The downside with using the cargo version of a Sprinter as a basis for your Camper conversion is that you need to insulate most of the van. The cab where the driver sits is insulated and divided by the cargo area with a bulkhead divider — so in the original configuration Mercedes did what they needed to keep the driver warm or cold.HOW TO INSULATE YOUR VAN // transit off grid diy van conversion
There are a few different approaches to achieve that — this post will describe each of them. What works for a house should work for a van as well, right? This is true but using Spray Foam insulation in a van is a bit more tricky and also a lot more messy than the other methods. You can either buy single spray cans in your favorite home improvement store or have a professional do the work for you. Either way, make sure you understand how this foam works before you try this.
Once you spray it on a surface it will expand — A LOT. It will also create heat in the process. No question that insulating your Sprinter with Spray Foam Insulation will do a good job but its also a lot of cleanup work.
I would highly recommend to use a professional company to do this but check if they did vans before.
You can get these for cheap at your home improvement store but I would highly recommend NOT using fiberglass batts in your van. An alternative to fiberglass is cotton based insulation. Instead of the unhealthy fiberglass the basis for those batts is recycled Jeans! Installation is similar to regular fiberglass batts. You glue the the side with the aluminum foil directly to the panels of the Van.
The R value of UltraTouch is 6. Another material that you can use to insulate your Sprinter Cargo Van are rigid foam sheets. They are always in stock at home improvement stores e. You can use the thicker one for the side panels and the thinner ones to insulate the ceiling. I heard great things about a material called Thinsulate [ eBay]. You probably seen it in the context of shoes and clothing but you can buy the same material on rolls.
Affiliate disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. I read so many blogs on the subject.You add insulation to a van for the same reasons you add it to a house, to reduce the transfer of thermal and sound energy. Many established methods for insulating traditional homes exist.
Each material has pros and cons and doing the necessary research can be overwhelming. We figured it would give us a template for when we install walls. But before installing the insulation the panels need to come off.
Before removing the panels we used painters tape and a marker to note their locations. Marking each panel so we know where it goes later. Next we removed every panel. The panels use several types of push pins and screws to stay attached to the van walls. Using a flat head screwdriver to remove the push tabs.
Push pins come in two sections. Remove the inner section then the outer section. Special tool to remove push pins. Not much better than a flat head screwdriver. Phillips head screwdriver is required for removal of the larger panels. Unscrewing the d-ring in order to get the lower panel off. After all of the panels were off, it was time to start installing the insulation.
We started by stuffing some thin strips in the ribs of the van. Using flexible plastic door molding to push the insulation into the wall ribs. After cutting the insulation we checked the fit. You need to wait a few minutes for the adhesive to become tacky. Then you just stick it on.
After we did the sides of the van, we insulated the top smaller sections. The van ribs in this section keep the insulation in place without the use of adhesive spray. We made the cuts big enough that the insulation wedges into the openings and overhangs each rib. Doing this held each section in place pretty well.
No spray adhesive is needed in the top sections. Next we insulated the sliding door. This was more difficult because there are wires and mechanical linkage in the door.
I am assuming because of this, Ford added a plastic layer behind the black protection panel. The plastic sheet attaches by a type of tacky putty. We managed to pull it off while keeping the top part still connected. A strong yank will pull the putty off of the van but keep it attached to the plastic. Once the plastic was out of way we added the Thinsulate the same way as the top openings on the wall.
First we cut a large piece and then we cut out portions to wrap around the ribs. After wedging the insulation into place the plastic piece was just reattached.
Insulating the sliding door panels. The panel to the right has insulation and the plastic piece reattached. Next we insulated the ceiling. We stuffed small strips into the ribs and then attached large panels using the 3M 90 adhesive.Insulating our van was important for staying cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and, most of all, keeping our water from freezing. We insulated the floorswallsand ceiling using Polyisocyanurate, foam sealant, and Reflectix. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
So, if you purchase one of the items discussed, we receive a small amount of compensation at no extra cost to you. By you purchasing a product, you are supporting our site and helping to keep it going. Foam Sealant Gaps and Cracks x Foam Sealant big gap filler x Zinc-Plated Fender Washer. High Strength Tape. Utility Knife. Measuring Tape.
