You wouldn’t believe it but the insulation is the most important, most expensive, most time consuming and most annoying part of the conversion- and you can’t even see it in the end. Still you should put lots of attention to that part of the work as you can’t change it afterwards anymore. You will be happy every single day about a well done insulation when you can chill in the van in the day without getting too hot and in the night without getting too cold. And you will regret it if you do it properly and condensation water wakes you up in the night, dripping on your face…
Well, there is no way around to think about how to solve this issue. For the insulation material you have quite a few options- the best (after our research) would be a material which is used for pipe insulation and reminds me of classic camping mats. You can find it under different names on the market, for example X-trem Isolator, Armacell or Armaflex.
So we got 2x 6m² 19mm and 1x 8m² 13mm self- adhesive Armaflex XG for about 220€ in total.
Because our van was a transport vehicle before, it had wooden boards and metal strips on the sides. Before we could start insulating, we had to remove the side boards to be able to line the metal directly with the insulation. That turned out a harder job than expected! We thought we could just undo the srews… but they were bolts!
So we had to drill out every single bolt which took up 20 minutes time each. There were about 50 of them..
When we finally took the walls down, we started to measure, cut and fit the Armaflex to every piece of single layered metal. The double layered metal we left out, so we can later on srew the interior in there.
Everywhere we couldn’t reach with the Armaflex, we shoved rockwool in.
Also the empty space between Armaflex and wood boards, we filled up with the rockwool to get the best insulation result.
The good thing about this technique is, that the Amaflex protects the metal from humidity and rust. Rockwool is cheaper and has good insulating and quieting qualities as well. If you used only Rockwool, you would have to install a vapor barrier.
When we were finished with insulating, we could screw the wooden sidewalls back on. Before that, we sanded them nicely and treated them with wood protection varnish.
At the end, we spray foamed all the gaps between the insulation parts in order to minimize heat entering/exiting and having a comfortable temperature in all climates.
All in all insulating is expensive, a pain in the ass and very time consuming but we found it not too hard to handle with the self- adhesive Armaflex; it moulds quite easily even around tricky bits, for example like the tires and around corners. And by the way, i never touched a better feeling material 🙂
We are happy, it’s done now and we can move on to the next steps, which will be:
backdoor panneling, ceiling, floor, installation of the roof window and the bed and kitchen frame.