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Old 18-10-2018, 08:54   #1
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What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

Well my boats headliner is due to be replaced.

I will be replacing with stripped cedar planks that are going to be running parallel to the teak strips on the sides, however they will be painted white.

While my headliner is down, I am rewiring and thinking about doing some insulation.

I've got a keel stepped mast. Wrapped with some 1/8" foam packing insulation(can remember name right now) then with the reflective bubble wrap, then stitched a cover over all of it. Definitely helps reduce the heat sink effect.

I am a live aboard in PNW, will be the first winter aboard. I'm on a 42ft boat with a forced air diesel heater and 3 dorads. I have a 30pint dehumidifier running as well

What have you done and how has it been? I want to look at insulation from a perspective of not tech specs, but personal experiences.

I've had a few ideas, but I want to hear about peoples real life experiences.
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Old 18-10-2018, 09:49   #2
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

My boat hull was insulated below the gunwale with ensolite. Certainly keeps the boat warmer in winter.

Last year when my headliner was down during a deck refit I insulated with Reflectix. Was able to fit two layers between the laminate and the headliner panels, which are fastened to 3/4” deep battens. It’s made a significant difference keeping heat in during cold weather and keeping it out in summer.

I could have wrestled a better insulator in there, like using 3/4” thick foam panels for home construction but fitting and shaping it would have been a chore. The insulation task was an incidental project addition and I needed to get it done. The Reflectix was easy.

Whatever you use make sure you seal it up well using tape to ensure a good barrier and no air leaks.
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Old 18-10-2018, 11:44   #3
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

I did the Reflektix too on my last boat and it made a huge difference
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Old 18-10-2018, 14:24   #4
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

Thanks all!

@Suijin - how did you go about fastening your battens? Mine are getting replaced and they are screwed in place. I am thinking I may make a thickened epoxy and epoxyung them in place while using some tape to hold them in place while it cures.

As for for holding the insulation, how are you guys mounting it flush against the cabin top? I was thinking of using some tape around the edges of each piece, while the next segment will over lap the taped area however I wonder about sags in the center and moisture building?
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Old 18-10-2018, 14:36   #5
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What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

My battens we’re already there. The headliner is sections of “vertical Formica” screwed at the edges to a grid of 3/4”x 3” battens which are screwed into the laminate.

I would not epoxy battens in place. Just screw them, in case you ever want to remove them.

I used packing tape to hold the insulation in place and as a vapor barrier, largely because of it’s thinness and working properties.Click image for larger version

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Old 19-10-2018, 10:46   #6
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

I used the foil bubble wrap that was available at Lowes.. Easy to work with ..you cut it with scissors or razor knife. After rewiring for new overhead lights and screwing the cross battens into the ceiling it was easy to glue the foil with contact cement in between the cross battens. The battens used were the 1 inch that were found in the outdoor lattice section of Lowes and were also flexible enough to fit the contour of the ceiling. My wood of choice was cypress v groove tongue and groove that I painted white and used 2 inch varnished teak as my battens to trim out the ceiling. The tongue and groove was installed lengthwise from forward to rear of ceilings on the battens with 24 inch centers....lots of labor but a nice finished look.

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Old 19-10-2018, 12:14   #7
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

Yea 13mm Armacell closed-cell-foam insulation (non-flammable, used around air ducts in buildings) made a huge difference to amount of under-deck condensation, even in temperate NZ. Important to insulate around all those through-deck bolts holding winches and genoa tracks in place too. CSF is easy to glue to underside of deck/cabin but I sure wouldn't want any liners fixed permanently; I'd always screw them in place for easy access to wiring, through-deck fittings etc.
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Old 19-10-2018, 12:43   #8
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

Chowdan,

As a cruising liveaboard a little bit further north of you, I can say you have a great headstart having covered the 3 most important aspects of wintering in cooler climes: adequate heat, ventilation, and dehumidification/ moisture reduction/ prevention.

Insulation choice really depends upon the coolest climate you plan to use your boat in. If WA state is it, you can design around those parameters. [If you aren't already familiar with vapor pressure and psychrometric charts, it will behoove you to learn more. Here is a Practical Sailor primer on this topic.]

Practical Sailor also has a few good insulation articles answering your questions. Here is their latest.

One of the most important things to remember regarding insulation [I also lived on land in interior Alaska for many years; think -40 and cooler on occasion] is all edges of any waterproof vapor barrier [which is also likely the insulation material you choose to use on a boat] needs to be sealed on the temperature controlled side so moisture cannot seep past it to the cool surface it is insulating against. Otherwise you get wetness behind your iinsulation, with all the undesirables it supports. [Approach it like you expect the vapor barrior/waterproof insulation to hold water on the non-heated side...] You mentioned tape- that works if you use the right tape. [more research... Hint: Despite its namesake, duct tape won't work well nor last long...]

