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Old 07-24-2016, 02:47 PM   #1
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Bat vs rigid foam insulation

We will be upgrading to a DP within the next year. Newmar looks like a nice coach from a family run outfit. We see that they use bat type insulation.

we have been to Forest City and Red Bay and toured the factories. Both of these coaches use rigid foam insulation.

I would be worried about the bat absorbing moisture from ambient or leaks.

Which is better? Should I be worried about soggy bat insulation?
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Old 07-24-2016, 02:57 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wsufans View Post
We will be upgrading to a DP within the next year. Newmar looks like a nice coach from a family run outfit. We see that they use bat type insulation.

we have been to Forest City and Red Bay and toured the factories. Both of these coaches use rigid foam insulation.

I would be worried about the bat absorbing moisture from ambient or leaks.

Which is better? Should I be worried about soggy bat insulation?
Any type Forest River product is bad news.
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Old 07-24-2016, 03:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Wsufans View Post
We will be upgrading to a DP within the next year. Newmar looks like a nice coach from a family run outfit. We see that they use bat type insulation.

we have been to Forest City and Red Bay and toured the factories. Both of these coaches use rigid foam insulation.

I would be worried about the bat absorbing moisture from ambient or leaks.

Which is better? Should I be worried about soggy bat insulation?
Hello,
Good question. Newmar makes an excellent DP and one day I hope to own a London Aire. If or when that happens I hope they change to foam (rigid or spray) insulation.

Spray is my choice as it eliminates human error in that it will seal everything even the smallest of air leaks which is a problem when you travel and the temp hits the high 90's to 100.

With that said, Newmar is still my first choice and I would not be concerened abouth the batt. I'm a General Contractor so I'm opinionated when it comes to construction techniques.
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Old 07-24-2016, 03:27 PM   #4
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Personal experience with batten insulation...had it in 2 conversion vans...

It WILL hold moisture...if moisture enters the insulation chamber, moisture will not easily dry out and can grow mold.
It WILL settle...leaving an uninsulated gap at the top of any insulation chamber.

Don't know for sure what builders use batten insulation, but would be a last choice for us.
Second best choice would be closed foam. It is cut or pieced into the wall and is most often seen in vacuum bonded RV body structures.
Best would be spray-in insulation, to get every nook and cranny and bond to the chamber, but it is the most expensive for builders (requires the spray system and then shaving the raw foam flat).

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:07 PM   #5
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On cool mornings in florida you can see the condensation line about 18" down from the roof on coaches with batt insulation that has settled while driving. Closed cell foam stays out and does not absorb water.
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:15 PM   #6
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Now I do not presently own a Newmar.
What I find interesting is folks who do comment about how much quieter they are than say a Tiffin, and how much cooler they stay in the summer heat.
Must be something done right.
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:27 PM   #7
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Took the factory tour in Forest City. Wall studs built with jigs and rigid foam cut with laser. Fit was tight for all pieces.

Replaced the roof on our old 5er. Found lots of gaps in the bat insulation. It looked to me like they simply tried to stretch the bat they had in hand to fit the space. Added a lot of insulation to fill the corners and around the vents.

Bat would be the last choice of insulation if I had a choice.
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Old 07-25-2016, 10:00 PM   #8
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Old 07-25-2016, 10:07 PM   #9
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I've been running a Home Inspection company for 15+ years and know my way around construction and insulation. Yes, I know houses but the basic principles that form my opinion are the same. Spray foam insulation is a nightmare when it comes to repairs and trapping moisture.

As intended, if fills every crack and opening which is great for airflow but bad for water being trapped. Also, if/when there is a leak, water is trapped and often times there is no indication of a problem until substantial damage has been done. Soggy bats of insulation dripping can actually be a good thing.

Yes, the spray foam does a better job accomplishing the intended goal. But, you can call me old fashioned and I'll take a little bit of air infiltration for the trade-off of something I can work with.
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Old 07-25-2016, 10:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mtofell View Post
I've been running a Home Inspection company for 15+ years and know my way around construction and insulation. Yes, I know houses but the basic principles that form my opinion are the same. Spray foam insulation is a nightmare when it comes to repairs and trapping moisture.

