Insulation and Walls

Hey everyone, Over the past few weeks, things have really started coming together and I am SO excited to show you how much closer we are to a liveable space. We’ve reached the point where every day we work on the van, it looks quite different by the time we wrap things up. Getting the floor in was satisfying, as was getting the fan, vent, and ceiling in, but the insulation and walls? Total game changer. They’re not even done yet and I couldn’t wait to show you!

A benefit of doing the walls in sections is that we were able to start getting them up in stages a few weeks ago, rather than have to wait until we were ready to cover everything all at once. This allowed us to leave a few sections open where we still have to do a little work on wiring, mouse-proofing, and things like that. It also made it much easier for us to split up tasks while remaining available to one another as needed, since some things were occasionally a two person job, but not often enough for both of us to devote our time to it entirely. 

For insulation, we decided to go with wool; yes, sheep’s wool. More traditional insulation methods pose quite a few problems in campervans. Foam board insulation doesn’t fit well in the uneven walls, you lose a lot of space and the gaps leave you susceptible to more condensation. Fiberglass batts tend to be a lower R-value with worse off-gassing than other options, and spray foam is so difficult to remove, many mechanics/body shops won’t work on campervans insulated with the stuff. So, sheep’s wool it is!

One thing about wool insulation is you can’t use adhesive to install it. The most common solution we’ve seen from other people is to use string to hold the wool in place as they put up the walls and ceiling. Rather than go this route, we thought we’d try using these little zip tie things that Matt had purchased for some other part of this build. We had enough left over and figured we might as well get more use of them. So far, so good!

Thread the zip tie through the wool,
run it through the anchor,
thread it back through the wool,
secure it,
peel off the back of the tape
and you’re good to go!

The adhesive on the back of the plastic piece isn’t very strong, so we’ve been scraping that off and replacing it with stronger double-sided tape. We didn’t even bother trying the string method since we already had these, but I don’t think I would do it any other way anyway. A few of these along the top of each batt holds everything in place without compressing the wool nearly as much as I imagine the string would have.

Getting the insulation up meant we could finally put in the backsplash and the wall sections we’d made to go around the windows, as well as the boxes that are in the (future) kitchen wall. Those things were only two person jobs to get them started, so once we had them in place and the first few screws in, one of us continued on those, while the other went back to hanging insulation. 

These were a pain in the butt…
as were these…
honestly, they all were.

This took a little longer than expected (do I say that in every post? I feel like I might say that in every post. It seems to be a recurring issue for us), but the picture below is what the van looked like by the time we were done. Since then we’ve managed to get most of the wall paneling up, which was perfect timing heading into last week.

I took some time off from work last week with the intention of finishing up the southern end of the Long Trail in Vermont, as I only have a little over a hundred miles or so left. Over the course of the past month we’ve felt increasing pressure to move things along with the van a little faster, though, so my plans for the week changed. I did make time for a quick day hike on Thursday, but aside from that my focus was on the van.

I managed to get a few more wall panels cut and installed, then all the walls primed and a coat of poly on the wheel well boxes. We’ve been painting the back of the wall panels will mold/mildew resistant paint, so that slows the whole process down a bit but is totally worth the peace of mind. In the picture below, you can see a few wall pieces missing. Those have been put up since then, but I didn’t get any new pictures of it before things were covered with a drop cloth so I could work on a few other things in there during the week.

Careful around the ceiling!
What a difference a little primer makes

That’s about it for this stage. I might have gotten a little more done last week had I not taken some time to catch up on a few other projects unrelated to the van (like face masks I haven’t had the motivation to make the past seven months). All in all though, we do feel a little better about where things are at now.

This past weekend we started building our storage benches, which I’ll be able to show you shortly. Those are one of the things for which the van is currently turned into a workspace. We’ve been lucky to regularly get a parking spot right outside our front door (unassigned parking at our building), so during the week I can get some of the painting and staining done on my lunch breaks, then just leave the van open to air out. The cushions are also almost done. Maybe after this weekend I’ll be able to show you the finished cushions on the finished benches!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: