Sunday, September 30, 2012

Driver's Side Insulation

One of my biggest problems with this project is that I haven't planned it out very much. I reach a point every day that I work on it where I kind of freeze up because I suddenly becoming worried about future wiring or future projects that will end up being hindered by something I do today. But the fact is, there's no way I'm capable of planning it out enough. One, I don't really know what I'm doing and two, I just don't have that kind of focus anymore.

This becomes a big problem because in my book the subflooring goes first, then walls and ceiling. These are all the first things! So if I'm just making it up as I go, how am I supposed to know where I need to leave holes for things I haven't figured out yet? Haha.

All of that aside, today I ended up getting the driver's side mostly insulated. Below the line of windows I did my predetermined Reflectix against the skin and then 1" foam sheeting with foil side in. I also covered two of the three windows. I had decided early on that I was going to leave the window next to the bed uncovered. In the end (of course, I guess there's plenty of time before the real "end" of this project), I even decided to use the original plastic trim piece around the window. I figure I'll end up painting it so it's not the original color. I want to make the back of the van to be as non-vanny as I can. In the end this might not be accomplished due to sheer lack of skills on my part but I really want the illusion that once you enter the back portion, you're not in a van, you're in a home. A very tiny home.

Back to the windows I covered. I had been wondering what to do about this for some time, and in the end what I did was the only thing that made much sense and what fit quite well. Earlier in the day I had screwed a 1" x 3" board to one of the metal pieces that ran the length of the van. This is for securing the plywood walls later. It also created a nice tight cavity for the bottom of the 1" foam to fit into to cover the windows. A snug fit along the top is there too. The way the van curves keeps this foam an inch or two or who knows, I didn't measure, away from actually touching the window. Which originally was a concern of mine. I had envisioned something being pressed right up against the window to black it out but then I started to worry about condensation and mold and a slow water damage process. I like the foam. My only concern now is that it's not enough insulation but it's going to have to be. The other 'issue' was how to black out the window. Factory tinted quite dark, but still see through. A lot of materials you could plainly see behind the window. My goal is not 100% stealth but at least if you're from a distance you can't tell something is blocking the window.

I had a couple ideas, nothing really worked. Today I finally took down the ceiling lining and I thought that might be great to put along the foam. It was gray and didn't look too bad really but in the end I had problems with securing it to the foam, the quantity I had, and the quality of it. I went with black trash bags. Wrapped around to the backside of the foam and secured to the foiled side with some Reflectix foil tape that I had. By the time I got this done the sun wasn't shining on that side of the van and it was getting darker out anyway. It looked good being on the shady side. I'm hoping to remember to look tomorrow morning before work when the sun is shining on those windows. It might look hideous. Who knows. Even still, I like the idea and if the trash bags don't work out I'm going to be looking for some better black plastic material with less creases.

So the driver's side is insulated from the floor to the bottom of the fiberglass top. I spent a lot of time staring at that fiberglass top trying to figure out how I'm going to frame it, insulate it, and panel it. Haven't come up with that answer yet.

The bed is removed here. It won't be screwed down permanently probably until I finish insulating and paneling the wall. I'm tempted to start driving the van to work. Besides the problems my other vehicle is having, I'm kind of excited to give the bed a try on my lunch break. Nap times are good.

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