How To Do A Professional Insulation Job On Your Van Or Caravan — DIY

insulating a van
Whether you’ll be travelling somewhere hot and sweaty or icy cold, campervan insulation is a must. Insulation will allow you to be comfortable inside your van, whatever the weather is like outside. Since it makes such a big difference to your comfort on the road, it pays to do your van insulation right. Here’s our guide on how to insulate a caravan or campervan for maximum comfort while sticking to budget.

What’s the Best Insulation for a Van?

There are many different types of insulation that can be used in campervans and caravans. The best performing insulation products tend to have a few things in common.
  • Thin – since space is limited inside the van, you’ll want an insulation that’s thin and flexible. That way you can maximise space inside while still getting all the benefits of insulation.
  • High performance – thin insulation isn’t worth it if it doesn’t do the job. So look for insulation that has a high R-Value for its thickness. The higher the R-Value, the better insulating power the product has. Read our blog about R-Value and what it means for you.
  • Easy to work with – if you’re doing your own van build, you want a product that’s easy to work with and user-friendly. Go for non-itch, non-toxic options that are easy to cut and install.
  • Resistant to moisture – moisture builds up easily in small spaces, so opt for an insulation that’s impervious to moisture or has moisture resistant properties.
  • Non toxic – non-toxic insulation materials will keep you healthier and safer inside your van, both during the install and afterwards.
  • Able to withstand movement – unlike a house, your van will be subject to constant movement and vibrations. Your insulation product should be able to withstand these intense conditions, without moving out of place or falling apart.

Our Top Picks for Van Insulation

1. Reflective Foil Insulation Rolls

Reflective foil insulation products like Trade Select by Ametalin and Kingspan Air Cell are excellent choices for the walls, floor and ceiling of your campervan or caravan. These products are flexible and thin, helping you maximise your interior space while effectively reducing heat loss and gain. The reflective foil layer acts as a radiant barrier, reflecting heat away from your van in hot climates and keeping warmth inside in cool weather. In addition to the thermal benefits, Trade Select and Kingspan Air Cell act as a water barrier and vapour barrier to help control moisture inside your van.

2. Glasswool Insulation

Glasswool insulation is a type of bulk insulation made from tiny fibres. Although glasswool batts are thicker than reflective foil insulation and rigid foam board insulation, they are highly effective thermal barriers. They also reduce sound transfer, and can help keep your van quieter inside. Glasswool is easy to cut and can be used to insulate gaps and awkward areas. Keep in mind that if exposed to water, glasswool will soak up moisture and become less effective. If using glasswool batts, be sure to plan for adequate moisture control and ventilation. Our most popular glasswool products include Knauf Earthwool, Fletcher Pink Batts, and Bradford Gold Batts

3. Rigid Foam Board Insulation

Rigid board panels like Foilboard and XPS foam board insulation can be used to insulate the ceiling, floor and walls. Lightweight and easy to work with, this type of insulation is ideal for DIY projects. In addition to reducing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, rigid foam board also offers acoustic benefits.

How to Insulate a Van

1. Gather Your Tools

For a DIY van insulation project, you will need:
  • Retractable knife
  • Torch or lamp
  • Gloves, dust mask and long sleeves
  • Ruler
  • Joining tape or staples
  • Insulation

2. Insulate the Van Floor

Before insulating the van floor, be sure to remove everything from the van and give it a good sweep and mop. Depending on the design of your van, now might be a good time to insulate your wheel arches with reflective foil insulation or sound deadening insulation. To insulate the van floor, you may need to build a subfloor with battens. Once your battens are secured in place, you will need to measure and cut the insulation to fit snugly between the battens, whether you’re using rigid foam board or glasswool. You can seal any gaps using reflective tape.

3. Insulate the Van Ceiling

Van ceilings can be insulated with reflective foil insulation, glasswool or rigid foam board. In warmer climates, it’s particularly important to have reflective insulation on the ceiling to reflect radiant heat away from the van. Keep in mind that hollow ceiling ribs can act as a thermal bridge, so stuffing them with glasswool insulation can help reduce heat loss and gain.

4. Insulate the Van Walls

Foam board insulation, reflective foil insulation and glasswool are all appropriate for insulating the walls. Be sure to plan out where any wiring or lights need to go before installing the insulation. For gaps in the door panels, a good option is to stuff them with glass wool insulation.

5. Don’t Forget Window Coverings

Windows can lose and gain a lot of heat, so ensure you have reflective window covers. You can purchase these or make them yourself out of reflective foil insulation. Tinted windows can also help reduce heat loss and gain.

6. Ensure You Have Adequate Ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial for controlling moisture inside the van and preventing mould and mildew problems. A vent fan in the roof of your van can help draw moisture out of the air, but there are several other ways to ensure adequate ventilation. We recommend speaking with a specialist to make sure you have the right level of ventilation for comfort and safety.

DIY vs Professional Install

If you’re doing a van conversion, installing insulation yourself can help you keep costs down. But keep in mind that insulation needs to be installed correctly for maximum performance, and to avoid moisture issues. Doing your research beforehand is essential. For complex caravan installations, we recommend getting a professional install from a provider like RV Solutions. That way you can be sure you’re getting a quality install that’s going to do the job when you’re on the road.

Buy Van Insulation Online With Pricewise Insulation

Our range of caravan insulation is ideal for campervan conversions and caravan revamps. All of our products are non-toxic, easy to handle and excellent value for money. Place an order online today, or call our customer service team on 1300 729 639 for advice about your project.

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