Insulation for a panel van

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  • I read somewhere about some panel van diyers waxoyling interior panels.... doubt I could find time for that myself but imagine that it might help as long as bottom drainage from sills isn't blocked in the process.


    Dacron looks like a reasonable option glued to the back of ply lining or somehow curtain floated.


    For anyone feeling flush thinsulate blanketing is available for floating/curtain type attachment.


    I reckon that unless you can truly 'bond' a material to the steel panels then it's better to leave breathing room.


    Hanging Vapour barriers will have some, possibly considerable, effect but are unlikely to be efficiently moisture proof when applied to a panel van.


    I forgot about dacron.... It looks like a pretty good compromise to me....and is utilised by professional converters.

  • And after all this insulation,whatever brand or type you decide on remember you are ,as doc says,living,cooking,breathing in a van and you must get fresh air in, leave a window open etc or you will not be a very well puppy!

  • Iv just about finished my latest transit van convererson l used silver bubble wrap stuff than bored then carpet always dun this and always worked for me silver layer stops any moister wood breathes and carpet extra worth so all good and always vent keeps everything dry and healthy for how's inside that's wat always dun if that's any help lol

  • You can use all kinds of fancy insulating products and techniques but go to Alaska or Northern Europe above the arctic circle you wont find many of them in regular use.

    Heat and ventilation feature very high on the ideal solution. If youve sufficient heat and passive ventilation you wont get condensation or damp.

    I think theres a tendency in the modern world to over engineer solutions to very simple problems and which usually inadvertently cause additional problems.

    Di occhi belli ne è pieno il mondo,ma di occhi che ti guardano con sincerità e amore, c'è ne sono pochi. :hippy:

  • That last paragraph is very true of almost everything manufactured.


    Try to find a new vehicle that isn't over-stuffed with masses of foolish gubbins that most people will rarely use. (The cheapest Yugo estate is front runner at the moment in my simple car stakes).


    Not that I need one, but I constantly hear from people who do have new cars about how technically faulty they are; usually the electronic something or other has stopped working, and the vehicle has gone into crawl mode. One guy I know took in his fancy new Citroen no less than 12 times in 9 months!

    Usually repaired free under the warranty while its new, but always the hassle it causes is the biggest complaint.


    No doubt more expensive horrors lurk further down the road of time and use.

  • Tr

    You can use all kinds of fancy insulating products and techniques but go to Alaska or Northern Europe above the arctic circle you wont find many of them in regular use.

    Heat and ventilation feature very high on the ideal solution. If youve sufficient heat and passive ventilation you wont get condensation or damp.

    I think theres a tendency in the modern world to over engineer solutions to very simple problems and which usually inadvertently cause additional problems.

    Sufficient heat & ventilation is a fair point but will only work if the heat is "dry" Use a gas fire & your space will be running with moisture whatever ventilation you have. A log burner or a diesel fired heating system will be a better heat source. A gas man once told me that bottled gas is nearly 70% water, don't know how true that is....

  • it’s a balancing act. A semi sealed environment with ever changing external/internal factors,

    One or more occupants living in that space, breathing inside and creating moisture from cooking etc.
    The type of heating used, the methods of ventilation, all have some influence regarding air quality and using a appropriate type of insulation is just another control factor in the balancing act.

    let’s consider pine (match) boarding. Timber furniture/frame work. Dried for internal/domestic conditions @ 17% moisture say for structural stability. Too damp the environment it swells, bows (If untreated it could eventually rot) resulting in Mould, smells which could lead to poor air quality and possible health risks. Avoiding a build up of moisture/damp areas should reduce the likelihood of these, inc rust, corrosion of the vehicle.

    Fortunately our vehicles themselves tend to have a short-ish lifespan. So we rarely get to see the extent of poor insulation/ventilation over the longterm. However we do get to feel the benefit of good insulation over both short on longterm use of these spaces.


    If I find after a long winter, that I’m having to scrub mould from the walls behind the bed, or find once clean, stored cloths smelling too fusty to wear without draping them over a thorn hedge to air. I know the balance is out of kilter.

