Insulation Motivation

Good to see the site again tonight! I’m terrible sorry it’s been weeks since my last post. Carmen and I fell pretty ill right around the same time we pieced apart the Winnebago, and my motivation level plummeted. I barely made it through an average day for over a week, but now I’m back in stride and really enjoying the work experience!

Cee Cee touched based on our salvage yard extravaganza at Mark Paule’s. I can hardly believe our luck. It was a rock bottom price on a lot of necessary and kind of even quality items. The RV wasn’t out of time, it somehow became salvage title toward the end and was deemed impractical. The owner of the yard, Mark, had actually considered keeping it for himself. It had most major appliances, seats, couch, beds, AC, an Onan genset, cabinets, tanks.. You know, RV stuff. We took anything that appeared useful or in mostly working order (I think the generator’s condition may have been exaggerated). And also agreed upon that sick med van roof for a ‘skylight’. Skipping most of the gruesome details, I called off work to seize the full opportunity and, with a fever and nagging cough, worked in the 40 degree rain the entire next day. We filled two trucks full of treasure and left just as they were closing.

The proceeding sickly two weeks or so were spent coming to grips with a few of our purchases. (They didn’t come with owners manuals). I tinkered on the Onan and only got a few huffs out of it, cleaned the shop,  continued to strip the bus, coughed.

Luckily everything comes to an end, good or bad, and my sickness yielded recently. Today felt full swing, even in Carmen’s absence. I devised a true ‘plan’ in the morning before visiting Home Depot to purchase the materials. The bus is a tricky thing to insulate fully, as the walls are very thin.

I had almost decided to spray foam the entire thing, but ‘industrial’ two part closed cell spray foam is reallllyyyyy expensive. To give you an idea,  It’s about $2.00 a board foot for the home gamer buying it in small quantity. A board foot is 12″ x 12″ x 1″, and to fill the bus walls and floor is about 700 board feet. Of course this cost may later be offset by the savings involved in heating and cooling, but the extent of which is debatable. It’s also foolish to purchase fiber glass insulation, because most are designed to be expanded in a 3.5″ space, If we compress the material, the R value drops significantly and will barely offer any shelter. In the end,  I decided to get XPS close cell foam board.  It offers an R value of 7 an inch, comparable to spray foam’s 7.5 an inch, and is much cheaper, at about 40 cents a board foot. I will then use a significantly smaller amount of spray foam to fill cracks and ridges and curves found in the walls. Given the space, I believe this is going to give us fantastic sound and heat insulation.

As for the floors, similar insulation will be used to keep height down (I’m 6 feet tall). There will be 1.5″ x 1.5″ boards even spaced every foot or so to provide both shelter for the insulation and a surface to screw subfloor and appliances into. I actually went pretty heavy on the OSB ‘plyboard’ with the thought of quality. Even though it has a comparatively low R value of maybe 2, my worry was that I did not want to floors to creak or bow under our weight. If there were a dip between each joist in a year or two because I saved $40 on cheaper thinner board, I’d be really annoyed with my actions. These things are pretty uninteresting really, but I’ve put a lot of thought into it, as I’m not going back.

With all those thoughts in mind I scurried off to the Depot, picked my poisons, and rented a truck for transport. It’s really a good deal, for $19  an hour, you get a 2015 F-250 with an ultra nifty flippy tailgate bed. I’d recommend the service any day. They helped me load the truck too, which seemed like no big deal until I unloaded it myself.

I then realized I needed some wood cutting tools for the floor, and rummaged around the family’s old barn looking for the goods. Admittedly I got super distracted, looking in every corner for usefulness and raw materials. It’s impossible not to delve completely into every corner, as you don’t know what may have been forgotten. I eventually got everything I bargained for, but at the expense of my time. There were plenty of raw materials like angle iron, boards, wires,  electrical appliances and tools worth reclaiming. Some immediately, and some later. By the time i realized I was in the twilight zone, it was 7pm. I loaded the car up with the smaller bits and returned them to the shop, closing down in the process.

This week is finally going to be one of construction, rather than destruction… and I have no idea what I’m doing. Keep in mind that has never bothered me. With confidence, I can say the human race has built an RV before. There was no magical power they possessed that I wasn’t privileged with. They were just men, and I, just a man, will find and relive their struggles until we are found equally capable of any task necessary. And when Carmen and I solve all these likely not-entirely-unique little problems.  We will have a beautiful little place to live our lives, devoid of any debt or obligation.


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