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Old 03-04-2016, 07:22 AM   #1
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alternative belly skin materials

Howdy all, I have removed the belly skin from our '70 Safari and we have cleaned out all of the "stuff" with the pink insulation. We painted the frame with POR15. I re-insulated with foil covered cell insulation material and spaced that material 1" away from the floor with yellow board strips to create the necessary air gap. I glued all of those pieces to the bottom of the floor with various types of caulks and spray adhesives with variable success. With the high winds here in northern NM some of the material has come loose. So I used aluminum foil tape around all of the edges of all of the pieces of insulation. Whew! I am relatively confident that it's not going anywhere now. Sooo, having typed all of that...I want to leave the belly open...at least for now, maybe forever. Not sure yet. My question is, what types of screen or extruded aluminum can you suggest to put in place of the aluminum skin to keep furry critters and most of the mud and rocks out. What immediately comes to mind is the "metal lath" that is used in house construction. Or some kind of perforated aluminum sheets. Maybe there is some type of sturdy plastic perforated sheeting? Any and all ideas welcomed! Thanks Tom
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:12 AM   #2
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Howdy all, I have removed the belly skin from our '70 Safari and we have cleaned out all of the "stuff" with the pink insulation. We painted the frame with POR15. I re-insulated with foil covered cell insulation material and spaced that material 1" away from the floor with yellow board strips to create the necessary air gap. I glued all of those pieces to the bottom of the floor with various types of caulks and spray adhesives with variable success. With the high winds here in northern NM some of the material has come loose. So I used aluminum foil tape around all of the edges of all of the pieces of insulation. Whew! I am relatively confident that it's not going anywhere now. Sooo, having typed all of that...I want to leave the belly open...at least for now, maybe forever. Not sure yet. My question is, what types of screen or extruded aluminum can you suggest to put in place of the aluminum skin to keep furry critters and most of the mud and rocks out. What immediately comes to mind is the "metal lath" that is used in house construction. Or some kind of perforated aluminum sheets. Maybe there is some type of sturdy plastic perforated sheeting? Any and all ideas welcomed! Thanks Tom
Sorry, but foil in the underbelly is not a good idea.

The underbelly must be able to breathe from the floor down. It can easily do that with just fiberglass insulation.

Andy
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:28 AM   #3
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Sorry, but foil in the underbelly is not a good idea.

The underbelly must be able to breathe from the floor down. It can easily do that with just fiberglass insulation.

Andy
While I understand your thought process on this.....but....AS has been installing the reflective foil insulation sandwiched between the frame and floor for a long time. My 2007 is insulated in this manner.
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:00 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. I feel that the foil tape is probably not making the insulation "weather tight". Although I am taping most of the edges I am not getting them totally sealed. The reason for wanting to just screen the bottom of the Safari instead of totally enclose it with a skin is to allow that breathing action which is a concern. Also will allow me to see that the insulation is staying in place. I know that I've read on this forum that there are people successfully running their A/S with a totally open bottom. I consider a perforated screen of some type to be a good compromise in allowing visual access to the belly and protect the bottom from most flying debris and rodents. Anybody use an alternative "skin"? Thanks Tom
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:54 AM   #5
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Many, if not most other brands use a special heavy plastic scrim cloth for their underbelly protection and rodent protection. I would suggest you look at some typical stick and staple trailers to see what I am talking about.

I have no idea of how it would work out on an Airstream or how you would attach it, but it is a thought to consider.
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:19 PM   #6
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consider pet proof screening. It is a heavy window/door screening made to take the impact of a large dog jumping on it. I have used it in my patio door and it has lasted 10 years with 4 grandchildren , 2 dogs, exposed to weather NE winters.

Still good as new.
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:32 PM   #7
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I would have to think about what effect this would have on the aerodynamics of the Airstream. It seems your giving up a "feature".
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:40 PM   #8
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Sorry, but foil in the underbelly is not a good idea.



The underbelly must be able to breathe from the floor down. It can easily do that with just fiberglass insulation.



