The next thing I worked on was the insulation.
This one was hard, mostly because there were so many choices. And it wasn’t only the choices between the different kinds of insulation that made the decision difficult, but also, whether or not I wanted to insulate at all.
There were a number of issues that were under consideration:
- I definitely did not want to use spray insulation. I was considering this particular van that I was working on to be an “interim” van between The Escape Pod and a medium/high top Ford or Sprinter that I would have some time in the future, one that I could stand up in. Because of this, I was considering that if I wanted to sell this Ford in the future, I might want to make it so the next owner could gut it and easily turn it back into a work van, or into some other kind of van.
- I was seriously considering wool insulation. For environmental reasons mostly. I decided against it because it was too thick and I wanted to waste as little space as possible.
- I’m not a snow or extreme weather camper, at least not yet and not recently, so my consideration for insulation was mostly as a sound barrier and as a minimal insulation layer.
- I decided to go with the 1/2-inch R-Tech insulation really for one reason. It was easy to install, even though it was the worst insulation I could use while trying to consider myself some sort of enviromentalist, because it’s polystyrene – basically styrofoam.
I was building out the Ford on the street in my neighborhood, so I didn’t want to create too much of a hoopla during the build. I could get sheets of R-Tech and cut them and install them without having to work outside. It did make a bit of a mess inside the van while I was working, but that was ok because I like to clean as I go.
First I installed the 1×3 wood studs that ran lengthwise through the cargo area. Then, I filled the valleys in the wall with layers of insulation cut to the size of each valley. There were about three valley layers before I got the wall evened out. I did not use glue to secure them, instead I used a white duct tape – again because I wanted to be able to easily remove it if I had to. Then I covered all of that with one last full sheet of insulation and tried to cut it as perfect as possible with the tools I had – which were my t-square and a utility-knife.
There were a few things that you might not be able to tell just by looking at the images below. I tried to keep the slope of the wall. I had no intention of wasting internal cargo area space by trying to make the walls vertical. Keeping the curve to the walls, also made it feel very boat like which I somewhat liked. I stuffed the areas around the wheel wells with spare bits of insulation before adding the top sheet. And I tried to make it look as seamless as possible.
After the walls were completed, I stuffed squares of foam into the cargo bay doors. I had no plans to turn those spaces into hidey-holes, so I filled them up.