Overcoming our ceiling challenge

Since we started this journey, we’ve been battling with the ceiling of our van. It’s very important for this part (and all of) the van to be insulated so that we can stay warm in cold weather, and at least semi-cool in hot weather. Insulating the floor was easy, since we could simply glue down the insulation and cover it with plywood to create our floor.

The walls of our van are curved, so we chose to use reflectix there – it isn’t quite as effective as far as regulating the temperature, but we saved a ton of space by doing it this way. This we were also able to attach with a heavy-duty glue, such as loc-tite.

The ceiling was another beast though, because, gravity. We used R-max insulation, purchased at Home Depot, which comes in large sheets and is relatively heavy, meaning we couldn’t glue it to the ceiling since it would fall down right away. We tried using 2X4s to hold it in place while the glue dried, but even still it fell as soon as we removed them.

Our only other option was to drill through the roof of the van to attach the insulation sheets, which we were very hesitant to do because the roof is fiberglass. We had heard horror stories of fiberglass cracking and needing to be replaced altogether, but it didn’t seem like we had much choice.

VERY carefully, Dan drilled holes from the outside of the van in each of the four corners, and two at about the halfway point on the longer sides of the roof.

Our plan was to use 4-inch bolts, and we quickly realized that wasn’t enough because the nuts would simply pull straight through the insulation. Our solution was to cut small squares of sheet metal to support the corners which we drilled through for the bolts to fit. Finally, we were insulated!

Our next issue was that the silvery side of the insulation made us feel like we were staring up at the inside of a spaceship/1950’s hospital.

We also tried a few different solutions here before we found the right one – if you haven’t noticed, most of this whole process for us has been trial and error.

First we tried a tapestry, but again, gravity. We tried nails, tacks, even duct tape (Dan’s favorite solution to everything, *eye roll*) and nothing worked. We threw around the ideas of putting up posters, and even painting over the insulation, but nothing seemed quite right. We probably said to each other every day for a month, “we really need to do something about this ceiling”, and were on the verge of painting when I came across a game changer: PEEL AND STICK WALLPAPER!! Such a simple idea, but it took us months to think of it.

I ordered it right away, and it couldn’t have been any easier to install; I mean, peel + stick pretty much sums it up. We’re psyched about our new ceiling – we have a tile-esque vibe which makes it feel like we’re on vacation instead of on our way to the moon, and this simple touch makes our van seem so much more like home.

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