Insulation Across the Nation with No Standing Ovation

The previous owner (Anarchist) of Petey decided not to insulate the bus sufficiently because he felt it was a giant, metal heat box. Perhaps the Anarchist had mutant skin that cold could not penetrate? Regardless of his decision, we chose to insulate the crap out of Petey.

The inside panels underneath the windows had a 1/2″ layer of rigid styrofoam insulation. When insulting, you’ll realize there are many cracks and crevasses along the sides and our recommendation is to use spray foam to fill in those spots. You’re already in there and you’re already spending money, you might as well bite the bullet and be thurough. Because there was already a thin layer of rigid styrofoam in place, we wanted to utilize it. At first, Alex was convinced we should use an entirely different setup for insulation (layer closest to the metal-reflective bubble wrap, middle layer -rigid styrofoam, last layer – fiberglass insulation and then the vapor barrier). A contractor friend convinced us that was not necessary and thankfully Alex listened to him. We are keeping the original insulation in, adding another layer so that it is flush with the frame and then a plastic vapor barrier. This is much more cost effective and still gets the job done.

For the roof, we followed the same practices. However, the roof had a surprise for us: condensation. The anarachist wasn’t able to “liberate” any vapor barriers from dumpsters or hardware stores so he went without. This choice, allowed for condensation to collect between the rigid styroafoam layer and the metal roof of the bus. We repeated the insulation process for the roof, this time glueing the styrofoam to the roof and wedging pieces of wood to ensure there were fewer gaps. The vapor barrier will be added and then we will add the ceiling.

I am 5’2 (and 3/4). Alex is 6’1. School buses are not meant for Alex’s kind. I have room for days and Alex can barely stand fully upright in the middle. Ever since we got the bus, he has been going on and on about how he wants to stand without bending his neck, even if it’s just in the middle. His high needs request is pretty demanding, but like so many things in marriage, we all have to sacrifice. For this particular situation, we’ve decided to take his vertical challenges into consideration and are now adjusting design plans. Originally, the ceiling had long, tongue and groove wood flooring up. It looked semi-tolerable, although it resembeled a circus tent. Instead we will reuse that flooring for the bed frame and a few other projects and replace it with… wait for it…here it comes…you’re dying from anticipation…hold on, I have to check Facebook…I’m back…sheet metal! So exciting, right? Exciting as the first day of summer and you realize your facial acne has gone rogue and is now invading your back.

When the roof is ready for prep and installation, you will hear all about it. I will also include a cost breakdown. Did I mention we are both teachers? Maybe after it’s all said and done, I’ll be writing one these and title it “Two Teachers Bought A Bus and Went Bankrupt.”


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