I appreciate your recommendation to use the canned spray to fill all the gaps and cracks. As you can see, there are some relatively easy ways for you to insulate your caravan for the winter. However, if you want to stay in your caravan over the winter months you’ll need to ensure it’s properly insulated.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'caravanhelper_co_uk-medrectangle-3','ezslot_5',125,'0','0'])); A caravan that isn’t properly insulated is prone to cracked taps and pipes along with water damage. I definitely will be obtaining free used sofa sear foam when I redo my boat seats that are extremely weathered and old. All smooth wall, no cabinetry. Super Detailed Rundown of Common Insulation Materials (Plus an Informative Chart! If you have windows in your van, adding insulated window coverings with a reflective surface facing inwards will greatly reduce heat loss through your windows, and the reflective surface will help keep radiant heat inside. You could use sheep’s wool batting under the plywood floor, but because it’s not a rigid insulation you would need to build a frame to support the floor above it. We recommend using Reflectix to shield your windows or to line large cavities (such as inside door panels). Fiberglass also tends to be a bit thick, so using it in your walls may take away from interior space. The curved walls of the average van definitely adds some challenges. renovating an old New Zealand camper from the 70s this video is doing a little bit of framing and a little bit of insulating with polystyrene insulation. Sheep’s wool can absorb moisture in the air without compromising its insulation abilities, and it will wick condensation away from your van’s metal wall. XPS manufacturers use HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) in its production, which are incredibly harmful greenhouse gases that are much worse than CO2 in their effect on global warming. I live in louisoky. Here’s How We Recommend Insulating Your Van: How much does it cost to insulate your van? Hi Lisa, Thermacork can be an excellent insulation material and it has many benefits. If you… Read more ». We’ll definitely check it out for a future update of this post. The argument is that while the insulation will slow down the heat from getting into your van at first, once it does get in the insulation actually prevents it from radiating back out once the day cools off. Polyiso typically comes foil-faced on one side, which both acts as an effective vapor barrier and provides a radiant heat barrier if you install it with an air gap. Alternatively, we recommend insulating with thicker Havelock Wool insulation between your van’s ribs, and adding a thin layer of another breathable material like Thinsulate to cover the ribs. ), Lizard Skin and Other “Insulating” Ceramic Paints. I am insulating my VW T5 and I am dealing with big empty spaces in the frame itself. How much should we budget? I understand what you’re going for here and that most people aren’t familiar with terms like “thermal conductivity”, but its important to understand as there is a little misguided information in this otherwise well-written article. The higher the R-value of the walls/ceiling of your van, the better your van will resist heat penetrating from the outside in the summer, and heat… Read more », Hi, I have a 1978 Chevy G20 with rather curvy walls and live in a very humid area. Hi Cara, thanks for commenting and glad the article was helpful! When we’re in hot weather, we run our vent fan literally 24 hours a day and it works wonders. If you’ve watched any van build Youtube videos, chances are you’ve seen someone insulating their van by gluing Reflectix up against the metal walls with paneling right on top of it. On hot summer days, putting up your window coverings with the reflective side facing outwards will reflect radiant heat away from your van. Unfortunately, all rigid closed cell foam materials like polyiso are very poor at sound dampening. No worries about the length – on the contrary, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I think it adds a lot of insight to the discussion here. We generally don’t recommend using fiberglass in your van, but we do recognize its utility as a budget material. We cover everything you need to know - pros & cons, bathrooms & showers, where to sleep, making money on the road, FAQ - and more! Rock wool has a higher R-value per inch than fiberglass, and its rigidity makes it much more durable and easier to work with. When you live in a van you create a lot of moisture from cooking, running a heater, and just breathing. Looking at this chart, there are a few clear winners that both insulate well and are cost-effective. Sheep’s wool is a renewable insulation material that’s non-toxic, very environmentally-friendly, and has some great benefits. This was incredibly helpful. Closed-cell polyurethane spray foam comes in two varieties: the big spray kits that professionals use to insulate houses, and the smaller cans of spray foam like Great Stuff. Thanks for the suggestion! But ultimately I want this article… Read more ». Hi! VERDICT: Use this if you can’t find polyiso. Height is typically an area where space is at a premium in a van, and rigid foam insulation offers much more R-value for the space. Thanks for the help! It seems like if I use reflectix on the floor with a 1inch gap I my as… Read more », Hi Adam, glad you enjoyed the article! And if you use rigid foam board insulation (polyiso or XPS), it’s entirely possible to fully insulate a van for less than $100. But insulating well is the first step to keeping heat inside your van. It stops cold draughts under the caravan and keeps the wind off the sides, as well as adding considerable insulation thickness to the walls. Thanks for the suggestion! ?I would welcome any ideas,thanks in advance. Over the last 3 decades, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has partnered with the US Department of Energy to test various methods of energy efficiency for old and new manufactured homes. All insulation materials have pros and cons. To answer your questions: 1. Thanks you two! My understanding of how it responds to moisture is that if water is splashed onto it, it will roll off, and it will float in a swimming pool. You can even use it to build lightweight cabinets for your van! This is why you should consider switching to propane. It bonds in under a minute and holds very well. While Reflectix does have an R-value, it’s very minimal (about R-1), and it’s very costly for what you get. Hope that helps! Also did you just use foam around it or some other spay/ caulk adhesive as well? What an amazing guide and information… thank you so much. Hi Rob, I personally would not add anything in addition to the sheep’s wool – definitely not a vapor barrier of any sort. While we really want this to be a thing, it’s just not (at least, not right now). I am just starting my DIY conversion of my newly purchased 2006 140″ sprinter. Thank you so much for this very helpful article! But why did you choose to cover the wheel wells with reflectix? So that said I don’t plan to put a vent fan in or have a wiring solar panel and battery system. Hi Olive, so glad our blog has been helpful! It’s the loose polyfil that I used and some of the polyfil batting where loose wouldn’t work, I didn’t use any of the foam from the sofas because the loose fill is so easy to work with. : This was a great very well done article and these open comments can open up more ideas and improvements. Thanks for the comment! Spray Great Stuff on the back of the panel along the perimeter as well as a few lines across the middle. But if you regularly deal with extreme heat or extreme cold, there may be a few other things to think about (which we discuss below). However, you need an air gap of at least 3/4″ for the foil to have any effect – and since air gaps are typically a waste of much-needed space in van insulation the foil will basically be a non-factor as far as insulation. Really hope that LizardSkin stuff turns out to be REAL. So glad this was helpful, best of luck with your build! The bigger issue with many van builders misusing radiant barriers is with Reflectix, since Reflectix has almost no insulating properties and is really only a radiant barrier.… Read more ». Hi John, thanks for your help. That is, if you can get over the unfortunate environmental costs. Also watch out for foam seeping out of the spray tip! We have not considered this type of insulation, but we’ll keep it in mind and look into it when we update this post in the near future. Rock wool also has some emerging health concerns, so if you use this make sure to wear protective gear and seal it off completely from the rest of your van. Underfloor insulation, benefits caravan owners in many ways such as: Prevents moisture from penetrating the floor. I was thinking of using 2 1/2″ thick rock wool against the outside with 1/2″ foam board on the interior side and maybe a vapor barrier in between. Then I got confused as to your chosen solution. We didn’t run the wiring beforehand (we weren’t quite ready for that step), but we did tape up some flexible tubing/wire conduit where we planned to have wire runs, insulated around them, then later ran the wiring through. Hi Amy, reflective insulation needs to be exposed to air in order to have any benefit. This is because a well-insulated caravan and a thick duvet or sleeping bag should do the job. While insulation does make the inside of your van more comfortable, vanlife isn’t about sitting in your van – it’s about getting out there and enjoying everything this world has to offer! Rock Wool is definitely an interesting option for vans and should be easier to get it to conform. Thanks for the support, and best of luck with your build! The insulation itself will provide some sound deadening, but adding a dedicated sound deadener like Noico’s sound deadening mat to your van’s bare metal before insulating will help keep road noise to a minimum. My Caravan is 36x12 2010. I am guessing you make use of the vans grame channels for long runs of wire. XPS manufacturers say they will stop using HFCs by 2020. When we initially did our build, we neglected sound deadening and immediately regretted it due to the road noise. Denim batt insulation is made from recycled cotton blue jean material. The EPA does not recommend using these products in place of bulk insulation, and there are even tales of quixotic homeowners insulating with only ceramic paint and having severe heating and cooling issues with their homes – not to mention pissing away thousands of dollars in the process. I agree that insulation alone doesn’t cut it most of the time, but I think insulation definitely has value, particularly in cold weather. Install each panel one-by-one. Adding reflective coverings to your windows during the day will reflect radiant heat away from your van and keep the inside much cooler. If you use foam board insulation (or spray foam) for your van build then you’ve effectively created a vapor barrier anyway, since foam is impermeable to moisture. While this sounds like a great idea in theory, there is no actual scientific research that backs any of this up. Most commonly used for commercial HVAC insulation, it is great for sound, tolerates vibration and has a high R value. There’s also some research that shows XPS performing better than polyiso in extreme cold, so if you regularly spend time in very cold weather this may be your best option. But wait - you're not done yet! This creates a full waterproof insulation. Read our free guide. How to insulate a van with polyiso foam. Installation can also be pretty intimidating, not to mention messy. Hi Drem, glad to hear it was helpful! Please check your entries and try again. There’s definitely a lot of confusion out there on the internet, but we’re trying to do our part to cut through the confusion for other DIY builders. Would be nice to know your thoughts. Conduction is heat transferred through solid surfaces – think of when you touch a hot cast iron skillet and burn your hand. The bottom sheet, at the front and rear will need to either have a bend to attach under the floor, or finish at the corner with an edge trim. I’d