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First don't put anything in the lower ones that's where condensation collects and drains out.

Spray foam may deform the metal and will make the channel unusable later on.

Some insulate over the metal, some stuff/push/pull thinsulate through the channels, or get a cheap Walmart/Ikea pillow and use the polyester fill to fill channels.

There are opinions on the value of insulating the inside the channels or just over the channel.
 

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Well established practice is to pull or poke Thinsulate(TM) strips or small rolls in to enclosed ribs and bulkheads. The scrim cover material protects the Thinsulate from coming apart and looks nice as a finish layer in exposed areas. The material is hydrophobic so will not absorb moisture or inhibit drying out if there is condensation. Here's a link with some how-to photos:

http://www.impact3d.com/Thinsulate_installation.html

All the best,
Hein
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
What about coating the metal inside the ribs/pillars with something like Rhino Liner or Flex Seal and then stuffing in loose batting? This wouldn't really be possible for the small areas, like the ribs running across the wall and ceiling, but the larger spots like the vertical pillar on the wall and the huge cavity below the wall, you might be able to get decent coverage with a spray can.
 

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Buck unless you live in an area that has serious heat you are wasting your time even thinking about insulating the ribs, even then it's doubtful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Time is pretty split between 100°F+ in Moab, UT and -30°F (pre-windchill) in Teton, WY.
 

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Buck unless you live in an area that has serious heat you are wasting your time even thinking about insulating the ribs, even then it's doubtful!
So you think we shouldn't insulate the ribs? Is this common? I'd love to have a good reason not to insulate the ribs.

Sent from my SM-P900 using Tapatalk
 

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Time is pretty split between 100°F+ in Moab, UT and -30°F (pre-windchill) in Teton, WY.
That's pretty extreme but I still wouldn't do it. How much area are you really talking with the ribs? Minor in the whole scheme of things. But that's only my opinion others will strenuously disagree!
 

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Time is pretty split between 100°F+ in Moab, UT and -30°F (pre-windchill) in Teton, WY.
That's a pretty good reason to get some Thinsulate(TM) in there. And it will greatly reduce outside noise coming in as well. (more if you did the whole van) The only folks who would tell you not to do it don't realize how easy it is to get done.
 

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Sorta like the people who are selling it are encouraging its use? ;) insulating 3 or 4 2' wide ribs in the ceiling is going to cut down on noise - I have a bridge for sale real cheap (if you're interested) if you have any money left over. ;)
 

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in those temps I'd do both thinsulate and relectix or low-e - everywhere!

In fact I am....my temps will be on all ends of extreme. 100°F dry and humid and -30°F...I'd rather do it now than have my build "done" wishing I had done more. I'd likely get fed up and decide to do more, then the cost and time to fix it ...I wouldn't even want to think about that.

Actually an easy decision for me....do it now - invest in the "foundation" of your van. You can always upgrade or remodel everything else later.
 

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MMXVI - L2H2 in IN
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Buck,

Plenty of examples showing people attaching string/wire and pulling thinsulate through the channels.

You will have to determine if the time and effort of trying to put insulation inside the channels is worth it.

You could just cover the channels with "Duct insulation rated at r 3" and be done with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
"in those temps I'd do both thinsulate and reflectix or low-e - everywhere!" - What is "low-e"?
 

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In severe conditions covering the ribs themselves becomes more important as the metal rib is attached thermally to the skin of the van where ambient temperatures may vary more than 80º from what you would like the interior to be. The metal is a good conductor and carries heat through to the metal interior quickly. I covered the ceiling ribs with a layer of 1/2” plywood strip to improve the looks and reduce the ribs radiating the heat to the interior. More would be better. In the walls I added 1/2” Polyiso strips over them for the same reason. I have plastic covers for the other ribs and I could pull them off and add insulation and return them. All this is IN ADDITION to the insulation inside them. That internal insulation will not stop the conduction so they may need to be covered.
 

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I fully agree with the above post. The heat conduction (either way) through the metal of the ribs is far greater than the heat conduction through the trapped air within the rib. Inside the rib insulation is of very minimal effect. The best is to cover them with at least minimal insulation. Their area is small compared with the rest of the sheet metal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Low-E looks to be a product almost identical to Reflectix, with manufacturer claims that seem exaggerated.

I've got 1" R-Max on floors and ceiling, 2" on walls, Great Stuff to fill the gaps, ceiling beams filled with Window and Door Seal, wall pillars and ceiling perimeter inside beams lined with Reflectix (just to create vapor barrier on skin) and filled with Denim Insulation Batting.

Floor will get 1/2" OSB, walls will get 1/4" ply with more denim filling, vapor barrier behind all ply. Ceiling will get vapor barrier and some sorta bead board or wood tongue and groove, likely directly to the ceiling beams or using a furring strip to the SIDE of the ceiling beams to allow an extra inch of head room.

Entire floor of van is getting electric floor heat (600W), then a thin layer of metal (yet to be sourced), then 7.5mm waterproof vinyl tongue and groove.

Furnace is Webastco Air Top 2000 STC Petrol @ 2Kw (6824BTU).

No windows, but a massive skylight (if I can find it) and a Maxxair roof vent. Partitions in front and rear. Hoping to be able to be comfortable around -10°F and tolerable at -20°F. Hoping I can gain 70°F with this setup.
 

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I've got to ask, if you don't mind. What are you doing at those low temps? I don't leave the house when it's below 10°F.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Van is for full timing, ski slopes in the winter and beaches and desert the rest of the time.
 
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