Insulating an RV is a controversial subject among RV owners. With such a great variety of products and even more opinions about the ones to use, it’s unavoidable that individual choices will lead to multiple solutions, customized to local climates and personal convictions. But in the end, if it works for you, then it works great!
Cooling the RV starts with minimizing heat gain by using lighter colored vehicles to reflect as much heat as possible. Parking in the shade will reduce direct solar radiation and insulation limits any radiated and conducted heat gains.
Additional temperature control by itself can be achieved with regular insulation and passive cooling techniques, standard in many home designs, can to some degree be applied too.
In this three-part series, I’ll discuss the complexities of acoustic insulation, passive cooling and heat insulation.
Let’s first concentrate on noise reduction for our upcoming van conversion. Cargo vans are notoriously noisy with their exposed walls and ceiling. Contrary to the design of passenger cars, their payload areas are not equipped with interior finishes, specifically designed to add comfort and to reduce exterior noise penetration from reaching its passengers.
Personally, I would prefer to use the soundproofing qualities of some thermal insulation products, to achieve some level of noise reduction. Fiberglass batting, polyurethane spray foam and Blue Jeans insulation are well-known to serve as a barrier to airborne sounds. In contrast, Styrofoam boards have little effect. This will make for easier installation and a major reduction in weight.
Just 25% coverage will limit the redistribution of sound through vibration, but not necessarily the transmission of noise. Butyl and rubberized asphalt are chemical compounds and their use in a confined space may have environmental consequences. These are heavy materials and will easily add 100 lbs to the overall weight of the vehicle.
|Dynamat||Fatmat||Thinsulate||Snow and Ice Shield||Peel & Seal||Fiberglass||Blue Jeans|
|Contains Chemical Irritants||no||no||–||yes||yes||no||no|
|Sound Vibration Reduction||yes||yes||no||yes||yes||no||no|
I’m not an expert in acoustics and these are just my personal views on a complicated issue.
NEXT: Passive Cooling