2011 NCV3 RV Build ~ mountainchimp


New member
Hello, I want to start a tread on here to document my build as well as to ask questions and get advice along the way. I have read through a lot of the posts on the site and I have learned a lot along the way. I think it will take me around 2 years to do the full build and I am currently at the first stage. Insulation... Much needed rite now, IT HAS BEEN COLD HERE IN VANCOUVER!!

INSULATION and a little about the flooring

Needs/ Considerations

-living full time
-high R value because I will be staying in temps below -25C. (-13F)
-build for moist climates, because I stay in areas like Vancouver during the rainy season
-balance cost with benefit
-keep doors, especially sliding door, as light as possible
-will be routing all RV wiring through cabinetry and boxing it in for ease of access.
-all water sources will be located within the cab area to keep them from freezing in cold climates and for ease of use.


Floor **need more research**

top to bottom
-durable thin and waterproof laminate (possibly full laminate sheets)
-cork underlay (⅛’’)
-1” closed cell foam panels. ½” if it would suffice in order to save headroom
-the vans metal ribs under foam left open and able to breath
**I will tackle the floor at a later time so I am not looking for too much advice on this at the moment. This is just what I have for a rough plan so far**

Walls and Roof (foam it green?)

-foam on all open panel areas including under the headliner over the cab
-foam cavities of the structural framing in the cargo area
-**may not foam area where roof rails may be installed in the future**?
-**no sure if it is a good idea to fill doors with foam**?

Cab, and Cavities w/ Wiring and Drainage (Thinsulate)

-thinsulate under panels in the cab area (including doors)
-thinsulate in cavities where drainage holes are present
-thinsulate in cavities where wiring and things such as lights are present
-Thinsulate over wheel wells
-**possibly thinsulate all cargo area doors. I was also thinking about adding only about an inch of spray foam to the panels then thinsulate the rest.** Advice would be greatly appreciated.
-**possibly use thinsulate where roof rails may be installed in the future**

Windows + Cab Area

-reflectix or some other type of window cover that is able to be applied during extreme weather and to block light for stealth camping
-insulating blanket or curtain to section off cab during extreme weather and block light

Concerns and Questions Regarding Spray Foam

-Should I even attempt to fill any cavities? (ei, structural members on the roof, cavities in the rear doors, cavities around windows)
-Will the added rigidity of the spray foam cause problems when the van tries to flex and twist?
-Should I even attempt to do it myself? (I am a carpenter so I have building and insulating experience but have never worked with spray foam insulation before)
-I live in Vancouver BC, if anyone knows of a company they trust in the area. I would not be against travelling a few hours to find a trustworthy source for a decent price.
-I am thinking about adding an extra ½” on walls and roof for extra R value. I am just concerned about the extra weight and making the van too rigid.
-Thought about spray foaming the underside of the van. Anyone with any experience or thoughts on this? I think if I was buying new I might consider this as more of a possibility because I do not want to lock in any rust or moisture on an older van. (Although I cannot find any rust on the van I purchased. I feel very lucky)

Will post pictures with updates as I work on the RV build. I have a couple on my mountainchimp Instagram account if anyone is interested.

I have really enjoyed reading people's posts so far and am excited to be part of the community.

Thank you!


Van Guru
Welcome. No need to go crazy on the insulation. It's *impossible* to overcome the inherent losses and a diesel fired heater will provide plenty of BTUs. We like to keep it simple and recommend Thinsulate(TM) throughout. Injecting foam into cavities will prevent it from curing and can wrinkle or crease the body skin. Spray foaming large areas can cause warping. Feel free to call or write and we can go over your plans in more detail. I think we can save you a lot of work. All the best, -Hein


Van Guru
The R-value of Thinsulate(TM) SM660L is 5.2. You'll get more than that in the walls because there will be some dead air space behind your interior panels. The roof is less deep so there won't be an air space there. We can boost the R-value by using a layer of Low-E behind the panels. That also helps control moisture which develops in cold conditions.

We have quite a number cold weather van dwellers/users who have used our system. Results have been good.

Hope that helps.

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