable....I think.
Also, any idea how much I might need for my Trillium 1300? I am guesstimating about 160 sf. That's without factoring in much waste so I guess I'd add a bit to that.
It is even available in white.
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Old 11-26-2009, 11:06 AM   #2
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Has anyone here used a closed cell insulation foam called Volara?
rob,

I haven't any info on Volera. I have been to this site and have requested samples but haven't gotten them yet. From the picture of the Volera, however, there may be a concern. It looks like the foam is "skinned." I found with a different brand that the skin doesn't paint well - it cracks. You should ask for samples of all their foams and do some glue and paint tests. If I get mine first I'll post results here.

As far as the amount needed - treat each wall and ceiling as a rectangle, do the area for each and add them up. For safety's sake add 10% and theres your order. There will be extra from the windows but better to have too much than have to try and reorder.

Best of luck and Happy Thanksgiving.
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Old 11-26-2009, 11:34 AM   #3
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I'm also waiting for your report as I would like to use this product. Do you think that painting would be required if it comes in white? I figure that I would use white lightning caulking for the seams and no painting would be required, but I may be wrong about what the white color looks like.

Did you order a sample in white?
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:22 PM   #4
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I am going to request samples too. I was thinking the same as DannyH, maybe painting won't be needed if it is available white. Still, I'd like to know if it is possible to paint in case I don't like the look of it. Looking forward to reading your results Tom. Thanks
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:32 AM   #5
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I just received an email from this company. They claim the Volara foam can be spray painted with a latex paint... They are sending me some samples too.
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Old 11-28-2009, 12:07 PM   #6
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I just received an email from this company. They claim the Volara foam can be spray painted with a latex paint... They are sending me some samples too.
Thanks Rob! Good info. Looking forward to samples and your opinions.

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Old 11-28-2009, 12:30 PM   #7
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Okay, I got curious. Kept seeing this thread pop up and each time wondered about Volara, and how it compared to Ensolite.

Well, I still don't know, of course, but www.closedcellfoams.com not only carries Volara, but they also carry another foam (Gymnastic Rubber) that they describe as being "similar to Ensolite." That makes it sound like Volara must be less similar to Ensolite (not that there's anything magic about Ensolite*, but just that we know it works and is suitable).

I'll be curious to hear about the Volara. It would be nice to find something with a good, durable, light-colored coating like the original Ensolite in our trailers so that it wouldn't need painting (but with painting as an option). Looking at that shiny, skin-like surface on the Volara, I would still be concerned about paint de-bonding from it as the Volara moves (slightly) when trailering. It'll be interesting to see what happens after you try the experiment of painting it and then flexing it.

How does the price of Volara compare to Ensolite?

As another non-Ensolite option, I have a friend who used Armacell to insulate his fiberglass boat. He didn't try to paint it (covered it with wood), so I don't know whether or not that would have been an option. This probably wouldn't be any less expensive than Ensolite, by the way.

Raya

*If anyone reading this (maybe in the future) is looking for Ensolite, it is available through IR Specialty Foam, in numerous thicknesses and densities. I don't know if it can be ordered with the white skin, but I do know it is paintable (a member here did her trailer with it and painted it right away).
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:15 PM   #8
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*If anyone reading this (maybe in the future) is looking for Ensolite, it is available through IR Specialty Foam, in numerous thicknesses and densities. I don't know if it can be ordered with the white skin, but I do know it is paintable (a member here did her trailer with it and painted it right away).
Raya,

The people at IR Specialty Foam are very helpful. From the samples they sent the Ensolite only comes in two colors - black and a dirty tan. It is not available with a "skin".

Cypress Rubberite Sponge in S. Cal. will cut the foam with a skin for you. I don't know what colors they have. (They are in CA ad I don't want to pay sales tax if I can order out of state...)

The Volara and other foams at closedcellfoams.com are priced on the site. I haven't done the math yet but the Volara looks to be a little more expensive but in the ballpark with other foams. What intrigues me is the white, smooth finish. I agree with you, probably would not be paintable. And, what to do about the seams? With 38" width there would be many seams... Tape? Caulk?

I'll let you know when I get the samples, do the paint tests and a cost comparison.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:30 PM   #9
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Thanks for the additional info, Tom.

Yes, the Ensolite I got from IR Specialty was dark grey, and would need to be painted from the get-go. I just didn't know if I had for sure eliminated any chance of them having foam with a white skin (because they have so many different foams, and I didn't do an exhaustive search because I then found a trailer with intact original Ensolite).

Personally, I don't mind at all the taped seams on the original Ensolite. I kind of like how it highlights the contours of the rounded shape. But I know a lot of people prefer to eliminate it.

