Vlog 7: Getting sticky with it

In this video I use Insta Stik low-expansion foam adhesive to install the cut Celotex insulation panels into my Toyota Proace campervan conversion. I also install a Fiamma Turbo 28 roof vent by jigsawing a hole in the roof then using a mastic sealing strip and cartridge sealant to stop any rain getting in.

Products used (Amazon affiliate links)
Mastic sealant: http://amzn.to/2sc4TO0
Insta Stik (gun grade): http://amzn.to/2E68nXE
Foam applicator gun: http://amzn.to/2nUVIfx
Foam cleanser: http://amzn.to/2sh5z4w
Fiamma Turboo 28 vent: http://amzn.to/2nPmzcI
DeWalt jigsaw: http://amzn.to/2nPmDcs
DeWalt drill: http://amzn.to/2nUx4M2

(Some products aren’t exactly the same brand as I used because Amazon doesn’t appear to list them but I’ve selected similar items)

I chose to use low-expansion foam adhesive to stick the Celotex insulation panels into the campervan because it looked relatively easy to apply (though it can be messy), and I’d read that it sticks very well. One thing I wanted to avoid was the insulation squeaking as I drive along so the more firmly I can hold the panels into place the better. This is one of the reasons I ruled out using builders’ “stick pins” (self adhesive metal pins onto which the insulation is spiked” because I think the panels will be able to flex slightly. Also, trying to push the panels dead sqaure on to the pins to ensure the insulation goes exactly where it needs to be could be fiddly whereas with the glue adhesive I could shift the panels around for a minute or two until it dried.

Whilst the glue dried, I used an assortment of umbrellas and random bits of metal to lean against the panels and hold them into place. It doesn’t take much for the side panels and the glue dries quite quickly (5-10 minutes). For the ceiling I had to come up with a different solution and have seen many van builders make scaffolding constructs of wood but this seemed overkill for my tiny van.

Instead I bought three spring-loaded extendable tension rods, the kind of thing you sometimes see sold to hold up shower curtains where you don’t want to drill any holes. You just adjust the pole to slightly longer than the space you want it to fill, press the end of the pole in against the spring and then pop it into place such that the spring tension pushes the pole against the wall and holds it firm.

In my use, the pole would be vertical, pushing against the van floor and the insulation panel being stuck to the ceiling. I put a scrap of insulation between the end of the pole and the insulation being stuck, so as not to accidentally poke any holes into the Celotex and also so as to spread the pressure to make the panel stick evenly.

I only bought three poles and moved them from front to back as I went but in fact I should have bought more; although the first front panel was just about stuck when I removed its pole to use it at the back, it wasn’t quite stuck enough so really I could have done with extra poles and for £3.49 each (from The Range) it wouldn’t have been costly. Luckily, I noticed the panel sag and held it back up manually for another minute by which time it had taken hold.

For the roof vent I chose a Fiamma Turbo 28 which is 28cm square and has an electric fan which can be set to either suck air into the van or extract it. Fitting just meant cutting a 28cm square hole in the van roof. I made up a cardboard square of that size, using a set square to make sure all the angles were 90 degrees then traced round it on the van roof.

A hole was then drilled in two of the corners of that marked square, big enough for me to get the jigsaw bit into, and then I just cut out the square shape. It’s strongly advisable to wear full safety goggles and ear defenders when you do this. I didn’t wear defenders and my ears rang all afternoon. I did wear goggles and a good thing too as the little shards of metal go everywhere.

Speaking of which, every van builder recommends you thoroughly vacuum, brush or by any other means scoop up all those little shards from the roof and inside of the van, else they’ll rust quickly and stain the van’s metal. I also taped some newspaper inside the van under where I was making the hole so as to catch the filings.

Once the hole was made, I filed the edges gently then painted them with Hammerite to stop it rusting. I used caravan sealing mastic to iron out the variations in roof height (due to the structural creases in the van roof) and applied some standard clear sealant to the edge of the fan, as the instructions advise. The fan was then dropped into the hole and pressed down.

Inside, with this particular fan, the bottom half screws directly into the top via holes in the plastic part you just dropped through, rather than having to drill additional mounting holes. The fewer holes in the metal, the better, I reckon.

So far I’ve had several heavy rain showers and – no doubt due to the vast amount of sealant I used – it’s remained waterproof.

2 Comments

  1. Hi David, I just found the “Humble Road” van life channel on you tube. You should have a look (if you haven’t). The content is great, although I have an inexplicable urge to wear sunscreen (whatever that is :)) Richard

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