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Old 10-12-2018, 23:29   #1
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Insulation behind paneling?

I'm ripping out the paneling in my Columbia 10.7. I noticed that there was no insulation or other material between the wood and the fiberglass cabin top.



The sides were paneled but the horizontal surfaces had vinyl-covered wooden headliners. All these surfaces are above the water line.

Should I consider any type of material to put under the new paneling?

I'm thinking of replacing all the vinyl with wainscoting or other wood paneling, something like this:

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Old 10-12-2018, 23:32   #2
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Re: Insulation behind paneling?

The fiberglass inside the cabin has no gelcoat, paint or other coating.
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:50   #3
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Re: Insulation behind paneling?

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The fiberglass inside the cabin has no gelcoat, paint or other coating.
There is nothing wrong with that. Most older boats and many new ones are just bare FG inside when the panels are removed.

Isn't air itself an insulator? But yeah, most use some type of closed cell foam. Yoga and camping mats seem to be the cheapest way to get hold of this, especially if you're not somewhere like USA/UK/Northern Europe where specialist materials are easy to get hold of.

Consensus is that the foil backed bubble wrap is useless as it doesn't trap enough air. Foil backed closed cell foam used in car insulation is available, but not sold in anything over 10mm thick. Still I suppose you can double up.

Celotex seems to be the go to stuff. 50mm where possible, 25mm where space is tight. It's expensive stuff though
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:28   #4
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Re: Insulation behind paneling?

Air is an insulator if it is trapped. There were no spacers behind the paneling and therefore little air. It was screwed directly through the fiberglass and into the wood core.

So, I may just glass in some wood strips before installing the new paneling. In the gap I could use some closed-cell foam sheeting. It would also provide some sound insulation.
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:36   #5
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Re: Insulation behind paneling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigjim View Post
Air is an insulator if it is trapped. There were no spacers behind the paneling and therefore little air. It was screwed directly through the fiberglass and into the wood core.

So, I may just glass in some wood strips before installing the new paneling. In the gap I could use some closed-cell foam sheeting. It would also provide some sound insulation.
That's a sound plan. What ever closed cell foam you use it's essential to be fast in the fiberglass to prevent any condensation between them. Armacell has self adhering type of nonflammable cc foam. It's a bit pricey but the ease of installation compared gluing cheaper foam is a big benefit.

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Old 11-12-2018, 08:52   #6
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Re: Insulation behind paneling?

Getting a complete "envelope" is as important as R-value.

Two-part closed cell polyurethane foam at 1# density, can be poured or sprayed in place.

Can be tricky, needs warm temps and PPE, offgasses while curing, can deform if not enough escape path while expanding, IOW best to get a pro in, do it all at once.

Can also be used just to gapfill between / around less expensive sheeting, e.g. polyiso has better R-value per thickness.

Some say the Dow Great Stuff cans are not enough% closed-cell, personally I think fine as long as in a dry spot.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:08   #7
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Re: Insulation behind paneling?

I would second the Armacell and discourage the use of the spray type stuff except for small gap filling.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:08   #8
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Re: Insulation behind paneling?

The challenge with insulation is keeping it dry. If you spend time on the boat in cool weather the inside will become humid (even if you ventilate). Unless thickly cored, the fiberglass will go below the dew point, and it will drip. Then comes mold.


The solution is to use closed cell foam AND to bond it tightly to the hull so that air cannot move behind it. Armacel is the leader, with very flexible product that conform well. The problem with yoga mats etc. is that they are too stiff and will not conform to the hull. Even if they are forced, they will pop off later and grow mold behind them.


You can get self-adhesive (SA) or put it on with contact cement; each has advantages. Just make sure it is TIGHT to the surface.



There are several manufacturers. 1/2" is enough.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:35   #9
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Re: Insulation behind paneling?

I used the semi rigid, closed cell, packing foam in two boats. Both liveaboards in the PNW winters. It comes in 1/2" or 3/4" thick etc depending on the gap you have in there.. it's usually off white or blue.. that stuff. Feels like nylon. doesn't absorb water. I doubt it has the R value of some things but is cheap, easy to cut, not messy when cutting etc. You dont really even need to glue it to get most of the value. There's a similar closed cell black product too.
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Old 11-12-2018, 14:39   #10
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Re: Insulation behind paneling?

I would go to a fair bit of extra trouble and expense to get better R-value.

1/2" even of the best foam, is not going to have much of an impact reducing fuel usage outside of moderate temp / latitudes.
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