Will be interesting to see what you find

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Old 12-02-2009, 01:48 PM   #10
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I had another thought on that "shiny" Volara as I was driving home yesterday:

With the shiny surface, it's probably not going to be a good candidate for painting (I know they said it can be painted, but I have a feeling it would flake off with any flexing).

The whitish color is nice, and with that you might not even want to paint it, so okay.

But, because it's so smooth and "perfect" and all one shiny surface, I might worry that any little imperfection would stick out like a sore thumb. With the "elephant" texture of the original Ensolite style, minor imperfections are not noticeable, and minor repairs (say you cut it accidentally, or "snag" the surface) can be blended or disguised. But with that flat, smooth, shiny surface... I don't think so.

I do like the idea of a smooth, reflective surface, but those are usually harder and less damageable, or more repairable.

I'm not posting this to be a Doubting Thomas, but just to share what I was "thinking out loud" about yesterday, and when I was in my Boler looking around at the Ensolite.

It will be interesting to see what the sample is like; maybe these concerns will prove not be valid.

Raya



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Old 12-02-2009, 10:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
I had another thought on that "shiny" Volara as I was driving home yesterday:

With the shiny surface, it's probably not going to be a good candidate for painting (I know they said it can be painted, but I have a feeling it would flake off with any flexing).
Raya,

Good thoughts, I share them. I had that experience with the samples of the Healthier Choice Eco Foam samples I got to play with (other thread). The paint split with any flexing motion and the unpainted skin was subject to snagging and marring. The skin on the Volara would have to be very thick and durable.

Another problem I have with a smooth skin is how to treat the seams. Unless there is a white tape the seams would have to be untaped. The level of craftspersonship - cutting, fitting, seaming without over gluing - would be daunting. I don't think caulking would be an acceptable solution.

The 'elephant skin' look is caused by painting, filling, the exposed cells of un-skined/split foam. I think it allows for a heavier, almost interlocking, coat of paint - more durable. I agree with you that taping the seams gives a good look.

Anyhow - samples are on the way and I'll post a report with pictures as soon as I can.

Thanks again for the good ideas and input!
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:27 AM   #12
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Another problem I have with a smooth skin is how to treat the seams. Unless there is a white tape the seams would have to be untaped.

Well, the usual tape is white, if that helps.

The level of craftspersonship - cutting, fitting, seaming without over gluing - would be daunting. I don't think caulking would be an acceptable solution.

I agree, with the shiny/smooth stuff.

The 'elephant skin' look is caused by painting, filling, the exposed cells of un-skined/split foam. I think it allows for a heavier, almost interlocking, coat of paint - more durable.

I'm not sure what you mean here. The "Elephant skin" on the original Boler/Scamp/Trill style ensolite <strike>is actually because the exposed surface of the foam itself is "craggy." The white vinyl just conforms to the crags.</strike> Okay, I'm not sure about that. I just looked at the edge of a sample from my Boler, and I can't tell if the underlying (black) foam is craggy, of if it's just the laminated vinyl coating that is that way.

Or maybe you just mean the non/super/shiny Ensolite that is a bit more "foamy" on the surface. I agree on a slightly molecular level.

Anyhow - samples are on the way and I'll post a report with pictures as soon as I can.

Excellent! Nothing beats a good experiment, with samples
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:32 PM   #13
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Hi all,

Got the samples of Volera and Sport Foam today - all 1" x 1" of them. Not really enough to do a paint test.

The skin on the Volera is textured. The foam itself is stiff. It seems that it would not conform to curves easily. My initial reaction is that it would paint well but would be hard to install. I would not want to put it up unpainted - the skin does show damage to fingernail scratching. It is a nice white, though.

The Sport Foam has a smooth skin that would not paint well. It is more flexible but the black, smooth surface would be a problem.

I am requesting larger samples.

Realistically, for me time is getting short so I'll probably go with some ensolite from IR specialty....
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:47 PM   #14
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Thanks for the report!

I can't remember if you've ordered samples from IR, but when I requested mine they were able to send different thicknesses and densities. I got three samples, and they were each about 2.5" x 6", nicely packaged.

I had asked for 3/8 (original is 3/16"), and based on that I think I would go 1/4" (in between). Of the three densities that we decided on, I would have needed the softest one in the 3/8" thickness, but could probably have gone with the softest or the medium one in 1/4"

I don't remember offhand what the densities were that I ordered, but it was the three "logical" ones we came up with after discussing my projected use.

I'm still not positive they don't have a white-coated one, but I think they might not. Mine were dark grey. No skin, but a slightly "foamy" texture. Kind of like those blue sleeping pads for camping.

