More Insulation - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-19-2013, 12:48 AM   #1
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More Insulation

For our use, the lack of insulation is a major reason we sometimes lust over upgrading to something like a Bigfoot 17.

Our major use is a winter trip to southern Texas via California to visit our kids and grand-kids. Both going and returning, there is at least one 'killer'' night, temperature wise in WA, OR and northern CA. Even with our propane fireplace and catalytic heater both going, I'm sure the comfort level would be greatly enhanced with 1/2 to 1 inch of foam insulation on the ceiling and walls.

But -- how would be the best way to do this? I'm not concerned about protecting tankage, as I have removed all tanks, going with the simplicity of plastic water bottles. The reason is primarily creature comfort as both of us are almost 70.

The best idea I've come up with on my own would be to use those 1/2 inch blue foam back packing sleeping mats, glued right over the existing thin ensolite. A few coats of polyurethane enamel of a more appropriate color should work to provide a smoodth cleanable surface. Being elastic it could be fit around the curves nicely, I'd think.

I can't be the only one who has entertained this kind of mod. It is highly possible that someone on this forum has already worked out the details on how-to-do this in a more elegant fashion and would be glad to share.

Thanks
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:10 AM   #2
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I think in cold weather camping the floor is more of a problem. There's zero insulation and all that cold air running the length underneath.. brrrr. Prior to the hack, there was a member that used the blue styrofoam and glued it to the bottom of the floor. Because of the frame, etc. he pieced it like a puzzle. With the proper glue, blue styrofoam doesn't melt and it doesn't absorb water. Something to consider.

If you're looking for a post where someone glued insulation to the wall... here's one and its colorful!
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ion-46674.html
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:18 AM   #3
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I think in cold weather camping the floor is more of a problem. There's zero insulation and all that cold air running the length underneath.. brrrr. Prior to the hack, there was a member that used the blue styrofoam and glued it to the bottom of the floor. Because of the frame, etc. he pieced it like a puzzle. With the proper glue, blue styrofoam doesn't melt and it doesn't absorb water. Something to consider.
I agree that the floor is an issue, and an opportunity... an especially good one without under-floor tanks. I have considered this as well, with the same material.

Styrofoam™ is a trademark, and genuine Styrofoam is usually blue. There are other brands of extruded polystyrene foam, such as Foamular® (which is pink). Expanded polystyrene "beadboard" is cheaper but inferior.
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:41 AM   #4
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Would any of you recommend the expanding foam for the wall cavities that are inaccessible? I believe a member on here redid her Burro (painted silver, I think) and filled all of the hollow panels with the stuff.

I like the foam idea for the floors. Where would you suggest getting Styrafoam? Something possibly similar at Home Depot/Lowes?

Jason
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:56 AM   #5
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I have removable pieces of carpet for the floor which make a HUGE difference. You could also put down the under carpet foam underneath the carpet for even more insulation. The other issue is the windows. I use velcro to attach pieces of reflectix insulation cut to fit the windows. The nice thing about both these solutions is that you can remove them when you don't want them.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:51 AM   #6
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My floor was a cold spot last summer when the interior temp dropped withing 2 degrees of freezing on several nights. It's definitely the largest source of heat loss. I am in the process of insulating it using some leftover pieces of foam from when my house had new siding applied. It is 3/8 thick foam with a foil layer on one side. It is GreenGuard XFP38 fanfold siding underlayment and even has the Energy Star logo. I measured the floor and traced out the shape of it onto the foam, then cut the foam to fit. I'll place it with the foil side facing up. I am not going to fasten it, gravity and friction should be enough to keep it in place. I'll put a heavy vinyl flooring material on top which should be solid enough to keep the foam from compressing when you walk on it.

Regarding the walls, has anyone tried just applying a second layer of ensolite over top of the original ensolite, saving the effort of removing it and having twice the insulation?
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:34 PM   #7
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Would any of you recommend the expanding foam for the wall cavities that are inaccessible? I believe a member on here redid her Burro (painted silver, I think) and filled all of the hollow panels with the stuff.

I like the foam idea for the floors. Where would you suggest getting Styrafoam? Something possibly similar at Home Depot/Lowes?

Jason
Expanding foam... well, expands and may be too much to the point it puts pressure on the walls. I think there's a low expanding foam... or whatever it's called. But, I'm still not sure I'd use it. The walls may bulge and then how would you get it out?

If you're asking about the foam for the bottom of the floor (underneath) yes, Lowe's sells it in 4'x8' sheets.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:41 PM   #8
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I'd get a quote from one of the home insulation companies that do spray foam - would be much more efficient at insulating not only the floor, but also the tanks. And a WHOLE LOT less work than laying on your back holding stuff up while the glue to the bottom of the floor takes hold...........

