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Old 10-13-2013, 05:18 PM   #155
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Foam is great stuff and a number of people in this thread just know it is....

The missing areas, they were removed by the mice. They needed the space for their nests.
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Thankfully it comes off the metal fairly easily.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:13 AM   #156
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Foam is great stuff and a number of people in this thread just know it is....

The missing areas, they were removed by the mice. They needed the space for their nests.
Attachment 197681

Thankfully it comes off the metal fairly easily.
Do you think if that trailer had fiberglass insulation the mice would not have come in that unsealed trailer and made the same mess? I think airstream used fiberglass because their bean counter said to keep using it.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:29 AM   #157
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70s Streamline foam

Here's a shot showing the sprayed in foam on my 73 Streamline. The foam does not quite fill the compartment, so I added a thin layer of fiberglass for good measure. The entire interior is foamed.

I took things apart because of water damage. This did not have anything to do with the foam which is in very good shape. There was a badly neglected leak around the front window which ran into the C channel causing some floor rot in the front corners and delamination of the interior plywood wall paneling. I drilled a couple of weepholes drained by tubing.

I was on the roof yesterday sealing seams. One thing I noticed is the roof is much more solid than a comparable Airstream.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:49 AM   #158
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Another thing I discovered is the camper did have thermal conductivity issues at the screws. I found many of the screw heads rusted badly. I suspect they sweat and rusted from interior moisture in cold weather
Don't forget too that ordinary steel will rust when screwed into more ordinary steel.

One way to mitigate this is to use stainless steel screws.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:18 PM   #159
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Foam

Honestly your 1962 foam is a different composition than the new foam currently manufactured. Totally different properties all together. The foam I used on my trailer was manufactured in 2010 a sugar based polyol
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:08 PM   #160
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Some years ago when it was touted as the best insulation I did a section of wall on house using so called soap formeldrayde insulation foam total garbage. It settled making gaps and powder. I would like to try foam in A.S. much better than fiberglass installed at factory, thin, many voids, etc. Cut costs in manf. make profit. I have never found A.S. to be properly insulated. I have owned 6 A.S. same thing all. One 1966 had leaks so bad had 2 inches water on floor, next day traded for 67 30 ft. [PS] I have pur. last A.S. ever much to expensive now. I love my 76 even with some issues that I live with
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:18 PM   #161
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Hi there, have a question re: insulation. Had to replace a piece of rotten subfloor 3' long x 2' approximately, and when we took out the old rotten, I cleaned up the area below removing the old insulation and debris, including a mouse carcass (sad). Anyway, the person helping me closed it up before I had a chance of putting down some new insulation and caulking a seam from the belly plan closed (saw a seam, thought it would be a good idea to seal it). Should I unscrew and open up this section and add insulation? I just figured for sound absorption even more then the insulating properties...please advise. Thank you.
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:37 PM   #162
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Hi there, have a question re: insulation. Had to replace a piece of rotten subfloor 3' long x 2' approximately, and when we took out the old rotten, I cleaned up the area below removing the old insulation and debris, including a mouse carcass (sad). Anyway, the person helping me closed it up before I had a chance of putting down some new insulation and caulking a seam from the belly plan closed (saw a seam, thought it would be a good idea to seal it). Should I unscrew and open up this section and add insulation? I just figured for sound absorption even more then the insulating properties...please advise. Thank you.
A 3x2 area left uninsulated should not make much difference sound or heating wise. Not a good idea to caulk the belly pan seams, will keep moisture in and prevent any drainage.
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Old 10-17-2013, 02:33 AM   #163
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I would pull it off and insulate. I agree about leaving a gap for water to get out. I might seal seams if they are not at low spots and perhaps drill a small hole at the lowest spot(s).
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Old 06-16-2015, 03:28 PM   #164
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Clueless and wanting to live in the '50s... Wake up. Antiques aren't the only alternative.
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Old 06-16-2015, 04:24 PM   #165
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Clueless and wanting to live in the '50s... Wake up. Antiques aren't the only alternative.
Hey, Solos... first post, eh?

Actually, nah, not 'stuck'...rather, understanding the 'past' so that we don't repeat the 'errors'...hopefully.

The 'foam' idea is actually 'unproven' with our Airstreams....as far as we know.. but we actually 'embrace' good things..

So, Please, buy your AS, implement the ideas you like, then share with us how well they work!

We really do want to find better 'solutions' to the terrible 'fiberglass batting'. For instance, foam sheeting in the floor sounds great... but, may hold more water / moisture under the floor, accelerating rot... one of those "lessons learned" items...
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Old 06-18-2015, 05:34 PM   #166
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We really do want to find better 'solutions' to the terrible 'fiberglass batting'. For instance, foam sheeting in the floor sounds great... but, may hold more water / moisture under the floor, accelerating rot... one of those "lessons learned" items...
How about closed cell foam?

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Old 10-14-2015, 02:31 PM   #167
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Alright... jumping into the insulation conversation! I think this is a really valuable thread, and I am happy to see it's still going after all these years.

Our Airstream is gutted to the skin; a welcome starting point as I don't have to mess with the nightmares involved with removing old, rotted insulation (and mouse poop!).

I am finishing up all the wiring to external things (mostly lights and fans), and putting in all the final exterior skin rivets for access panels/hatches, etc., and finally attaching the belly pan skins. Thus, I am getting ready to start making final decisions regarding insulation.

Even in my "dream" planning stages (before all the research), I imagined I would go with spray foam for so many reasons. It gets into every nook and cranny. It bonds to the exterior skin and thus can actually seal up seems and holes if installed with attention to detail. It adds to the structural integrity of the shell (and thus the entire AS). It can be more environmentally friendly than fiberglass batt (depending on which kind you go with).

It has been interesting reading this thread (I've actually read through several times). It would seem that all the naysayers are citing reasons to not use spray foam that exist in almost any other form of insulation (deterioration with road vibration, a home for vermin, water retention, etc.). Not only that, but I think a lot of these claims are pure speculation, with no source of proof (especially with regard to deterioration from road vibration).

Over time, the original rock wool used in Airstreams turns into a fine powder that will kill you if you breath it in. The fiberglass batt that replaced the rock wool is a little better, but it compresses over time, and as seen from thread after thread of demo/removal nightmares, it's a mouse's favorite place to live and poop! Not only that, but when it gets wet, it STAYS wet.

And to reiterate, people saying road vibration (and the resultant "turning into powder") will be a factor with spray foam don't seem to have any specific instances to back this speculation up. In fact, most people with first hand experience are saying that they have seen NO deterioration in their spray foam installations, and others have commented that even trailers that utilized spray foam back in the 70's (when spray foam was admittedly less stable) have held up quite well. I mentioned using spray foam to the guys who were inspecting my trailer's brakes/axels etc. and they told me of several companies (new and old) that use spray foam, and that it's a great material for insulation in RV's. Not only that, but what do you think is used in refrigeration trucks? Spray foam!

The foiled bubble wrap was an interesting debate that seems to have played out. Things like Reflectix and Prodex do not offer any R value on their own (at least no more than the R 0.5 that you can get from a sheet of cardboard). They are only effective with the additional component of air (you need a substantial air gap to achieve these products' claims of R12). Also, the main "thermal component" of foiled bubble wrap is the ability to reflect, but we're talking about insulating something that already reflects! It's shiny aluminum! I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this in the existing conversation. I think duct tape would be every bit as effective as Reflectix, if not more (because it creates a seal and prevents air flow).

I do think spray foam probably IS a bad idea for the chassis/undercarriage. You need to be able to get in there, and in a horizontal application, the spray foam WILL retain water on its surface which will cause floor rot (closed-cell spray foam won't absorb water, as some have suggested, but any minimal void could easily retain water on the surface). I am hoping to source PIC (polyisocyanurate) panels for use in the chassis, and then seal things up with foil tape.

The other two important factors when considering insulating an Airstream are "breathing" (shedding moisture) and the thermal bridge created by the ribs.

As for the thermal bridge between the ribs and interior skin, I had been wondering about using a thin layer of rubber (like 45 mil epdm roofing) or neoprene, or maybe even the light blue polystyrene used between the concrete foundation of buildings and the wooden framing plate. It wouldn't eliminate heat transfer, but it seems like it might help (at least more so than metal on metal). While researching, I came across a product called Aerogel. I currently have an inquiry in to a company that makes it (Aspen Aerogel), but I have a feeling it's going to be cost prohibitive. Thus, I am back to wondering about using one of the other cheaper, more readily available materials between the ribs and interior skin.

Finally, I am considering factors with moisture (allowing it to escape). With a house, you typically use a membrane (house wrap like Tyvek) that keeps moisture from coming in, while allowing it to go out. There doesn't seem to be an equivalent for an Airstream, presumably because of the minimal thickness you are dealing with in the walls and also the way the ribs are attached to the exterior skin.

Also, when you insulate a house (especially the attic), there are two schools of thought: pack it as thick and tight as possible to prevent any air from moving (create an impenetrable barrier), or use open channels to let air flow across the interior surface of the exterior "skin" from the soffit to the ridge. You could apply the same notions to an Airstream wall, except you only have two inches of usable space.

It would be pretty difficult to create any meaningful gap in an Airstream wall (to allow water to run down and escape, and to create an air-gap-barrier between the inside and outside). I do think, however, that there is probably merit to figuring out a way to allow any water that might penetrate the skin and run down the walls to escape from the bottom C channel. Hopefully spray foam would prevent exterior water access in the first place (creating a complete seal), but I think one needs to plan for failure of the spray foam (water getting in and running down the wall, or exhaust moisture from breathing, showers, and cooking condensing on the interior skin and running down the interior wall). I'm not sure if weep holes in the base plate C channel are the answer, as they could act as an access point for external air and vermin, so I'm still trying to come up with a good solution to this problem (access panels at the base of the wall for manual removal? --seems like a pain, but maybe a thought).

Looking forward to hearing more opinions and hoping this post can contribute in some positive way to others trying to figure out a solution for insulation their Airstreams!
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Old 10-14-2015, 03:18 PM   #168
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