How do you insulate a touring caravan?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How do you insulate a touring caravan? We will explain the benefits of insulating your touring caravan and explain how to do it, step-by-step. 

How do you insulate a touring caravan?

To insulate a touring caravan follow these simple tips:

  • Apply sealant, such as polyurethane or silicone, to any gaps in the edges of your windows by simply locating the gaps and pressing small amounts of the adhesive sealant over the gaps. This will close any gaps that allow cold air into your trailer.
  • Add clear plastic secondary glazing to your windows. There are many self-adhesive plastic sheets available that you can install by pressing them against your window.
  • When the heavy interior fabric covers your windows. This is a cheap and easy way to add an extra layer of weather insulation. 
  • Force foam rubber into floor slots that cross water and gas lines. This will prevent air from seeping through these holes.
  • Place your cushion vent in your ventilation opening. This will seal the ventilation opening and prevent the entry of air from the roof of your touring caravan.

How do I insulate the roof of my touring caravan?

Being a horizontal surface, the ceiling does not drain as well the water accumulated by condensation, compared to the walls that are vertical. That is why we have to avoid this condensation by not leaving the sheet metal surface in the air. A thick layer of insulation must be glued well to avoid the difference in temperature between one side and the other and that mist is not created. 

As always the first layer is aluminum or another aluminized and waterproof material. The second layer will be a foam or multilayer that houses airtight air. Minimum must be 20mm thick. This layer must be very flexible. It should stick well to all sheet metal surfaces and their irregularities with a high-temperature resistant adhesive. We must try by all means not to leave air pockets.

The thickness of the insulating layer set should be 3cm for temperate climates and 4cm for colder climates.

How do I insulate the walls of my touring caravan? 

To insulate the walls of a touring caravan we will start with the reflective aluminum material. After this, if the chosen material is self-adhesive, we will glue, tucking in all the corners well. If it is not self-adhesive, we can use special glue resistant to high temperatures.

If you decide to use the one that in our opinion is the best insulation (Reflectix or Kaiflex elastomeric foam) buy the 2cm one, to have a good amount of insulation. The 1 cm one is cheaper but the result will not be the same. Choose if you want only one material but that it is thick. It is best to avoid condensation inside the camper.

Make sure you have good duct tape on hand to seal each line. Air is like water, it is capable of sneaking into any hole, no matter how small.

How do I insulate the floor of my touring caravan? 

In our touring caravan, we can install many types of flooring. Some of the available options are:

  • Cork
  • Extruded polystyrene
  • Glass wool.

Before placing these finishes that provide insulation, we can apply paint with insulation and/or place another material such as those we have mentioned for the walls or ceilings.

Wondering which type of insulation to choose? Let’s see the pros and cons of each: 

  • Insulation with glass wool: Glass wool is a very good thermal insulator that is inexpensive. As the panels are flexible, the glass wool fits perfectly to the walls of the van. So it’s perfect for walls and ceilings. 

On the other hand, in addition to health problems (itching, irritation, etc.), glass wool panels tend to settle down due to vibrations when driving. In addition, glass wool is very sensitive to moisture and tends to mould over time.

  • Cork insulation: Expanded cork is a good thermal and sound insulator. It can be stuck anywhere: floor, walls and roof. It is a 100% vegetable natural insulator that is not afraid of water. But the price is higher. Once the cork panels are glued, they can be completed with multi-layered insulation or sheep wool panels.
  • Insulation with extruded polystyrene:  Here again the plates are inexpensive. It is a good thermal insulator that does not require a big thickness and it is resistant to humidity. On the other hand, the panels are rigid, therefore very unsuitable for insulating the walls of a van or van, but they are suitable for insulating the ground. 

Insulation tip: Interior panelling of the touring caravan

To give the final finish to the ceiling, walls and floor, we are going to cover the insulation with wood panels. On the roof, the panel should be lighter so that it does not compromise the stability of the caravan. The centre of gravity of the caravan must be below in order to have greater vehicle stability (greater steering control, especially when cornering).

The most commonly used planks for panelling caravans are marine wood and poplar plywood. Balsa wood is also used which is very light. If our wood is not prepared against humidity, we can prepare it ourselves with vinyl, plastic paint, any plastic sheathing, cabinetmaker’s wax and varnish. We can also panel directly with plexiglass, it all depends on the finish we want and the budget we want to dedicate to it.

The most important thing is that the panelling material is: light, easy to clean, non-porous, waterproof and in a style that we like as it will be our walls.

Why you should insulate your touring caravan ASAP

Insulating your touring caravan is one of the most important things so that you can fully enjoy your home on wheels.

With good insulation we achieve:

  • We avoid being cold: We will take better advantage of all the heat that our heating system emits so that in addition to saving energy and money, the temperature inside will be much more comfortable.
  • We avoid going through heat: Good insulation will also protect us from excess heat from the outside. It is true that on very hot days it will not prevent the interior temperature from rising, but it will prevent it from doing so to the point that the heat inside is suffocating.
  • We will avoid the dreaded condensation: the difference in temperature between the interior and the exterior causes drops to be generated by condensation. Condensation can be a serious long-term problem for our caravan, as humidity can produce rust. 

Other benefits of having a touring caravan insulated are:

  • Well-distributed heat in winter;
  • Warmth in full sun in summer;
  • Reduced gas consumption in winter for heating (both for the wallet and for the environment);
  • Reduced indoor condensation and more breathable air;

Conclusions

Touring caravans can be uncomfortable in cold weather; however, if well insulated, a travel trailer can maintain a comfortable interior temperature. The most important areas to insulate are windows, vents, and wire entry points. This is because the outside air can easily seep through holes in these places. To prevent heat loss, these holes must be sealed. Investing in insulation will lower your energy bills in the long run.

Please feel free to get in contact if you have any questions or comments on the content. 

FAQ on How do you insulate a touring caravan?

How to thermally insulate a caravan?

To thermally insulate a caravan you can use an asphalt blanket, aluminium adhesive felt, EVA thermal insulation or aluminized etalon. Coating the interior of the vehicle with these characteristics is what creates the insulating layer, helping to prevent heat from the exterior from reaching the interior of the vehicle.

How is the insulating membrane placed?

The role of insulation should be extended towards the highest part of the ceiling. Once the roll reaches the highest level of the ceiling, it must be attached to the structure. Once the insulation is fixed on the top of the roof, it should be aligned until it is parallel with the braces. 

How much does it cost to insulate a trailer?

The costs to insulate a trailer will greatly depend on the area you must insulate. On average, you need to put aside between $5000 to $7000.

Can you insulate a pop-up camper?

Yes, you can indeed insulate a pop-up camper. Many pop-up owners are reluctant to this idea as it seems impossible to thoroughly insulate the canvas. Still, insulating your pop-up camper is important and beneficial for both you and your RV. 

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