Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Insulating an Enclosed Trailer

  1. #1

    Default Insulating an Enclosed Trailer

    This isn't strictly a cabin question unless you consider it a cabin on wheels but I am getting a 8.5' x 20' enclosed trailer brought up here. Besides hauling the ATVs, I am considering outfitting it as a hunting lodge with lights, heat and fold down bunks. It seems like adding insulation would be a good idea and if I can easily remove the interior panels and add blueboard, I am all for it but wonder about a vapor barrier. I could use a barrier between the aluminum studs for each section but am I wasting the effort if there is no barrier under the studs? I really don't like the idea of removing the aluminum sheeting to install it properly.

    I also need to figure out if I want to install a direct vent propane heater and add tanks and run the lights off a battery with perhaps a small generator to recharge it or use electric heaters and haul my 5 KW generator around for power. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Wrangell
    Posts
    7,600

    Default

    My propane heater runs on 12 volt and battery with solar panel keep it and light going for my needs.You do need to think about moisture with propane.A small boat diesel fule drip heater is what I use most.If you live in a comercial fishing area your can often find the little Dickenson marine stoves/heaters cheap.Got my $1,200 unit for 25 bucks at a yard sale
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  3. #3
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palmer, AK.
    Posts
    4,121

    Default

    Summer I'd say no problem if you have a vented propane system to the outdoors.
    Winter though, just your condensation from breathing overnight will cause ice to form on the doors essentially "locking" you in until you beat on the door to break the ice seal. Doesn't sound too bad till you need to get out in a hurry and your frozen in.
    When you do finally get the door open it will tear off the seal around the door so its' no longer air tight.
    Don't ask how I know....
    BK

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Sandpoint, ID
    Posts
    1,971

    Default

    I'm thinking of doing exactly the same thing with a 16' x 8.5' and have the same questions about insulation. I have 3/4" floor and sides so I figure that gives me a little insulation factor but the ceiling is just bare aluminum and steel frame so I'm thinking of using some type of "bubble wrap" style insulation and covering it with vinyl or something that can protect it. I do NOT want it to be a condensation collector and will provide provide top and side vents/windows. I want to use propane to cook with and a thru the wall vented heater. Any thoughts on insulation?
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

  5. #5
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
    Posts
    9,749

    Default

    If you have it spray foamed with urethane, the new stuff that's out now has the vapor barrier in it already so it's a finished product.....no added barrier needed.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Sandpoint, ID
    Posts
    1,971

    Default

    That's a good idea! I'll look into it. Thanks!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,892

    Default Insulating an Enclosed Trailer

    Pull all you walls down and put blue board in. It's only way.
    Do I give my friends advice? Jesus, no. They wouldn't take advice from me. Nobody should take advice from me. I haven't got a clue about anything..

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Sandpoint, ID
    Posts
    1,971

    Default

    I thought about that and if I do it it certainly needs to be done before anything else. I used closed cell foam in my boat and it works great and I also get flotation from it...hopefully I won't need floatation in the trailer. I used two sided tape to mate it with the walls then put naugahide on top...worked well and cuts the noise significantly.

    I'm also thinking of putting closed cell down on the floor then screwing 3/8" plywood on top to keep the chill off the feet. Spray on foam seems like an easy way to do the ceiling and if I do that it seems like I should just pull the plywood off the walls and do that all at the same time. The frame is 1" square steel tubing 16" on center so I'd get 1"+ of foam regardless of the type which should be enough to make it worthwhile plus the 3/4" plywood on the sides. Wiring would go under/in the foam.

    Any other ideas are welcome or tell me where I'm going wrong.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

  9. #9
    Member Vince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fairbanks most the time, Ancorage some of the time,& on the road Kicking Anti's all the time
    Posts
    8,989

    Default Re: Insulating an Enclosed Trailer

    Cealings need to flex while traveling. You can dirm up tje sides..but the roof must be able to roll with the road... Beleive it or not.. That metal ripples the emtire time.

    Sent from my SCH-R760 using Tapatalk 2
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  10. #10
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palmer, AK.
    Posts
    4,121

    Default

    Vince,
    I'm having a tough time picking up what your laying down on this one.....
    I have an enclosed trailer that I brought up from the lower 48 almost 10 years ago (Alcan trip). I have dragged it all over this state and so has Steve (Potbuilder) for the Sportsmans shows, so it's got alot of miles on Alaska roads.
    In looking at the roof panels, they show no sign of moving or scuffing where the roof tin and fiberglass mate to the interior struts.
    Please explain further if you could......
    BK

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,461

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by akjam View Post
    This isn't strictly a cabin question unless you consider it a cabin on wheels but I am getting a 8.5' x 20' enclosed trailer brought up here. Besides hauling the ATVs, I am considering outfitting it as a hunting lodge with lights, heat and fold down bunks. It seems like adding insulation would be a good idea and if I can easily remove the interior panels and add blueboard, I am all for it but wonder about a vapor barrier. I could use a barrier between the aluminum studs for each section but am I wasting the effort if there is no barrier under the studs? I really don't like the idea of removing the aluminum sheeting to install it properly.