Andy

Can u say more about this? In a house foil faced foam is OK as long as the surface (e.g. wall) can dry to the other side (foil faced foam would NOT be used in a below grade basement). Since a trailer is entirely above grade, what's the concern with foil below the floor?
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:14 PM   #9
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I've looked at that scrim cloth. I believe it to be a variation of house wrap. There is a heavy synthetic 'felt' that roofers use. It is not a asphalt based product. It comes in 5' wide rolls,100 ft. long. Look on the roofing isle at Lowes and Home Depot. Be sure to get the 30# equivalent, not the 15# equal. Yes that's probably twice what you need. And it will have an almost 2' wide overlap But it is relatively cheap. Like $80 for that roll. You could double it to offset the seam. You could put a composite nail stringer down the middle of the belly, and composite nail stringers on each side, affixed to the outriggers. At best it will discourage but not keep mice or reptiles out.
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:20 PM   #10
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Key is ventilation. The spacing you explained that you made to hold insulation off the floor. As long as air can travel to remove moisture you are good. Do not like the concept of removing the belly pan. The air needs to vent, but dirt, bugs and water spray needs to stay out. Some of this depends a bit on use. Give the travel trailer application, the belly pan seems like the best solution. Having said all that.....Not an expert. You pay the bill, so it's got the be the system that you are convinced is best. Good luck on your investigation. Pat
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:39 PM   #11
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alternative belly skin materials

I understand the need for ventilation across a surface where moisture may collect (i.e., roof rafters), but in such a case the air channel is outside of the insulation. With a ventilation channel between the insulation and floor in the trailer, the insulating value is diminished.

From what I understand, the airspace with foil faced products is to increase/attain the stated R value of the product. That said, things would need to be sealed since cold air sweeping across the gap isn't going to help matters. I'm by no means an expert in terms of building science with trailers, but seems to me that spray foam applied to the underside of the floor would be the best way to go. Second best I think would be rigid foam board (polystyrene) fastened to the floor and edges sealed with spray foam. If concerned about interior leaks along the walls and c-channel, then don't seal the edges with spray foam and leave a few inches along the perimeter of the floor uninsulated to help with drying.

However, one thing to probably avoid in all circumstances would be foil sealed underneath the subfloor and solid linoleum sheeting (or other similar impermeable product) on top--the subfloor wouldn't dry to either direction if it got wet.
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:47 AM   #12
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About spray polyurethane foam (SPF). It is a great insulator, and frankly waterproof. UV deteriorates it. If you SPF your underside, you will have to cut it out (we call it busting it out) to get to anything. It will seal moisture out, AND in. You can buy ISO boards, that are high density foam. The insulation issue may be 'shorts', that's where energy moves around a great resistance. I think a simple solution may be the stock approach. Belly pan. Is there a plastic substitute for aluminum inside the banana wrap... The synthetic felt is 98% waterproof one way, water vapor release the other way. Welcome to new technology. It's just not ridged.
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:00 AM   #13
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Ok, thanks all. Good thoughts to ponder. I had our local Ace hardware order 2 sheets of extruded aluminum metal lathe. They are 4' x 10' sheetswith 3/16" diamond shaped holes which will do all of the exposed area under the A/S from the banana side wraps to each side and have a small amount left over to fill in various other places of consideration. Alas, the shipping charge was astronomical! I cancelled the order so now I am still looking for a similar product. Our nearest HD is 75 miles away and Lowes is 45 miles away. Shopping them online has not shown anything that is appealing to me. 2 products that our Ace has are kind of intriguing. One is a "shade cloth" that is very wind and rot resistant and very breathable. The other is a ground cloth that is a tighter weave cloth and is rot and wind resistant but breathable. Neither will be tough as far as abrasion resistant. Ideally, in my mind at least, I would use a perforated aluminum panel with one of these types of cloth between the panel and the bottom of the airstream. That would keep out all of the critters, bugs, flying debris and basically everything except some dust. It won't however allow me to immediately view the underside of the A/S frame and floor. So the search continues. When I do finally find the "perfect" plan I will post the finished product. Tom
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:28 AM   #14
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If you find suitable lathe (lathe being what masons now use to adhere mortar to stucco walls. I would then use that 30 lb. synthetic felt. Much more affordable AND tough stuff. it is directional. Directional in that it allows moisture and air to go out, but repels moisture the other way. Check a builder supply that sells stucco and masonry products. They probably sell the lathe you seek.
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