As intended, if fills every crack and opening which is great for airflow but bad for water being trapped. Also, if/when there is a leak, water is trapped and often times there is no indication of a problem until substantial damage has been done. Soggy bats of insulation dripping can actually be a good thing.

Yes, the spray foam does a better job accomplishing the intended goal. But, you can call me old fashioned and I'll take a little bit of air infiltration for the trade-off of something I can work with.
x2

I'm inclined to agree. I have seen spray foam on roofs that trap water. Its a mess!
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Old 07-26-2016, 12:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtofell View Post
I've been running a Home Inspection company for 15+ years and know my way around construction and insulation. Yes, I know houses but the basic principles that form my opinion are the same. Spray foam insulation is a nightmare when it comes to repairs and trapping moisture.

As intended, if fills every crack and opening which is great for airflow but bad for water being trapped. Also, if/when there is a leak, water is trapped and often times there is no indication of a problem until substantial damage has been done. Soggy bats of insulation dripping can actually be a good thing.

Yes, the spray foam does a better job accomplishing the intended goal. But, you can call me old fashioned and I'll take a little bit of air infiltration for the trade-off of something I can work with.
Interesting view points...
Prevost uses spray-in insulation on thier original body shells. Sprayed from the interior, it bonds to the exterior walls, ceiling, and frame work...this reduces the chance of water intrusion.

Solid foam (spray or molded) will not hold water. Batten by its structure has a large volume the can hold water, like a sponge.

RV construction is shown in several factory tour videos with batten being stuffed into frame chambers from the exterior...then fiberglass or metal sheeting is bonded to the frame with adhesives. This neither secures the batten, nor helps reduce the chance of water intrusion.
And, if an attempt was made to access the insulation chamber for "something I can work with", these factory videos claim the skin would be destroyed in the removal. I guess that's OK if you go back to the factory for a new RV skin (have read here about that being done ) but, it's hardly a DIY task.

Of course the factories that touted batten insulation are rather small scale boutique operations in comparison to the big brands that can invest in the higher build overhead required to bond full-length laminate body shells up to 45' in length.

For these reasons, batten is not in our RV. The entire body shell is a multi-layer laminate system on all welded frame, that was set a mix of heat, vacuum and pressure...and all conduits and duct ends are sealed with spray-in foam. When we have completed some DIY projects where cables enter the body shell, we have religiously used spray-foam to replicate the factory seal.

Batten in building construction is great...but due to sag and becoming soggy if exposed to moisture, obviously not the best in a mobile application.

Safe travels
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Old 07-26-2016, 04:10 AM   #12
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On cool mornings in florida you can see the condensation line about 18" down from the roof on coaches with batt insulation that has settled while driving. Closed cell foam stays out and does not absorb water.
Mrfix
My coach if 14yrs old, has bat insulation, and I don't have this issue. The only condensation appears on the frame rails themselves. Granted, how the insulation is installed may make a difference. I'd imagine gluing it to the interior wall, rather than relying on gravity to hold it, would help a bit. I think it shows them gluing it to the interior wall in one of the Newmar videos. Granted I'm not about to crack open my own walls to verify this, but I've camped in 118* temps here in the desert (involuntarily) and she held up well.
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Old 07-26-2016, 04:24 AM   #13
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As an aside, if you have a laminated wall and water is getting in, you're going to have bigger issues than water in your insulation. Just sayin. . . .
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Old 07-26-2016, 06:20 AM   #14
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My coach if 14yrs old, has bat insulation, and I don't have this issue. The only condensation appears on the frame rails themselves. Granted, how the insulation is installed may make a difference. I'd imagine gluing it to the interior wall, rather than relying on gravity to hold it, would help a bit. I think it shows them gluing it to the interior wall in one of the Newmar videos. Granted I'm not about to crack open my own walls to verify this, but I've camped in 118* temps here in the desert (involuntarily) and she held up well.
The glue and bonding agents used 14 years ago are far more effective than those used today, they actually did what they were supposed to do, today with environmental restrictions things are different. It's not every coach with batt insulation that I see with the settling issue but many, the batt insulation is also a prefered nesting area for pest if they have an access point.
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