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Old 10-30-2009, 04:09 AM   #1
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foam insulation

What reason does Airstream give for NOT using a foam insulation instead of fiberglass batts? Doesn't seem to me to make any sense at all.
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Old 10-30-2009, 04:28 AM   #2
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They don't give a reason. I asked about it and whether anyone had every thought about panelized construction and my suggestions were written down. Panelized construction is where a house is built using prebuilt panels with wiring, plumbing, windows already installed and then plugged together. Panels are built in a factory to exact tolerances and then brought to a homesite. It might not work as well for a trailer, but such things are always worth exploring.

Foam (or panels) might prevent leaks from getting inside if applied properly. But the trailer would be so airtight, you'd have to ventilate even more to prevent condensation.

Gene
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:47 AM   #3
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There are several threads on the forums about using foam insulation, and the general consensus seems to be that foam would crumble and fall apart inside the wall of an airstream since the shell flexes quite a bit going down the road. I’m not sure how well factory built aluminum skinned airstream curved foamed filled panels would hold up, but if they would still flex, then I would think the foam would be destroyed.

I currently own a foam filled panel constructed SOB trailer (StarStream). It’s very solid, and the exterior of the panels are metal - aluminum I think (it’s painted, so I’m not really sure). The inside skins are plywood. The walls are about 2 inches thick, and the roof and floor are closer to 3 1/2 inches thick. The side walls and roof are all flat panels though.

We have done a bit of cold weather camping in it and other SOB trailers over the years, and this trailer seems to be colder inside in chilly weather than the fiberglass filled Jayco’s and Mallard we’ve had in the past. Part of that might be the furnace though – it’s a smaller unit then I’ve had in previous trailers, and I would consider replacing it if we weren’t currently working on our Little Girl Refurb project. And yes, we do notice more condensation in this trailer than we have in previous ones.

When we get to insulating Little Girl, I think we’ll be going with a Prodex type instead of fiberglass. I can see why the factory would avoid a Prodex type of insulation – cost and labor to install.

Chris
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:48 AM   #4
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Oh - forgot my manners. Welcome to the forums ricktrue!
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:27 PM   #5
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Whenever I see a yoga mat or a sleeping mat for camping (a recent kinds, closed-cell and soft)...

I wonder if the same or the similar material can be manufactured in thicker but lighter density, it would be great as a insulation for AS. You can roll them out, cut to fit, and stuff it between the aluminum walls.

But then, I have no idea if that stuff is safe in case of fire...
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:43 PM   #6
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I suspect that inertia has a great deal to do with this. AS has been doing this a long time with great success (any other towable product have 66% of their entire historic output still in use?). A different approach would have to be markedly superior to justify adoption.
When we had the floors open three years ago, the insulation was in pretty good shape. We added some here and there but didn't replace simply for the sake of replacing.

They are certainly also aware that their product is simply expensive. Adding further expense without greatly enhancing the ownership experience would be difficult to justify. I would guesstimate that the overwhelming majority of owners could care less what is inside the floors and walls as long as they are comfortable.

Why reinvent the wheel on something so basic and so simple?

mike
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Old 10-30-2009, 05:17 PM   #7
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Hi Ricktrue, welcome to the forum!

Prodex is so easy and fast to install that to me it's a no-brainer. I would NEVER go back to fiberglass. And you don't itch when you're done!
And the reason for reinventing this wheel? Have you ever smelled old, wet fiberglass insulation? Have you ever seen how it contributes to the rusting of your frame? Have you pulled out 45 year old fiberglass that had lost all insulating qualities because it had turned to dust? How many mummified critters did you find in it? FECES?
Spray-in foam is the stuff that would break down due to flexing, as it adheres itself to all surfaces. Prodex and rigid foam would not have this problem, though rigid foam won't follow the curved shape of an Airstream. I plan on using rigid polyurethane sheet-foam under the floor and I have 2 layers of Prodex in the shell, with an airspace between them. So far it has been a marked improvement over what was in there.

Rich the Viking
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Old 10-30-2009, 05:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
They don't give a reason. I asked about it and whether anyone had every thought about panelized construction and my suggestions were written down. Panelized construction is where a house is built using prebuilt panels with wiring, plumbing, windows already installed and then plugged together. Panels are built in a factory to exact tolerances and then brought to a homesite. It might not work as well for a trailer, but such things are always worth exploring.
.................................................. .........
Gene
Hi Gene,
I saw a very interesting TV program about the construction of a new Navy ship. I think it was a destroyer, maybe a cruiser. In any case that is how it was being built. Modules were built separately and mounted in or on the hull and interconnected.
Regards,
Ken
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Old 10-30-2009, 07:25 PM   #9
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Panel Replacement & Foam Insulation

The service techs at the Mothership personally told me that getting a dented panel OFF when foam had been used was a pain in the ***. It usually doubled the time needed to make the repair and that cost was passed on to the owner.

Paula
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