  • Tr

    Sufficient heat & ventilation is a fair point but will only work if the heat is "dry" Use a gas fire & your space will be running with moisture whatever ventilation you have. A log burner or a diesel fired heating system will be a better heat source. A gas man once told me that bottled gas is nearly 70% water, don't know how true that is....

    Its not that a gas bottle is 70% water,it isnt, its just one refined form or another of natural methane gas from hydrogen carbon fossil fuel deposits.

    The water comes from the chemical reaction when burning the hydrocarbon with oxygen in the atmosphere which produces heat and bi products of carbon dioxide carbon monoxide carbon ash and water in the form of water vapour.


    The same happens burning any carbon fuel such as wood, coal or diesel but the water gets readily expelled up the chimney or out the exhaust.

    Most household gas fires do the same,the problem with condensation from gas fires usually comes from portable flueless gas heaters and gas cooking stoves that are venting off water vapour straight into the room theyre burning in and not up a chimney.


    ALL humans produce on avaerage around 2 pints of water vapour from breath and from skin evaporation a day so even without any kind of heating at all youll get condensation and damp in a closed environment like a van.

    Di occhi belli ne è pieno il mondo,ma di occhi che ti guardano con sincerità e amore, c'è ne sono pochi. :hippy:

    The post was edited 1 time, last by NomadicRT ().

  • The atmosphere of the UK is on average 65% humidity.At 95% you see it as mist and fog when it condenses out on the ground its dew.The only time its relatively low is during long spells of high pressure fine weather.Park by any water the humidity will be higher.

    Even if you dried out your air in the van, as soon as you open the door you introduce fresh humid air.

    You cant realistically remove it and overly dry air from electric heating and air conditioning often makes people feel unwell.


    Its not the humidity thats a problem,its allowing it to build up and stagnate and to contact cold surfaces that causes condensation and the conditions for damp and mould. Keeping air on the move through spaces reduces the chance of condensation.

    Burners are probably the best form of heat because they suck in huge amounts of fresh air into them and thats coming in through vents in floors and walls and gaps round doors and windows.

    But there will be spaces where air doesnt move much like in cupboards wardrobes bunkbed spaces so ideally you want air to be drawn in via vents in those spaces or find acway to ventilate them.

    Di occhi belli ne è pieno il mondo,ma di occhi che ti guardano con sincerità e amore, c'è ne sono pochi. :hippy:

  • Ive lived in my trailer 14 years with gas heating, I dont get condensation. I used to get a musty smell in underbunk spaces and wardrobe ubtil i took out the tiny plastic vents and put 5v computer fans in the holes and run them once a day abd cured the musty smell.


    Only place i get dripping with condensation is in my unheated awning if theres been a frost and then condensation rains off the ceiling. If i was sensible and left the awning open all-night i wouldnt get it.


    Theres only two effective ways you can stop condensation forming on interior steel panels of vans is by totally excluding the air by packing tight with insulation/gluing it to the panel or building your insulated living space and making sure you have constant airflow in the airspace between your living quarters and the van metal.


    If you cant afford much then rotary roof vents (or solar powered roof vents) will keep the air moving and cracking a side window or two a quarter inch is usually enough to keep the worst of the condensation down...thats all i used to do years ago.


    Our manky damp climate and large daily temperature variations here means youll have issues with humidity and condensation, a lot can be prevented by allowing adequate ventilation.


    Ive ripped out all my foil/bubble van insulation and trialling some self adhesive closed cell sound and thermal insulation thats stuck directly to the metal.....going to see how that performs before i bother with refitting it out.

    Di occhi belli ne è pieno il mondo,ma di occhi che ti guardano con sincerità e amore, c'è ne sono pochi. :hippy:

    The post was edited 1 time, last by NomadicRT ().

  • Yeah we all have a nasty little area that needs constant vigilance, mine is under the double bed at the rear of van,I cut a hole in the side of van and vented the area but still damp, I leave the access flap open now when I can ,to get the air circulation moving,think I'm going to try more insulation on the floor for winter :/

  • Hey Boris, I've found that if you arrange an inlet grille and an outlet grille on opposite sides and with the outside outlet below the inside inlet you get an automatic flow of air as long as the inside is slightly warmer than the outside, which is the normal situation.

