Sunday, February 19, 2017

Snug as a Bug in a Rug

View from the back

View from the slider
Insulation, its a religion. I found during my research that there are 50 ways to insulate a van and if you read 50 threads, every project does it differently. I had originally settled on using polyiso foam insulation board, based on a lot of posts and a few blog entries I read. Everything I read about the fold backed bubble wrap stuff said it was useless, especially since it requires air space to be effective, though it is a very common option. I also considered DIY spray foam, but the cost and the mess left me feeling like it may be an option for the future, but not on my first go around. Then I talked to my local van conversion guy, Ian. He spent nearly an hour going over what he does and the options he would suggest for me. I liked the idea of the wool batting but the lead time was too far out. He talked me right out of the polyiso based on his experience with it and the relative difficulty of installation.

View of ceiling
His cheapest and most commonly used option is recycle foam batting. It looks like carpet padding but is hydrophobic, unlike carpet padding. He gets it from the local HVAC contractors who use it for insulating ducting. It came in a 75' x 6' roll, which was promised to be enough to do three layers on the walls, two on the ceiling and fill all the nooks and crannies. The nice thing about this stuff is that you just cut it to size, spray on the adhesive and stick up. Another great thing about the foam batting is a claimed R16 with three layers on the walls, which is about and inch deep. That compared to R6 of polyiso and the fact that the foam batting also works as a sound dampener, and my decision was clear.

Great Stuff in ribs

Nailer & Sound dampening
We fell a little short on the nooks and crannies and doors so I am going to go back and see if I can get a little bit more to finish everything off. If not, I'll use Great Stuff to do the door panels and other nooks.

First Panel
With Rajo cutting while I glued stuff up, we got it 97% complete in about 4 hours. I spent a couple hours during the morning prepping the ribs with Great Stuff Gap and Crack spray foam, and attaching some 2x4 anchors to the center supports on the side panels.  I also applied some butyl sound dampening material to the wheel wells, to reduce road noise. While Ian the van guy didn't think it necessary, I've been driving around in that van for a couple of weeks now and its really loud. I can't wait to go to Lowes tomorrow just to see how it sounds on the inside.
Sound dampening on wheel well



  1. Love the insulation job. I would like to mimic the work. Where can I find the recycled foam batting that you used?

    1. I got it from our local van conversion guy who buys it in bulk from an HVAC contractor.

  2. After using the van for a while, are you pleased with you insulation choice? I will be doing my own build and am very interested in using the same HVAC insulation material. Looks very easy to work with. Thanks for your time!