    I also need to figure out if I want to install a direct vent propane heater and add tanks and run the lights off a battery with perhaps a small generator to recharge it or use electric heaters and haul my 5 KW generator around for power. Any thoughts?
    Whatever else you do, remember that the vapor barrier MUST go on the warm side of the insulation . . .

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Sandpoint, ID
    Posts
    1,971

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    Cealings need to flex while traveling. You can dirm up tje sides..but the roof must be able to roll with the road... Beleive it or not.. That metal ripples the emtire time.

    Sent from my SCH-R760 using Tapatalk 2
    I'm confused too...mine has an aluminum roof that is stuck to the steel frame with 2 sided tape and best I can tell it can't move very much unless it comes loose from the tape. My livestock trailer is all steel and has self sealing screws and tack welds on the roof and I'm pretty sure it does NOT flex or ripple while on the road since the roof metal is still very smooth after 20K miles or so.

    Regarding the vapor barrier, if we use foam, it will be the vapor barrier....right?
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

  13. #13

    Default

    In such a tight package what are you expecting to get, an R-5 to 10 wall, ceiling and floor? If you UNDER insulate now, expect higher cost for heating...fuel/electricity plus always having to transport fuel. OVER insulate now at an increased cost but minimal heating costs and less to transport.

    I'd drill a top and bottom hole in the spaces and shoot in the expanded polystyrene foam for complete insulation. Rig an insulated rigid insulation border to serve as skirting around the trailer (blueboard with a painted light plywood backer). Lastly, I would consider fashioning waterproof insulated blanket for the roof. Using the 12" batt fiberglas in 4' x 8' bags. Tie them continuolusly accross the roof and tie to the underside, protect it all with good waterproof tarp.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    anchorage
    Posts
    143

    Default

    my friend did his trailer with the foam the has a foil back and then foil taped ALL THE SEAMS as a vapor barrier. worked very well.

  15. #15
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
    Posts
    9,749

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lowrider View Post
    Regarding the vapor barrier, if we use foam, it will be the vapor barrier....right?
    Yes, if you're talking the newer urethane spray foam, it has no need for any added vapor barrier. If I recall it's a blue or greenish color. The installer will be able to tell you about it.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    today-Idaho
    Posts
    394

    Default

    Spray on polyurethene foam is closed cell and self skinning. It is closed cell, mostly. It will easily stop moisture from moving either direction because the surface has a smooth closed finish. a thin layer will flex easily without delaminating. figure 5 to 7 r per inch. I would use an adhesive primer that can by rolled on. similar to elmers. small self contained kits can be found online for $$$.

  17. #17
    Member Vince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fairbanks most the time, Ancorage some of the time,& on the road Kicking Anti's all the time
    Posts
    8,989

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    Vince,
    I'm having a tough time picking up what your laying down on this one.....
    I have an enclosed trailer that I brought up from the lower 48 almost 10 years ago (Alcan trip). I have dragged it all over this state and so has Steve (Potbuilder) for the Sportsmans shows, so it's got alot of miles on Alaska roads.
    In looking at the roof panels, they show no sign of moving or scuffing where the roof tin and fiberglass mate to the interior struts.
    Please explain further if you could......
    BK
    sorry that was off the phone and apperntly did not come out well... THe enclosed trailers roof skins are attached to the cross beams via screw, glue, whatever means that manufacture used... the roofing still flexes, as does a large portion of the trailer... Trailers have to give in a side to side motion,, not some much end to end.. to accomodate un-even ground, pot holes, frost heaves.. etc

    consider your pickup flexes a ton between the cab and the bed also... so does the trailer, however the give is in the TOP panels, ( as why they are often thiner, and sealed with a flexable tape or glue) not so much the sides.. if you make one TOOO ridged, you may well face issues down the line... When i looked into insulateing my 20 x9 Royale i was told the same thing then to no stiffen up the roof to much more...


    panels of foam, or the foil faced bubble wrap is okay in the roof... but would steer away from spray foams in the ceiling.


    your panels will not show signs of scuffing nor will the panels on a large 5th wheel though if you couls watch one, they do ripple to some extent while traveling,,, next time you backing into a tight rougher spot, have someone watch.. then consider 60MPH on Ak rough roads...


    does that make more sence?

    off to have coffee.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  18. #18
    Member Vince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fairbanks most the time, Ancorage some of the time,& on the road Kicking Anti's all the time
    Posts
    8,989

    Default

    here is a discussion about excessive flex in a trailer...

    http://www.thedieselstop.com/forums/...r-flex-194248/
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •