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Discussion Starter #1
So,... after much agonizing over the dropping temperatures in southern Oregon in recent days, I sucked in a deep breath and sprayed the interior of the van with a "Foam It Green" 600 square foot kit. And boy, (I don't generally use terms like "boy", more like [email protected]#$%F**&$, but I know this is a family friendly forum) do I ever have some advice for anyone contemplating this adventure.
So first of all I didn't have a heated place to do this with a tall enough door to get the van inside so I got it into my very cold barn. Since the number one foul up of these systems seems to be not getting everything up to the right temperature, I covered the van with a bunch of moving blankets (the blankets don't actually move, you just use them for moving) some foam carpet padding I found and then a large tarp. I installed three electric heaters (propane has too much moisture) and ran them for three days until I was sure the temperature of the canisters had reached about seventy five degrees. The van varied somewhat from the lowest points at about 65 degrees to the roof at about eighty degrees. It supposedly works between sixty five and eighty five with the ideal being seventy five. The real reason I waited three days was because I kept finding excuses to put it off but finally thought just do it so I carefully followed the instructions and it all went well with the foam coming out just as it should. Huge mess, I mean dots of foam everywhere, but I was happy, and by the way, no distortion of the panels and I put it on thick, two to four inches depending on where it went. Little did I know, this was just the start. I should point out that I've been paranoid about the insulation ever since I discovered that my Magnetic grey van is like a pizza oven when parked in the sun. I thought about Thinsulate but I thought the r-value was too low. I did buy some to do the doors and and channels with (despite Travlin's enthusiastic dialogue on the merits of it) but decided foam with it's r7 per inch was the best way to go. So I let it cure for a day and then started to cut it down to flush it out to the vans columns. And [email protected]$#C, what a pita. I first attacked it with my surfboard shaping tools, I mean, I've cut a lot of foam in the past, just not so much over the top of my head. After my power plane, shurforms and such failed to make any headway, I resorted to sawzall, chain saw type head on a grinder, large disk sander and the finally the tool of choice, a multitool with the longest blade available. After two five hour sessions, I'm making some headway, I think maybe another five to seven hours should do it. You have to suit up, complete with respirator and good eye protection because it really loves to get in your eyes, and it's loaded with static electricity so it clings to your clothes for days and when you remove your suit it blows all around and gets all over the clean clothes you had under the suit. Anyway, you get the idea. I have no connection to Hein, never met the man, but I'm thinking maybe Thinsulate is pretty OK stuff.
 

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How about the floor, do you plan to spray foam it from below?
 

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So, I was hoping the 200 kit would do the job. You used the 600 - did you have lots left over, and do you think it can be done with the smaller kit? Or should I go for the 600?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'll try to post a picture though I'm having trouble doing that. I had already done the floor with sheet foam. I used the entire kit but I filled the walls in places to four inches thick and then a lot of foam was proud and had to be shaved off so I would say the 200 kit would be ok to get an inch or two of foam on the roof and sidewalls which would leave a lot less mess than the way I did it. If they made a 300 ft kit, it would be perfect. I certainly wouldn't do the doors or the channels, just the roof and sidewalls.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So did you fill the upper and lower wall cavities with foam?

Yes, complete sidewall, high roof van, so top, middle and bottom. As you start to build the stuff up in layers, it becomes more and more irregular on the surface until by the forth layer it's pretty rough looking. I think it might be best just using a coat or two on the vans skin, maybe an inch or two of build up and then add something else (thinsulate or whatever) to finish up.
 

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This article indicates how spray polyurethane foam has excellent acoustic damping properties: http://bresslerinsulation.com/soundratings_files/sound-rating-and-spray-polyurethane-foam-article.pdf

As the 600ft kit from Home Depot describes it providing R5.48 per inch, two or three inches ought to be all that is needed to provide superior thermal and acoustic damping. Anywhere the coverage is thinner will be less effective, but, considering how very well polyurethane performs, these small areas probably won't be much of a sacrifice in overall effectiveness.

I can't see any reason to double-down with a thinner layer of this foam and add Thinsulate as well. It would just be more expense and effort for little gained in overall performance. What you have is the Cadillac of van insulation techniques. It costs more and delivers more than most of the alternatives I've seen discussed. Like anything, there are considerations to be dealt with on any insulation choice when it comes to how other parts of the build will interface with the insulated areas.

Looking forward to seeing the photos and hearing about how it performs.
 

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So did you fill the upper and lower wall cavities with foam?

Yes, complete sidewall, high roof van, so top, middle and bottom. As you start to build the stuff up in layers, it becomes more and more irregular on the surface until by the forth layer it's pretty rough looking. I think it might be best just using a coat or two on the vans skin, maybe an inch or two of build up and then add something else (thinsulate or whatever) to finish up.
Maybe a layer of spray foam followed by a layer of spray on fiberglass insulation would be a quick and easy way to go. I see that there are local contractors here who install both products.
 

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Surfvan, I was wondering if there is any odor? I assume you'll be covering anyway, but I might not cover the ceiling, especially if I can get a passably even spray pattern without too much cutting afterward. This article is long-winded and inconclusive: https://www.buildinggreen.com/blog/epa-raises-health-concerns-spray-foam-insulation . I'll be Checking Thinsulate next. The cheap rubber mat that Uhaul left in my van is all the off-gassing I can stand.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Surfvan, I was wondering if there is any odor? I assume you'll be covering anyway, but I might not cover the ceiling, especially if I can get a passably even spray pattern without too much cutting afterward. This article is long-winded and inconclusive: https://www.buildinggreen.com/blog/epa-raises-health-concerns-spray-foam-insulation Checking Thinsulate next. The cheap rubber mat that Uhaul left in my van is all the off-gassing I can stand.
No, no odor. I chose the Foam It Green kit because they claimed to use a greener formula that had no off gassing. When I sprayed it, there was a slight odor, not too noxious, when I took off the respirator. I let it cure over night keeping the heat in the van at about 50 degrees. By the next morning there was no odor at all and not any when you shave the foam.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Does your father smell of Elderberries?
Mom says he was a lonely logger with a lot of wood chips. I wouldn't know, he ran off with a woodchuck when I was very young. Mom says the lesson in that is don't marry someone for their wealth.
 

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... The cheap rubber mat that Uhaul left in my van is all the off-gassing I can stand.
I bought some rubber mat that really stank when I unrolled it at home. I couldn't stand it in the house so I washed it with Mr Clean and left it spread out upstairs in the barn for the summer, flipping it occasionally. In the fall it still stank.

Then I wiped it with Goo Gone and the smell disappeared, even when I installed it in the close quarters of a van.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You have any pictures of before
trimming began ?

trimmed sides look good -
Just the one I posted, as you noticed, I had already started trimming the sides. By the way, I'm still at it, trying to figure out howto sand the ceiling without the dust getting in my eyes. It filters around the goggles somehow.
 
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