Thursday, August 26, 2021

Under foot: thoughts on floor insulation

I have extruded polystyrene insulation in the Rolling Steel Tent’s roof and walls, and cellulose insulation in the side and rear doors. But there’s no insulation on the floor — at least not what most people think of as insulation.

I didn’t do what many folks do when they convert a van into an abode. I didn’t fill the ridges with wood lath, lay down foam board and top it with plywood or OSB and then some type of finish flooring. 

My main reasons at the time were budget, exhaustion, and a determination to stay away from cold places. Floor insulation would also reduce vertical room, which was in short supply to begin with. The van had come with a jute backed rubber mat. That was enough.

I eventually realized the summer sun shining on the black rubber mat made it too hot for bare feet. So I added some throw rugs. That fixed the problem. In cool weather I’d wear shoes, or at least socks. Most shoes provide excellent insulation.

But I started rethinking floor insulation after reading a nomad forum post about it. I looked around me and realized about three quarters of the floor was heavily insulated — by the stuff in the van. Cupboards, bins, crates, boxes and duffles filled with stuff, all blocking thermal transfer. Even the trash can and poop bucket serve as floor insulation.

I know there are some van dwellers living in much colder climates. Maybe traditional floor insulation helps them. But I suspect many new van owners look at the bare steel interior of a cargo van and shiver. Ack! Must insulate! Maybe, maybe not.

1 comment:

  1. Rugs, then shoes, then socks. Rugs first because I'm not wearing shoes when I get up in the middle of the night. I can, however slip into my Crocs with ease if the are bedside but they can be cold, too. So rugs first. But only in the aisle.