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Old 04-22-2013, 08:09 PM   #9
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I did quite some winter camping in Europe. One of the biggest entrance points for cold imo are the windows, especially if they are single-sheeted like in the scamp. In Europe I bought a special clear, thick bubble wrap that can be attached to the outside with a push-botton fastener and covers the window and window-frame. We also had a skirt that wrapped around the bottom of the camper to keep wind out, but this has to be held on the ground with ankers or stones.
I think a thick carpet is a much better solution than attaching foam to the underside. In addition you could get special foam in a carpet shop that is normally used for noise and cold insulation in homes.
The scamps felt fur is a pretty good insulation with 2 additional layers of insulating matts underneath, not sure if this needs improvement.
Be careful, though if you completely close up the camper there is a danger of suffocation.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:57 PM   #10
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I was reading about winter camping and it was suggested that using reflectix to insulate around the bottom of the trailer to the ground on the outside. I have seen a package at home depot about the right height for $30. I plan on trying it when camping below freezing. Only problem I see is setting it up each time you move camp (and possibly freezing to the ground).
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:00 AM   #11
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I saw that someone on the airforums had used corkboard underneath vinyl as insulation on the floor with some success. I may try this when I yank the carpet on our scamperoo
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:22 AM   #12
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We also had a skirt that wrapped around the bottom of the camper to keep wind out, but this has to be held on the ground with ankers or stones.
Skirting is normal for people using RVs long-term (such as for a whole season) in sub-freezing conditions.

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I was reading about winter camping and it was suggested that using reflectix to insulate around the bottom of the trailer to the ground on the outside... Only problem I see is setting it up each time you move camp (and possibly freezing to the ground).
That's a common skirting method. The other problems include attaching it to the trailer in a way that works in the cold and does not damage the trailer's finish, matching to uneven ground, the lack of durability of this material when moved and reused, access to waste dump fittings, fitting it around the door, access to storage compartments, and the fact that many campgrounds do not allow it because they are not for long term stays and it can look terrible.

A fitted skirt of upholstery fabric and fasteners permanently mounted on the body can address most of these issues, at high cost, if you don't mind the fasteners all around the trailer.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:31 AM   #13
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foam

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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Expanding foam... well, expands and may be too much to the point it puts pressure on the walls. I think there's a low expanding foam... or whatever it's called. But, I'm still not sure I'd use it. The walls may bulge and then how would you get it out?

If you're asking about the foam for the bottom of the floor (underneath) yes, Lowe's sells it in 4'x8' sheets.
Spray foam acts like a glue , get some on your hands and try to get it off
They make a minimal expanding foam to stop bulging . I have seen windows and doors that were stuck closed by people using triple expanding foam to seal around the jambs. My question is how does sheet foam placed on the bottom of a trailer hold up to UV , road debris . air movement and water . (Some foams do absorb moisture)
Does the foam need a protective cover and could the foam trap moisture
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:54 AM   #14
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Ensolite is a brand name of closed-cell foam (meaning it does not absorb water) commonly used for camping pads. I have a large sheet (6x9 ft) that I've used on a concrete basement floor for decades that looks like new despite foot traffic around my work area. I've only seen it in blue and about 1/2 inch thick, very flexible. Also used in some campers as internal insulation under the wall carpeting.

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Old 04-23-2013, 01:34 PM   #15
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Thanks very much for your comments and ideas. While I was thinking of addressing the walls/ceiling, I think you are correct, Donna, that the floor should be a higher priority.

I did address the windows last year. Our Scamp is an older one with jalousy windows, a wonderful idea for summer, but not for cold, winter use, since there is no way to adequately and effectively seal the individual glass slats. It is also a pre-rat fur model with the thin ensolite wall/ceiling treatment.

We bought a roll of Refletive bubble material with the foil on its surface from Home Depot and cut panels to fit each window. It does make the trailer kinda' dark inside but it made a major difference on those cold, winter nights.

Back to the wall/ceiling insulation -- I noted some discussion about adhesives, but nothing definitive. I had planned on using a contact cement. I have tried the water based, non-smelly type on another project and was quite disappointed with its performance.

To deal with the contact cement vapors I'm plannng to remove both front and rear windows, place a couple of 20 inch box fans in one end blowing out. Once I'm ready to fit a section of foam, I'll don a mask that auto body men use when painting cars and turn on the fans. Then I'll use a paint roller to 'paint' the contact cement on the section of wall/ceiling.

Does this sound like a reasonable strategy?
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:43 PM   #16
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You might try a can of spray adhesive with a piece of sample foam. I've used the 3M brand (any big box store) with great success on foam cushion pieces and various coverings to lexan and ABS plastics. FAR less messy than trying to paint overhead with a roller full of glue!

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Old 04-23-2013, 03:40 PM   #17
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You might try a can of spray adhesive with a piece of sample foam. I've used the 3M brand (any big box store) with great success on foam cushion pieces and various coverings to lexan and ABS plastics. FAR less messy than trying to paint overhead with a roller full of glue!

Charlie Y
You got a good point. In fact one of my "U-build your own kitchen cabinet" books has a section about thinning contact cement out some with lacquer thinner or acetone so that it can be sprayed with a cheapo spray gun! The reason was to clad all plywood surfaces with masonite.

Heh! Heh! Heh!
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:59 PM   #18
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Spray adhesive could be great, but there are many brands and types. Even from 3M, there are several choices... choose carefully.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:41 PM   #19
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Spray adhesive could be great, but there are many brands and types. Even from 3M, there are several choices... choose carefully.
Exactly why I suggest a trial application using some scrap materials before going gung-ho!

Retired engineer here - theory is great - BUT don't skip the trials to make sure you got it right!
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