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Old 12-03-2009, 10:08 PM   #15
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I can't remember if you've ordered samples from IR, but when I requested mine they were able to send different thicknesses and densities. I got three samples, and they were each about 2.5" x 6", nicely packaged.
Raya,

You are welcome. Yes, I did get samples from IR. I got a book with small samples of their entire line and a couple of larger samples of non-ensolite.

From the samples the medium density ensolite that comes in black and tan would be the best. I'm going to order the tan - less expensive and easier to paint over in a light color. I have tried 3/8' samples of different foams and am still torn between 1/4 and the 3/8". The 1/4" would be easier to handle but the 3/8" would give better insulation, both heat and cold.

When I get more info will keep you informed. When I get the Fiber Stream insulated I'll post some snaps...

Enjoy the dialog and respect your input , more later.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:38 PM   #16
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Great info here Tom and Raya. Thank you for posting. I'm still feverishly grinding off great big globs of construction adhesive. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. I have also realized that I also need to do something about a sagging roof. I have a plan for that though. I am going to cut a couple of ribs from 3/4" fir plywood in the shape the roof should be. I'll glue it into place with a two part epoxy glue and hope for the best. As for the Ensolite, after reading your posts, I am leaning towards ordering from IR Foams too. I am going to to ask for some samples. My problem is that I'm not sure which ones to ask for. Most of the numbers on the data sheets are meaningless to me. Tom, do you know what you will be ordering?
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:50 PM   #17
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My problem is that I'm not sure which ones to ask for. Most of the numbers on the data sheets are meaningless to me. Tom, do you know what you will be ordering?
Rob,

I'm going with the [b]MLC NATURAL or the [b]AHC. You may want to look at those, the [b]MLC BLACK, and the [b]FBC. I'm waiting for larger samples of the MLC and AHC before I decide for sure.

Give them a call and ask for a large sample of each.

Could the roof sag be caused by removing bulkheads or other floor to ceiling supports? Pictures of the project?

Anyhow, sounds like you are really going at it. Have fun and good luck.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:07 PM   #18
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I too, would like to know more about your roof sag.

Without seeing it (so, limited info), but knowing you have bare walls and ceiling at the moment, I think I'd be more tempted to use fiberglass to install a stringer (or stringers), which you could then run the ensolite right over. Glueing a piece of ply up probably won't spread the support out as well, and it will protrude into your space more.

Can you show some pics or make a drawing? And, like Tom, I'm interested in whether any of your fiberglass cabinetry (particularly the kitchen/upper cabinets and closet) have been removed. Do you have a theory as to why it might have sagged, just from looking at it?

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Old 12-07-2009, 07:34 AM   #19
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The upper cabinets are still in place but the closet was removed by a previous owner. I can see that that is probably the cause of the roof sag along with a pile of snow on the roof. I am planning to build a new closet to replace the missing one but that alone won't repair the sag. The roof can be pushed back into its propper shape with a little pressure just in front of the roof vent but it won't stay when the pressure is removed. I think that replacing the closet and installing some sort of reinforcement will keep it in place. Raya I like your idea of glassing the rib. I have a little experience with this from repairing a gaping hole in my canoe. I'm not too concerned with losing a bit of headroom as the location of the new rib will be just in front of the roof vent which should line up with the edge of the bunk. Should be out of the "traffic" area. There is another less serious sag in the roof just over the dinette. This one will almost stay in place when I push up on it. I will probably do the same repair there and it would also be out of the traffic area. I had a good look at the exterior of the roof yesterday. There are some small surface cracks in the two roof sag areas. Once the roof is back to the propper shape I will probably mesh and glass these areas to reinforce and seal it. I wasn't planning to paint the exterior (thats for the future) but I'll prime the new glass on the roof at least. I'll try to post some pics of the roof sag later. I keep meaning to take pictures as I'm working on it but I get too involved in what I'm doing and forget to take the camera out.
The project is turning out to be a bit larger than I expected but I'm having too much fun with it to stop now. My goal for now is to get it at least ready for camping in the spring. It doesn't have to be pretty, just useable.
Thanks for all the posts. Photos coming soon...



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Old 12-22-2009, 06:14 PM   #20
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I finally received all the samples, (Volera, Specialty foams MLC & FBC) and have had time to paint and try them out. The Volera painted well, but it is the stiffest of the three samples and tears easily. Both the MLC and FBC seem to hold paint fine, but MLC tears much easier than the FBC. I can take the FBCs edge and pull hard in two different directions and it will stretch but not tear. I also pushed in with a screwdriver and the mark on the FBC will slowly come out, while the MLC is still indented. The paint I used was Sherwin Williams "Super Paint" Exterior acrylic latex. I asked the guy in the paint store for the most elastic paint they had and he gave me this and a concrete paint. Both worked, but the Super paint seemed to adhere to the foam better. I'm going to San Diego for a week and will check the samples after to see if they change any.
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