Space Heater. Denatured Alcohol. If you are working on this project with someone, work on the insulation and wiring simultaneously, otherwise, be sure to finish the wiring before starting on the insulation. Before insulating the walls and ceiling, install the subfloor to avoid damaging the floor insulation. Take some time to sweep the floor and wipe all surfaces with a wet rag. Additionally, make sure that the front seats are protected, by putting trash bags over the back supports and cardboard in the seats.
The takeaway here is to use denatured alcohol and pay attention to the time between spraying 3M Adhesive and joining the Polyiso to the frame of the van.
Foam sealant not only insulates, but also helps lock the Poyiso in place. Now that everything is cut, you can start adhering the Polyiso and applying the foam sealant to the floor of the van. Additionally, work in sections, applying the Polyiso and foam sealant, so as to minimize damage.
How-To: Insulating Your Van
The walls use all types of insulation materials. You will add Reflectix between the walls of the van and the Polyiso to provide an extra vapor barrier. The ceiling has the most curve of any part of the van, so the 1. It is hard to get Polyiso inside of the structural supports, so, carefully, fill these with foam sealant.It can be difficult and even dangerous trying to live out of a vehicle in cold climates.
However, with proper van insulation and heat management you can be comfortable in sub-freezing temperatures.
If you want to keep your van as warm as possible throughout the winter, you will want to address all three types of heat transfer: radiation, conduction and convection. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, read our post on the three types of heat transfer.
When building out your van, you want to resist heat conduction by insulating the ceiling, walls and floor with materials that have a high R-value. Living in a vehicle is a unique situation. In a perfect world, you can take the highest R-value materials, stack them a foot thick and hibernate in your van throughout the entire winter.
Unfortunately, space constraints are a huge issue in the van world. Every extra inch of insulation on the walls is going to make your living area that much smaller. Therefore, proper van insulation becomes a delicate balance between R-value, space, and expenses. R-value is measured per inch. This means if you stack a material to 2 inches thick, you get double the R-value! Checkout the chart below for the R-values of some common materials:. Condensation is a big factor for vandwelling.
Any case where the warm interior air touches a surface that is colder, moisture from the air will become a liquid. A prime example of this is moisture that builds up on the inside of windows when sitting in cold weather. There is an ongoing debate among vandwellers on whether it makes sense to seal off walls with a watertight material before adding insulation.
If moisture is allowed to build up within the walls of a van you may end up with mold or rust. The idea of a vapor barrier is to seal off the interior of the van and protect the walls and insulation from being exposed to any of the moisture that develops inside the van. If there are any slits or gaps in the material, moisture can get behind the barrier and build up between the watertight surface and the wall.
And in a vehicle, there are a lot of little areas and spots that can rub where moisture can enter. The entire body is full of holes for things like lights, trim pieces, wires, and manufacturing seams. The whole vehicle flexes around, you will be driving through the rain where your wheels can spray water from the underside. Vans have to serve more purposes than houses, so trying to add barriers can catch up with you.
Proper ventilation is key to reducing condensation. Read our post on avoiding condensation and moisture buildup in your van. This includes removing any seating, or unwanted material from the walls and floor.
All old rust spots should be removed and any gaping holes in the walls or floor repaired and sealed. Have a plan for anything that might have to go behind the walls such as wiring or lighting. Ideally, you would have some of your wiring pre-planned and even installed. It will be much more difficult to try and hide wires or move things around if you wall everything up first. Read our guide on soundproofing your campervan.
What material should you use to insulate your van? The five main areas of focus are:. Because heat rises, the floor is the least important part of the vehicle to insulate. Many people choose not to insulate their floor at all. Covering any holes in the subfloor will be of greater importance than laying insulation.
Pick a material that has a high R-value in the thinnest amount of space. We recommend Extruded polystyrene XPS for the floor.After two winters spent full time skiing from the van faroutride. It has kept us warm down to F!
We think Thinsulate is the best van insulation option:. The current page is about the installation process of the Thinsulate. To build your knowledge about vanlife insulation and what's best for you, we highly recommend reading this article first:. Disclosure : This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a product link and buy anything from the merchant Amazon, eBay, etc. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not. Thinsulate comes in 60 inches wide rolls. It's up to you to determine what length feet you need!
So take a measuring tape and find out what's the surface area you need to cover. To make things easier, we came up with the " Thinsulate Calculator " just below; hope that helps!
