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To insulate or not to insulate?

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    To insulate or not to insulate?

    I have just bought a Renault Kangoo but debating whether to insulate it or just board and carpet it all. At the moment there are no rear or side windows in the van but i will be using it all year round.. Will be grateful for any advice on both options? Thanks

    #2
    Welcome welshjason, you will get a lot of ideas and help here.

    There isn't any option, you MUST insulate it. And not with bubble wrap, that is pathetically useless. What you need is a multi-layered insulation foil pack from a builder's merchant. It is many layers, up to ten or eleven of different flexi materials and will be silver coloured on one side - you put this on the inside. It needs to be the flexible foil type to go round the bends. This stuff from the builders merchant is house-insulating quality far better than fibreglass. If you don't insulate it for one thing you will be going away and then having to find a hotel because you are stuck to the van by frozen fingers, and in the summer you will have to go to a hotel to cool down. Then you will have to completely dismantle the van and start from the beginning all over again.
    suivez l'aventure

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      #3
      https://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Ther...-x-8m/p/210022 Is this the stuff?

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        #4
        welshjason I just to echo gasgas words of wisdom - the only reason to use an uninsulated van would be if you are in training for a trek across the Arctic. Even if you are tough by October it will be too cold by November unbearable and that would be here in Cornwall - where we rartely see snow.
        Another way to insulate is board it and shoot expanding foam between the board and the metal sides - then cover the board with carpet.
        Jon
        Amor omnia vincit et nos cedamus amori
        https://smallromahome2oldies1largedo...logspot.co.uk/

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          #5
          That Wickes stuff would be better than nothing but it isn't what I was thinking of. This is the proper stuff that proper professional mainstream converters use:

          https://www.screwfix.com/p/ybs-super...FWMg0wodDJUGWQ

          Look at the specifications and you will see that it is 40mm thick , if left out and puffed up. It is easily squashable where furniture presses it against the walls or strengthening struts in a van. It has 19 separate layers and gives the same thermal resistance as about 150mm of fibreglass. If you use that you will be cool in summer and warm in winter.
          I have worked alongside and been an agent for a van converter many years ago and the basic procedure before you start putting furniture in is this: You can either start on the roof or the floor, but you must first do the planning, cutting out of panels for wall and roof windows and vents.
          1) Work out what appliances you want where, and make a plan for wires and water pipes and gas pipes.
          2) Line the van floor with thick rubber. This dramatically reduces road noise.
          3) On top of the rubber put your wires and pipes where they will cross the floor of the van.
          4) Next put a layer of board insulation over the rubber, cutting slots out of it for the pipes and wires. This is the stuff:
          https://www.wickes.co.uk/Kingspan-TP...-25mm/p/180435
          5) On top of that put plywood, to spread the load on the insulation board.
          6) Then your final floor, which could be vinyl or clip-together flooring boards, or carpet whatever you want.

          Then start on the roof if you have done the floor first, or the floor if you did the roof first. The roof doesn't want solid insulation, that is what the Screwfix stuff is for, as well as the walls.
          As every inch matters inside a van, the foil type of insulation is better than board for the walls because it squashes up against the sticky-out bits of the van.

          I have seen at least one small UK van converter company use self-adhesive foam for insulation, it was about 3mm thick. As soon as I saw that I walked away. All the European converters use the multi layer foil, and I expect the mainstream UK ones do.
          When you have finished the conversion you can remove and change furniture fairly easily but you cannot then decide you haven't insulated it enough and strip the whole thing. You would end up selling it, choosing a mild day, and starting again, doing the job properly.
          suivez l'aventure

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            #6
            Definitely insulate. I had a Kangoo panel van some years ago and camped in it uninsulated for several years between September-June. Although Kingspan and Superquilt would provide better insulation you will probably find there simply isn't the space to use this and bubblefoil is the only option. I used 4 layers of this behind a ply lining and it made a big difference. For the sills and behind door panels, I applied a liberal coating of Waxoyl then used bagged Rockwool which could be lifted out periodically to check for condensation/corrosion. My van had previously been owned by a farmer and, unknown to me at the time, there was lime in the sills causing slow corrosion which I only spotted when starting the insulation job and I needed to keep a close eye on it.

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              #7
              As you've started this thread, can I seek some words of wisdom too?

              I've a Doblo MPV (ie car not van), and I want to keep using it as a car, so I don't want to make any drastic alterations. So far, I've made and used home made boot jump type furniture, but I haven't done any insulation. I have found that with a good sleeping bag I'm warm enough for sleeping, but it it wouldn't be pleasant actually living in the vehicle! (The occasions I've slept in it in the cold have been long journeys where I've pulled over and gone straight to bed, not camping trips!)

              The main thing holding me back from insulation is my worry about removing and, even worse refitting, the interior plastic panelling and the ceiling lining, without damaging them.

              Any advice?

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                #8
                I understand your concern trebso. I would go to a vehicle repair shop and ask them nice and politely how to remove the trim from your particular vehicle. I think they would tell you. You can get trim removing tools for not much money : https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_f...l+kit&_sacat=0

                The general idea of these tools is they are made of relatively soft plastic so they don't damage the trim when removing it. What you will find is a lot of plastic snappers break when you ping off the trim, and you would have to go to the dealer and buy some more, they would only be pence in theory but you never can tell until you ask.
                suivez l'aventure

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