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Old 06-09-2007, 12:44 AM   #1
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1955 16' Bubble
Bend , Oregon
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 254

My head hurts!
I have spent a great deal of time here reading up on the best insulation and how to install it. I have a plan of attack but now I have over thought the concept and now all is Greek to me.
I just finished the installation of my new shiny belly pan. I did it in sections so that if a problem occurs I can gain accesses or replace a section. The install is fairly airtight. It was my intent to place a vent to allow for air circulation and route for moisture to escape. I wanted to seal the inside of the exterior skin to seal from leaks with a rubber coating; the original tar seal is failing and flaking in a number of places. I was considering placing vent holes in the floor inside the wall cavity and in the roof vent to further air circulation and for a route for moisture to escape. So that just leaves the type of insulation and how to install.
I have a good amount of the foil insulation and was seriously considering using it. The air space needed on each side of the insulation was bugging me. Will my vent holes kill the effectiveness of the foil insulation? It was my original intent to use a second type of insulation as a spacer and make an insulation sandwich. Insulation / foil / insulation. What to use as that second insulation is the question. It would have to be thin and flexible for the one and a half inch space in the wall and be able to work in the curve of the roofline. Malconium had a great application idea here at this thread I just wanted to take it that one step further the use of the second insulation to fill the gap and hold the foil in place. In fact does it really need to be insulation at all? I noted a post from NorCal Bambi and he considered using a filter material that could breath as his spacers. I only want to do this once and do it right the first time with no regrets. Any thoughts shared would be greatly appreciated here.
Ever notice an Airstream resembles a piggy bank
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Old 06-09-2007, 11:21 AM   #2
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About parging the entire exterior shell insides... My suggestion is spot application of Vulkem where needed on rivet backs and seam lines but do not coat everything - instead work on every outside seam and gasket until there is no/low chance of water intrusion.

With the rear floor out of my '73, I placed a jack & prop under the rear utility hatch and tensioned the heck out of everything to lift the shell off the frame just 1/2-inch...

Then I noticed running water, not just drips but a slender stream that poured out for nearly 30 seconds, with drips continuing for quite a while. It seems that the inner seams and rivets slathered with Vulkem for 35 years had freeze cycles make voids and such into bladders with a considerable volume along those seams that compressing the structure with the hydraulic jack allowed to dribble out.

Looking close I see 4 or 5 places that the caulk bond is a clean separation from the aluminum (10" below taillights, sheet overlaps above rear utility hatch, above battery locker) which channels any wicked water straight into floor channel cup... That, and the existence of bladder reservoirs, means long term exterior gaps needed attention years ago.... So I now hate the idea of capturing and storing water behind the shell with coatings of any type.

With the belly pan - ensure all the line drains perforate the skins to drop onto the ground direct; my trailers might have had ALOT less damage if that were positively accomplished instead of direct onto skins to leak through seams or a plastic drain hose that kinks and retreats up over time.

And providing air vents throughout structure - if they were a good thing Airstream would have delivered them that way. You could be feeding the damp with condensation cycles unknowingly, especially using chimney effect from beneath flooring up - the water vapor at ground level goes 100% twice a day here w/ morning and evening dews, draw that heavy damp air into a trailer is simply adding it's exposure levels... Relentless vigilance on exterior caulks and seams is the way to proceded.

Also - to keep rain from wicking into belly skin sheet seams I plan on making a drip-edge to keep dew & rain from capillary wicking upwards, attached is a photo..
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