personally choose vibration dampening mats + thinsulate for a cargo van conversion, not polyiso. I don’t know what they did after but that seems like a good idea to start with? As far as insulation goes, the function of foil facing is to serve as a radiant barrier to reflect radiant heat. Wander Pupdates by Nymeria: What Does a Dog Need for Vanlife? Best of luck with your build! Vent fans help you with both moisture control and temperature control, and they also make sure your van stays safe while cooking or running a heater. We’re pretty much sold on using this for our next build. If you’re somewhere without natural shade, you can create your own with an awning. This should help to prevent your toilet from freezing. Hi Lataa, unfortunately we don’t know anyone off the top off our heads. With polyiso, you get great bang for your buck and even better R-value per inch. Do what you can to protect it so you can keep spending those cold winter months somewhere special. If you’re concerned about VOC’s, air quality, and condensation inside your van – and if you prefer to use natural materials – then sheep’s wool is an excellent choice. Hi Simon, so glad you found the article helpful! When we were planning our build, we had all kinds of questions about insulation: What’s the best material to use? Reflectix does have its uses (it’s great for window coverings), but there is a lot of misinformation out there so many DIY van builders end up using it incorrectly. Can you link the indirect swamp cooler you use? Although EPS is cheap and works fine as insulation, it has a lower R-value per inch and degrades over time – especially when exposed to the vibrations of a van. VERDICT: Better than fiberglass, but it’s too absorbent and mold-prone for general use in a van. Now you’re ready to head off to Alaska in December, or drive down to Baja in July. Now that we understand how basic heat transfer works, let’s take a look at the insulation materials we can use to slow it down. Do you think there would be any benefit to something like this? Tips that will help you keep your caravan insulated during the colder months Using the ‘Right’ Gas. The good news is an insulation bag can make a world of difference. And when you’re building a van, R-value per inch is supremely important. This post should cut through some of the confusion you may have about insulation, so you can get your van built and get out there on the road! For more epic build guides, vanlife tips, and puppy photos, be sure to follow us on Instagram @gnomad_home and on Facebook. It’s widely recommended for diy van builds, but it’s also widely misunderstood. Well, maybe not. I’ll probably follow this exactly. Hi Jaclyn, thanks for commenting! We will take a further look at this as option. Thanks, Iain. This also eliminates draughts and moisture from entering your living space. Tips that will help you keep your caravan insulated during the colder months, caravan and a thick duvet or sleeping bag, Caravan Awnings – We Cover Everything You Need To Know. Sound deadeners like Noico work by dampening the vibration of the metal van body, so it needs to be put down directly on the floors/walls before you put down the Reflectix. There’s a lot of debate about vapor barriers and moisture control in van builds. But what if you spend most of your time in areas that are extremely cold or extremely hot? Fiberglass soaks up moisture, which you definitely don’t want sitting behind your walls. I wasn’t even going to insulate but Free recycled changed my mind! However, Great Stuff canned spray foam is perfect for gluing up foam boards and insulating between them, as well as filling all those little gaps and cracks. Our opinion: Don’t worry about putting up a separate vapor barrier. I would like to share with you how I insulated my 96 ford window ext van for FREE. Learn more >>. Make sure the perimeter is completely covered. For the cab, we have a retractable Eclipse Sunshade mounted to the windshield and reflective coverings for the driver/passenger windows. Insulation slows the rate of heat transfer into and out of your van, which makes it easier to maintain the temperature you want. One would probably use reflective foil tape to tape the seams between adjacent rolls of foil-faced duct… Read more ». My wife and I love the idea of traveling around the states in a van while working remotely for a few years. Hi Eric, thanks for commenting! We have reversible reflective curtains in our van, and they make it noticeably warmer inside when we face them inwards. Thank you for saying so John! So I expect to spend time in some… Read more ». Cleaning it up and shaving it down can be very time consuming and messy, and it’s very difficult to remove spray foam from fabrics (or any other surface). Why You Need Proper Ventilation in Your Van, Insulating for Extreme Cold: More R-Value and Less Thermal Bridging, Insulating For Extreme Heat: Active Ventilation and Reflective Window Coverings. Hi Greg, thanks for the tips! It is exposed to the elements and gets very chilly. Click on the big orange button in the email and you're all set! Hi Molly, there’s zero squeaking sounds from our insulation while driving. Make sure that the fan heater is on a mains hook-up. We had good results using Gorilla Construction Adhesive on our XPS. * Nominal R-value / Unit Thickness     ** Amount you would need to spend to insulate 1 square foot to R-1. I am slightly confused about what R-value is, I have searched it up and still don’t really understand could you please explain? am new to caravan living and am fed up with not being able to feel my toe's, finger's and nose. I’m still struggling myself to find the best solution for insulating my van, so I’m not criticising you, I just thought your discussion was going to lead to a different conclusion than what most people seem to… Read more », Hi Paul, Thanks for the comment! Cheers! You can also buy just the ceramic microbubbles and add it to the paint of your choice. You can also use reflective surfaces inside your van to help retain heat during cold weather. 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