Having boated/ lived aboard in cool climates for decades, I have written [and maintain] a few posts regarding those experiences and what has worked for me over the years (if you are interested...)

Best wishes staying warm and dry this winter.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 20-10-2018, 08:28   #9
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

Sounds like a good plan. One suggestion, run the dehumidifier overflow to a sink. Many units have this ability and it is much easier and avoids messy spills l.
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Old 20-10-2018, 10:06   #10
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

Quote:
Originally Posted by chowdan View Post
Well my boats headliner is due to be replaced.

I will be replacing with stripped cedar planks that are going to be running parallel to the teak strips on the sides, however they will be painted white.

While my headliner is down, I am rewiring and thinking about doing some insulation.

I've got a keel stepped mast. Wrapped with some 1/8" foam packing insulation(can remember name right now) then with the reflective bubble wrap, then stitched a cover over all of it. Definitely helps reduce the heat sink effect.

I am a live aboard in PNW, will be the first winter aboard. I'm on a 42ft boat with a forced air diesel heater and 3 dorads. I have a 30pint dehumidifier running as well

What have you done and how has it been? I want to look at insulation from a perspective of not tech specs, but personal experiences.

I've had a few ideas, but I want to hear about peoples real life experiences.
You might consider acoustical cork. I insulated Delfin with it throughout. I used 1/4", then fiberglass Batts, but you can layer it on in any thickness with Liquid Glue. It's used in high rise construction between floors to deaden sounds, but cork also has a reasonable R value per inch. I have a roll left over, live north of Seattle, so if you PM me, you can have enough to do your job, gratis.
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Old 20-10-2018, 12:14   #11
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

As others have said, type 0 Armacell. Use as thick as will fit. I used Safe 80 waterbased contact adhesive. Got to be fireproof. On wood panels I used thinner selfadhesive Armacell under the vinyl.
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Old 20-10-2018, 12:50   #12
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post

One of the most important things to remember regarding insulation [I also lived on land in interior Alaska for many years; think -40 and cooler on occasion] is all edges of any waterproof vapor barrier [which is also likely the insulation material you choose to use on a boat] needs to be sealed on the temperature controlled side so moisture cannot seep past it to the cool surface it is insulating against. Otherwise you get wetness behind your iinsulation, with all the undesirables it supports. [Approach it like you expect the vapor barrior/waterproof insulation to hold water on the non-heated side...] You mentioned tape- that works if you use the right tape. [more research... Hint: Despite its namesake, duct tape won't work well nor last long...]
From a 25yr liveaboard with many winters in Ontario I suggest you pay particular attention to this paragraph. It is critical to success.
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Old 20-10-2018, 16:54   #13
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

I used Roxul rockwool. It's "R" rating is not as high as some other insulators, but it will not retain water and most importantly, it will not burn. If fact, I use rockwool as insulation when I braze bronze and copper. You can point a torch at it all day and it won't melt or ignite. That's something to consider if you're going to be sandwiching wires in your overhead.
Here are a couple of demos:





The rockwool demo is at the end.

You can buy it at Home Depot.
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Old 20-10-2018, 17:16   #14
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

Very interesting thread. What are the thoughts on adding insulation not to retain heat in winter, but to keep the interior cooler in the summer?

I'm refitting a Cal 31 in Hampton Roads, and I have the headliner off to find leaks. I was planning to epoxy on some painted battens, and then use heavy duty velcro with some strategic twist fasteners to hold my new headliner in place. I have the ability to add a thin insulator between the battens, and was curious about recommendations.

Thanks.

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Old 20-10-2018, 17:20   #15
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Re: What are your experiences with insulating above headliner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murray Miller View Post
I used the foil bubble wrap that was available at Lowes.. Easy to work with ..you cut it with scissors or razor knife. After rewiring for new overhead lights and screwing the cross battens into the ceiling it was easy to glue the foil with contact cement in between the cross battens. The battens used were the 1 inch that were found in the outdoor lattice section of Lowes and were also flexible enough to fit the contour of the ceiling. My wood of choice was cypress v groove tongue and groove that I painted white and used 2 inch varnished teak as my battens to trim out the ceiling. The tongue and groove was installed lengthwise from forward to rear of ceilings on the battens with 24 inch centers....lots of labor but a nice finished look.

S/V Blue Eyes
1968 C&C Crusader 40
I suggest taking a small sample of the foil bubble wrap (Reflectix) and holding a small flame to it, like you may get from an electrical fault or lightning side-strike. Do that outdoors where the flames can't ignite anything and the smoke won't harm you (burning aluminum is not a good thing to inhale). I tried that myself, and rejected it.
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