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Discussion Starter #1
(Context: year-round camping will range from overnight lows in the 20s to daytime highs ~100*F. Though no on the same day .... )

As near as I have been able to find, the Thinsulate SM600L expands to 1.75" and has an R value of 5.2 .

I have a dark van -- Green Gem. Because of the color (and I will not paint the roof white!) I would like to improve the insulation in the roof, so I am wondering about ordering an extra 10lf of Thinsulate and doubling up in the ceiling, for 3.5" of insulation. Or perhaps a layer of the SM600L and a layer of SM400L (1") for a total of 2.75" of insulation.

Other options would be to put a layer of polyiso on the ceiling, then Thinsulate. I don't like this idea.

Or per FarOutRide, use the SM600L and then use Low-E selectively.

Thoughts?

Thanks!
 

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Have you thought of using two layers of SM600L with a layer of reflectix between the two SM600L layers (on the underside of the thinsulate) and the inside of the van?


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If you intend to panel across the roof ribs you have plenty of room for it. Besides Noico acoustic insulation I have a layer of SM600L on my ceiling and my ribs remain exposed (but sheathed). My van sits in the open in hot sunshine and I've been impressed with how little heat radiates from the ceiling as I work inside of it. Double thinsulate sounds great to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wow, BabyBuffy -- that is beautiful!

Glad to hear that a single layer of SM600L gives you significant insulation in direct sun. Real-world reports are what I am looking for!
 

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BabyBuffy, that headliner is *beautiful*! My current plan is to do a headliner that covers the ribs, but when I see how stunning those ribs look when covered in wood, I have to stop & rethink that plan. It's like the difference between a flat plaster ceiling and a stunning beam ceiling.

Can you point me to a thread in which you describe how you did he wordwork? I've been scanning your posts but haven't found the right one yet.
 

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Be careful how you layer insulation, especially different kinds of insulation as it could lead to breathing issues/moisture issues. Home Depot has a type of furnace insulation that really blocks heat. My friend held a lighter on one side and I put my hand on the other side and could not feel the flame. It is peel and stick and about 1/4" thick, but I can't remember the name of it. Regarding painting your roof, you could perhaps have some white vinyl vehicle wrap installed. You can simply peel it off when you wanted.
 

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You won't have room in the roof unless you drop the ceiling.
You could put two layers in the wall but it's unneeded. The
air space between your wall panels and the Thinsulate(TM)
will add R-value.

Reflectix between skin and Thinsulate doesn't do much if
anything. A full sheet of Low-E (better than Reflectix) on
the ceiling after the Thinsulate would be a much better strategy.
Reduces solar gain through the roof and keeps heat from
escaping upward when it's cold.

-Hein
DIYvan.com
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks. Yes, I've just had the chance to measure the depth of the roof ribs, and it seems to be about 2" -- enough to accommodate a single later of SM600L and leave an airgap. Low-E may not be necessary/useful.

I had planned to use 3/8" pine planks to clad the ceiling but now that I see what BabyBuffy has done I may regroup to his style of ceiling and pine planks on the walls for a more open feel.

But it seems that a single of SM600L Thinsulate may be the way to go in either case.
 

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Can you point me to a thread in which you describe how you did he wordwork? I've been scanning your posts but haven't found the right one yet.

Thanks. I've never described it but here's some photos to tell the story pretty much.

Started by installing rivnuts in the ribs. Used those to attach plywood to serve as base for eventual 1/4" teak cladding. The ribs have sloped sides so I made tapered shims that I glued with contact cement before bolting on the plywood to rectalinearize the ribs. The teak itself is held to the plywood using contact cement.

It wasn't my original intention but the panels are held in place by the teak cladding. If I ever had to remove a panel there would be he77 to pay.

Originally was going to attach teak then hold panels in place between the ribs using hook and eye. If I had to do it again I could make that approach work but at the time I was too lax about attaching the hook and eye and used too little of it. In the end I'm glad because the seams against the panels are so tight fitting this way.

* - I got an error message uploading photos so will try again in separate post.
 

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* - I got an error message uploading photos so will try again in separate post.
2nd attempt with pictures failed again. Repeated 3rd time with less photos (4). Will post remaining three separately.
 

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2nd attempt with pictures failed again. Repeated 3rd time with less photos (4). Will post remaining three separately.
Remaining three photos.
 

