Rethinking the Van Design Part 21 – Insulating the Roof

Adding slats and glass fibre insulation to the campervan roof


You have to treat your mobile home as you would a normal, static home. It needs to stay warm in the cooler months, cool in the summer months and most of all, dry in all seasons.

One of the first jobs I carried out was to insulate the walls of the campervan in order to keep us cool in the Spanish summer but I never had chance to line or insulate the ceiling because time was limited.

Insulating the ceiling had two major benefits. Firstly it would of course trap heat inside or keep it cool in the summer but secondly it also added a layer of soundproofing which I particularly enjoyed on my journey back through France – especially on the third morning in the spectacular Gevaudan region with its mountains, snowy tundra and dynamic topography through which I glided in wonder and serenity, soaking up the vistas with eyes that felt they were seeing for the first time.

I have to go back four days to a miserable Sunday afternoon in Wolverhampton where, with the help of my father, I applied a generous layer of loft insulation to the ceiling of the van which was held in place with spray glue.

Glass fibre insulation is vile stuff to work with so dust masks, goggles and gloves were required to save the ignominy of itching retinas and digits.

After the insulation had been glued in place we set about the task of adding rafters which ran the length of the vehicle’s interior. These would give us somewhere to fix the hardboard panels; the penultimate stage of the lining job.


Lining the van roof

Half of the roof lined with glass fibre insulation. You can also see te panels at the side and a couple of rafters in place.



I’d spent the previous day boxing in the side panels where they meet the roof using some 18mm flooring beams which slot together beautifully. These boxes formed a foundation for the final panels to sit on and the final job was to add some architrave which held everything in place and gave a subtle and tidy finish to the job.

I could feel a huge difference in the temperature once the ceiling was fully lined, rising by several degrees to something bearable in comparison to the nigh on freezing occurring beyond the freshly wadded walls.

There was another job which needs some additional explaining, that being the matter of fitting the roof light flush with the new ceiling. I’ll cover that in part 22.

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