Our step-by-step guide from start to end of how we fitted the insulation in our van, including all of the trials and errors in between. We’ve included the cost of all materials used to give an idea of what to expect when considering converting your own van.
Let me start by saying that we left for our first trip massively under prepared. We had pictured staying on hot sunny beaches day in day out, and hadn’t counted on a white winter in Italy or a stay in Verdon Gorge where the temperature reached -10ºC and there was ice on the inside of the windscreen. We’d stuffed the odd bit of rockwool insulation in here and there, behind the kitchen unit taped up behind bin bags, and a sprinkling behind the cladding on the side door and around the windows we clad over. Whether this made any difference at all we highly doubt, and we came to realise that rockwool was not the best stuff for the job.
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Upon our wintry arrival back to the UK we immediately decided insulating the roof was a priority; all the heat from our diesel heater was wafting straight out of the ceiling, and we had to make do with blankets and candles all winter. We went to a builder’s merchant and asked: “What’s the best stuff for the job?”
They recommended Actis HControl Hybrid, a relatively new product which could soon become a go-to for van converts. This stuff is made up of layers of mylar, foam and a cotton wool-like material, and just 45mm of it will provide as much insulation as 0.5m of polystyrene. It’s extremely lightweight, airtight and also has a built-in vapour barrier which stops condensation, making it ideal for vans. A roll will cover 10m² and set you back around £70 - £80- enough to insulate a whole van.
As we already had a basic amount of rockwool insulation stuffed in the van walls, we only needed to insulate the roof prior to cladding. To do this we measured and cut the HControl Hybrid into strips to fit around the roof struts and sealed the edges with duct tape to make them into little packets and stop the many layers from separating. We had a bit of help -or rather hindrance- from the kitten at this point, who’d decided the foil was a much warmer, comfier bed than his basket.
Once the packets were made it was just a matter of covering them and the roof with carpet spray adhesive and sticking them together, making sure the heat-reflective copper-coloured side was applied to the roof and not facing into the inside of the van. Now the roof was ready to clad, and we were already feeling the extra warmth at night.
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Total cost and materials used:
HControl Hybrid 10m² roll by Actis (half roll used)- £68*
Rockwool insulation roll from Jewsons - £30*
Evostick spray adhesive from B&Q - £5.60*
Total cost: £75.60
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