Don't own a van yet? We don't recommend skipping the "Waste", unless you don't mind interrupting your build to wait for your next order of Thinsulate There is about 1. To unsnap them, the overhead storage must be pushed forward. This is quite tricky, keep calm! Some people have damaged them in the process, but they can be glued back in place later…. We used tree pieces of insulation to fill the gap: one on the left-hand side, one on the right-hand side and one in the center.
The challenge with the ceiling is to work against gravity. However it proved to be fairly easy for 2 people. Large cutouts were filled with insulation:. We also filled the cavities where possible:.
The plastic panel is attached with several push pins.We just bought a new Mercedes Sprinter Van" with high roof and are starting the conversion towards a winterized camper. We live in the Pacific Northwest and love to ski - our goal is to drive the sprinter around ski resorts and camp out in the parking lots, ready for the next day powder! The construction of this van is for us the start of uncountable adventures discovering the area around here.
We are outdoors enthusiasts, love to do backpack camping and backcountry skiing, but we also want to have a bit more comfort, specifically in the winter. The first step was, of course, to insulate the walls, the floor and the ceiling of the van to keep the warmth in. After reading multiple blogs and info sites about Sprinter and van conversions, we decided to use metallic bubble wrap, fiberglass insulation, and a plastic vapor barrier.
In total, it took us about 2 days hours a day with 2 to 4 people working on this to finish the insulation process. We tried to describe at every step the reasons why we made the choice materials we made, so hopefully you can see that we used common sense to design this process. I am an industrial designer and design researcher and my boyfriend is a landscape architect with some knowledge in wood working. We see this project as an experiment and as a wonderful place to try out some ideas about design, materials and fabrication.
Insulating a Sprinter Cargo Van
For an overview of the work we did, take a look at our timelapse videos! Did you use this instructable in your classroom? Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
There are still gaps behind some of the beams that are not possible to attain with bubble wrap and fiberglass insulation. For those, we used foam insulation in a spray can. So we had to cut out the excess! Question 1 year ago on Step 1.
I didnt go through all the comments but i was wondering how you did in cold temperatures. Which way do you heat in winter and whats the lowest temperature you go without being uncomfortable. Reply 2 years ago. I'm just going to start insulating my Transit van, which brings me to this site. I live on Vancouver Island and of course the climate is wet in winter. There seems to be no definitive answer regarding vapour barrier.The topic of insulation is widely debated across the blogs and forums on van conversions.
The major factors of debate include efficiency, moisture management and cost. There are two major categories of insulation to choose from, spray or roll.
We decided to begin weighing the options for roll insulation as we did not want to tackle the process and mess of applying the spray insulation. Before getting into the specifics, it is important to understand the concept of R value. R value is " the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.
After some initial research, we narrowed our options down to Thinsulate, denim or natural sheep's wool. We had excluded any fiberglass based insulation as we were nervous of any health risks associated with spending a lot of time in a small space with fiberglass particles floating around.
Thinsulate is a synthetic material with hydrophobic properties, meaning the fibers resist moisture, mold and mildew. Moisture management is an extremely important factor when evaluating insulation as you don't want mold and mildew to form behind the walls, ceiling and other finishes. Our overall feeling on Thinsulate was an expensive product for an average R value.
Next we began to investigate denim insulation. Denim is derived from recycled textiles nice! The R value is great at R13 for a 3. The one downside to denim insulation is that it naturally absorbs and holds moisture. In order to protect mold and mildew, you must cover any areas of insulation with a plastic vapor barrier. We did not want run the risk of the plastic wearing over time or getting a hole, so denim was scratched from our list.
The last option we explored was natural sheep's wool insulation. Sheep's wool insulation is naturally breathable and able to absorb, retain and release moisture without impacting insulating performance. Sheep's wool is also naturally flame retardant and will not disintegrate over time from vibration, which will happen to both fiberglass and denim. This wool insulation is rated at R13 for a 3.
Great moisture management, reasonable price and all natural We wanted to make sure we weren't missing anything, so called Greg at Eco Building Products and he was incredible knowledgeable and helpful.
We have been very happy with the insulation and glad we took the time to do our homework on this one! We will have a future post of installing the insulation coming shortly. Blog Menu. Login Create account.