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If you intend to panel across the roof ribs you have plenty of room for it. Besides Noico acoustic insulation I have a layer of SM600L on my ceiling and my ribs remain exposed (but sheathed). My van sits in the open in hot sunshine and I've been impressed with how little heat radiates from the ceiling as I work inside of it. Double thinsulate sounds great to me.


That is impressive! Well done BabyBuffy.


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The Thinsulate made a huge difference here in Florida after it was installed. After cutting and fitting .2" luan plywood for the walls and ceiling, my next step is to disassemble it and attach Reflectix to the back of the plywood using 3M 90 adhesive. There is an air gap of about 3 inches between the back of the plywood and the Thinsulate on the walls, so the Reflectix should work well as a radiant barrier. There is no air gap for the ceiling, so the Reflectix may be of less benefit there.

The Reflectix that I am using is not the bubble type, but rather a flat polyester reinforced perforated aluminum foil. It is commonly used in attics, and is surprisingly tough. Before reinstalling the plywood, a layer of closed cell foam will be attached between the metal frame of the van and the plywood to reduce squeaks. Wiring will also be installed where needed. At first it seemed foolish to assemble and fit the plywood, only to then remove it, but each of the vans we are building is basically a prototype.
 

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A full sheet of Low-E (better than Reflectix) on
the ceiling after the Thinsulate would be a much better strategy.
Reduces solar gain through the roof and keeps heat from
escaping upward when it's cold.

-Hein
DIYvan.com
Great thread here. @Hein would you apply the Low-E directly on top of (or technically under since it's the ceiling) the Thinsulate and then leave an air gap between the Low-E and the interior ceiling? Or adhere the low-e directly to the interior ceiling so there's an airgap between the Low-E and the Thinsulate? So in other words van metal -> thinsulate -> low-e -> air gap -> wood interior ceiling OR van metal -> thinsulate -> air gap -> low-e -> wood interior ceiling?

I'm most worried about reducing heat loss in the winter.
 

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Great thread here. @Hein would you apply the Low-E directly on top of (or technically under since it's the ceiling) the Thinsulate and then leave an air gap between the Low-E and the interior ceiling? Or adhere the low-e directly to the interior ceiling so there's an airgap between the Low-E and the Thinsulate? So in other words van metal -> thinsulate -> low-e -> air gap -> wood interior ceiling OR van metal -> thinsulate -> air gap -> low-e -> wood interior ceiling?

I'm most worried about reducing heat loss in the winter.
The layering is: van roof - Thinsulate(TM) - LowE - ceiling panel. There won't be an air gap so the effect of the Low-E is limited. It doesn't have a high R-value on it's own. We have been doing this for cold and hot climates and does appear to help. Mostly because the roof is less deep and so an extra layer does help. Going across the roof beams with the Low-E reduces thermal bridging to the ceiling panel. Hard ceilings can condensate right at the roof beams in really cold weather. No fun having that drip on your nose when you are asleep.

Remember, though, it's a van so not possible or worthwhile to attempt to 'super' insulate it. Make it quiet and comfortable and go have fun.

All the best,
Hein
 

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2 layers of reflectix = good.
adding more thinsulate WITHOUT compressing it = good

any insulation that is compressed = not good.
 

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I'm interested in the source for your reflective foil that is perforated, hence vapor permeable.
I used this product from Home Depot on the back of the .02" luan plywood. Like any radiant barrier, it needs an air gap to work properly. It's very tough, and won't rip. It needed to be cut with scissors or a utility knife when I installed it. So far I have been very pleased with the combination of the Reflectix and Thinsulate.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Reflectix-48-in-x-125-ft-Heavy-Duty-Perforated-Radiant-Barrier-RB4812550/203927012

I also used closed cell foam anywhere the luan plywood attached to the van's metal wall and ceiling ribs to prevent the squeaking that some have reported where wood contacts metal. 3M 90 spray glued it to the metal ribs before installing the luan plywood walls and ceiling. The thin Reflectix on the back of the luan plywood might have also prevent squeaks, but the closed cell foam was cheap, and I did not want to take a chance with noise problems after the walls were finished. It works. No wall squeaks when driving.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Dow-STYROFOAM-22-9-sq-ft-Unfaced-Polystyrene-Roll-Insulation-5-5-in-W-x-50-ft-L/50071521
 
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