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Old 04-02-2013, 09:21 AM   #1
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Foam insulation

I have a 1976 Tradewinds and live in the Phoenix Az area. Needless to say, it gets HOT here. I was wondering if anyone has added non expanding foam to the cavity between the inner and outer skin of an Airstream trailer. So far, we have had mid to high 80's for daytime highs. Even when it is in the 70's, it gets very warm inside, the inside ceiling panels are very warm to touch. I was considering drilling about a 3/8 in. hole in the center of an inside ceiling section, (between the braces) ,filling that section with non expanding foam and then putting a white plastic plug in the hole. If anyone out there has tried this or has experience with it, let me know. Thanks.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:10 PM   #2
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enosburg , Vermont
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A few yrs back on my 1st restore I had the same question. My '64 Airstream was shell off & interior skins out. I had so many warnings against foam I reinsulated with fiberglass. Last summer I started a '64 Avion T28, same DBL wall Alum construction as Airstream. Couldn't believe it, is insulated with spray foam......The few interior panels I've removed show perfect insulation. No crumbling, cracks, no D**N rodent nest or pathways,and no foul smell. The two 1964 coaches sit side by side. The Avion is way quieter in a rain storm, and cooler in the blazing sun. I have a '62 AS Ambassador I'm starting next, barring new insight I'm going with foam. There is a major difference between Avion & Airstream. Avion has a rigid frame, AS does flex. We'll see. In your case it would seem the insulation now between the skins would block the foam from filling the space well. Good luck.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:58 AM   #3
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Did you do the spray foam insulation from 12-16 oz. cans, go the professional route, or somewhere in between?
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:36 AM   #4
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I would bet you have fiberglass insulation already in the ceiling and walls of your trailer, unless you've removed it in the past. I would think you'd have to remove your inner skins in order to insulate with spray foam.

Kay
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:43 AM   #5
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I would bet you have fiberglass insulation already in the ceiling and walls of your trailer, unless you've removed it in the past. I would think you'd have to remove your inner skins in order to insulate with spray foam.

Kay
This ^^^ there is already fiberglass batt insulation in there. If you put spray foam in without removing them you are asking for a brutal mess. Also you will need to put some sort of thermal break between the skins and the ribs to help minimize the thermal transfer. I think the main reason for not using spray foam in Airstreams is due to the movement, they are very flexible and move about a fair bit when being towed.

Aaron
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:47 AM   #6
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Here is a couple of things that I know will help:
-awnings all around
-reflective paint on roof
-solar window screens

I have also glued "Reflectix" to the inside of all cabinets and blocks of 2" stryrofoam covered with Reflectix the wardrobe.

I also am going to add reflective window tinting.

I intend to continue this process to the ceilings and walls and cover this with upholstery vinyl, but this will take a while The photo is from a 64 Overlander

My reasoning is if I can cut down on solar and outside temp heat gain and transfer in the nooks and crannies it will help keep cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. I don't expect spectacular results and you have to weigh the cost of the material and labor vs. comfort and energy savings.
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
ouldn't believe it, is insulated with spray foam......The few interior panels I've removed show perfect insulation. No crumbling, cracks, no D**N rodent nest or pathways,and no foul smell. The two 1964 coaches sit side by side. The Avion is way quieter in a rain storm, and cooler in the blazing sun.
this is good to know. i knew avion used spray foam insulation but i had been wondering how it held up over time.

How, btw, is avion non-flexing? Is the frame stronger?
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:18 PM   #8
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This may or may not be a deciding factor but don't overlook flammablity and off gassing of foams. The Reflectix I mentioned above is non flammable and non off gassing. It has also been used on rebuilds inside the outer skin before fiberglass is added.
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:31 PM   #9
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this is good to know. i knew avion used spray foam insulation but i had been wondering how it held up over time.

How, btw, is avion non-flexing? Is the frame stronger?
The Avion uses a stronger frame. The frame supports the shell in an Airstream the construction is semi-monocoque and the shell actually helps support the frame. An Airstream bare frame is very flexible, the Avion frame is much more rigid.

Aaron
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:48 AM   #10
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Thanks to everyone who replied. With the info that I've received, I'm going to give op on this idea. Once again, thanks to all who took the time to respond, many heads are better than one.
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