  • Ok I have installed a 12v fan which I use under the bed (thanks NT), I switch on for about 15mins every damp morning and along with more insulation on the floor its sorted.I should mention that I use old damp trap containers filled with cheap salt,25p per bag and fills about 6 , one in the corner of bed etc, when parked I also leave my overhead lockers slightly open using a peg to wedge open this cures the chance of wet pants ! I have also put more insulation on the back (outside facing) of the lockers,I leave the overhead roof vent slightly open 24/7 which of course is essential, so come on damp bring it on Boris is ready for ya!!!!

  • Remember a lot of moisture will enter your living space from outside when conditions permit. A sealed environment is just as effective in certain conditions and times as a ventilated environment.


    Park in a valley/low area on a cold Autum/winters morning. Open your door and sit with your knees in a layer of mist. Now consider laying down on your bench seat and if your lucky, your head will be just above the mist layer.


    I dug a 3foot hole on my land and set my tin trailer (touring caravan) in to this hole, in hopes of limiting the trailer movement in high winds. I lived in that tin trailer for 18 months and for most of that period, I left my door open all day and night, to give my 3 Alsatians freedom of movement.

    Periodically throughout winter, I watched the whole basement fill with morning mist as the early hours progressed. Unfortunately this ment my bed (bench seats)) and pillow area were deep within this mist layer and subsequently the bed had to be raised much higher.

  • Ok I have installed a 12v fan which I use under the bed (thanks NT), I switch on for about 15mins every damp morning and along with more insulation on the floor its sorted.I should mention that I use old damp trap containers filled with cheap salt,25p per bag and fills about 6 , one in the corner of bed etc, when parked I also leave my overhead lockers slightly open using a peg to wedge open this cures the chance of wet pants ! I have also put more insulation on the back (outside facing) of the lockers,I leave the overhead roof vent slightly open 24/7 which of course is essential, so come on damp bring it on Boris is ready for ya!!!!

    I want more info on this solution. I have similar bed set up.... Airflow is compromised because I store a lot of 'stuff' under the bed.


    Vanside lockers for clothes are neat and tidy but do not work in winter weather... My solution of butcher hooks and hanging holdalls is also piss poor but is an untidily and airy option that gives clothes slightly warmer room to air...... Looks really shit though!

  • Indeed hanging bulky clothes such as coats,thick sweat shirts is good if u have room,I use the sml S hooks .This allows me to free up some locker space and allow air circulation in the lockers and around the hanging clothes wonderful.

    Ps Has anyone here used underlay in a van for extra insulation?If so what type,thickness as there seems to be far too much choice, Thanks

  • You can get fans that work by "magic" that sit on top of your stove this creates a warm air flow. Heat Powered Stove Fan | Wood Log Burner Fireplace | Eco Friendly Practical


    Just out of interest in the building trade there has been a lot less bother with damp, mould, condensation, since the use of modern building practices like pir insulation, foil tape, foams, double glazing, dry lining with plasterboard instead of rendering, breathable roofing felt, moisture barriers, all sorts, and ventilation has just come back in sometimes but not always, vents sort of went out went breathable roof felt came in, but then on some new builds where a lot of problems always seem to occour mould and damp came back, this was due to the good qualities of the house being airtight and insulation badly fitted on eaves and walls but closing cavities off with thermal insulation closers etc, all thought as over the top in the early days now the norm. I don't know if this helps but over millienia houses have evolved to keep the damp air out this has been created by damp proof courses, insulating and sealing basicly a box to a high standard, warm air by central heating has also prevented a loaded cold damp air from condensting onto walls, because I am trying to live in a cold house so far I have suffered no colds or health problems, my house is reasonably insulated for the 2000s but it could have been better done, I have no damp issues, due to a cavity wall. so if any of this info is useful to mobile living I hope that transposes. now theres a real business venture, mobile insulation services, just think if someone had the knowhow the products the designs the kits all spefically for each and every model of van complete with vent and extraction kits ...