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Emz798

Easy insulation suggestions for narrowboat bedroom

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Hello, it seems the back of our boat (where the bedroom is) has no insulation on the lower portion of the walls (so its just the bare hull). These walls make the room cold but also get a lot of condensation even though we air out as much as possible. For the moment I just have some foil lined bubble wrap to keep the space warm over winter but this means the condensation now happens on the foil bubble wrap and there is more of it. We want to cover these walls in wood panelling like the rest of the boat eventually but need to insulate and prevent condensation properly first.

Any advice on how we can best do this? And any suggestions of good material we can use from say B&Q or Screwfix? Or perhaps best to order something online? 

I don't want anything too thick or messy as it is a small space. I saw Jablite panels at B&Q but were not sure how good these were or if sufficient. I was also unsure whether anything else would be needed between the insulation and the panels. I want to make sure there won't be any condensation for the wood panels to absorb. 

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Avoid Jablite panels. They are highly flammable (expanded polystyrene) and will give off toxic smoke in a fire.

If you have a serious condensation problem, is there enough ventilation?

Edited by Machpoint005
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Multi-layer insulation 40mm is useful for small space and non-flat surfaces and can be fixed with a simple spray adhesive - various qualities available so here is an idea from Screwfix - still quite expensive though (others go up to around £150.00 roll!)

https://www.screwfix.com/p/ybs-superquilt-multilayer-insulation-1-5-x-5m/80967

Celotex and similar rigid insulation are pretty much self extinguishing and will not react with PVC coated cables - something Polystyrene can do...

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2 minutes ago, Ratkatcher said:

pretty much self extinguishing

That's not non-flammable, though, is it? The composition of the polymers is what matters.

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1 minute ago, Machpoint005 said:

That's not non-flammable, though, is it? The composition of the polymers is what matters.

I do not argue in the least - an extract from the description of Celetex's premium product:

RS5000, according to Celotex's website, has a Class 0 rating under UK building regulations, meaning it has the highest rating for preventing the spread of flames and prevents the spread of heat.

However, its "health and safety datasheet" notes: "The products will burn if exposed to a fire of sufficient heat and intensity.

 

Unless a material is completely inert I should think that the caveat above may apply.

The multi-layer is class E  as described, make from that what you will :detective:

Euro class Example 
A1, A2  Stone wool, gypsum board
B Painted gypsum board
C Gypsum board with paper-based wallpaper
D Wood
E Fire-retardant EPS
F Non-tested materials, EPS
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I always misunderstood the function of the vapour barrier, thinking H2O  was somehow coming from the outside, but of course, its coming from hot moist air inside the vessel. so the vapour barrier must be a perfect seal, and the insulation  reasonably tight behind it,

So you could have 25mm Celotex sealed with aluminium type tape or polyfilm. but as this is obviously a problem, I think you should not economise, but go for as much Celotex as practical, and swerve a poly sheet type material as poly is not 100% mosture barrier. Some folks use a sheet of bubblewrap double sided with foil, a few other similar materials are used in loft insulation, but may not be as robust. Try to seal all edges.

You can brush the wood over wih wood preservative , something not too nasty.

i would not use polystyrene, it is cheap and nasty.

Edited by LadyG

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1 hour ago, Ratkatcher said:

Celotex and similar rigid insulation are pretty much self extinguishing 

And were used to clad Grenfell Tower.

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46 minutes ago, David Mack said:

And were used to clad Grenfell Tower.

Blame for that catastrophe is yet to surface ...

 

I imagine though if the interior of a narrowboat got hot enough to ignite the stuff the occupants would have either abandoned ship or already have died!

Edited by Ratkatcher
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50 minutes ago, David Mack said:

And were used to clad Grenfell Tower.

Celotex is the trade name of the manufacturer. They make all sorts of panels, including the interior insulation panels that we are talking about for insulating the inside of a boat. Need to describe the exact type when comparing insulations. They also make exterior panels of various types from the cheapo ones for poor peoples homes through to the more expensive fire proof ones that will no doubt be used on the outside of the Buckingham Palace and Palace of Westminster upgrades.

Jen

11 minutes ago, Ratkatcher said:

Blame for that catastrophe is yet to surface ...

 

I imagine though if the interior of a narrowboat got hot enough to ignite the stuff the occupants would have either abandoned ship or already have died!

Indeed. As long as it ignites in a similar way, or slower than wood, then that is good enough.

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3 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Indeed. As long as it ignites in a similar way, or slower than wood, then that is good enough.

In one of the other topics based around insulation someone posted a link to a youtube video of an American man covering the flame safety of insulating materials - he had a lot of fun trying to set fire to closed cell materials...

Even the humble (and inefficient) rockwool scored quite well in the tests.

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1 hour ago, Ratkatcher said:

In one of the other topics based around insulation someone posted a link to a youtube video of an American man covering the flame safety of insulating materials - he had a lot of fun trying to set fire to closed cell materials...

Even the humble (and inefficient) rockwool scored quite well in the tests.

 

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1 hour ago, Ratkatcher said:

Even the humble (and inefficient) rockwool scored quite well in the tests.

Hard to burn rock!

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whatever you have behind the plywood panelling, I suggest you stick carpet tiles on the face using double sided tape.

- no varnish needed

- eliminates condensation

- looks and feels cosy

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5 hours ago, Ratkatcher said:

Even the humble (and inefficient) rockwool scored quite well in the tests.

Rock fibre isn't inefficient, you just need a greater thickness than plastic foams to achieve a given U value.

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12 hours ago, Machpoint005 said:

Rock fibre isn't inefficient, you just need a greater thickness than plastic foams to achieve a given U value.

The confusion on the efficacy of insulation panels is made worse by the use of the word 'plastic'. In a nutshell, panels made using Thermoplastic - ie polymer that melts viz Polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene etc will not be good in  fire situation. The polymer melts and runs - and then catches fire and burns very well - as it is basically high molecular wt diesel fuel. Panels made with Thermosets, ie a polymer that is crosslinked and therefore does not melt viz polyurethane, phenolic etc are much better for although PU foam will burn, it is not as combustible as liquid thermoplastic. 

I certainly would not use polyetheylene (as used in the cladding panels on Grenfell) or polystyrene by choice if a fire is possible.

A big part of the problem is people are using the british standard BS476 part 7 test to determine fire performance. This test basically fires a blow torch at the side of the panel and measures surface spread of flame. It is a poor test if you have a polyethylene foam clad between two sheets of aluminium as the blow torch is on the aluminium which will not burn. A panel of this type can appear good for resistance to fires whereas they are in fact very poor. The heat causes the PE foam to melt, the polymer runs out and you then have plenty of fuel for the fire.

If you are going for a polymer panel - as most will - make sure it is PU (or polyisocyanate) or phenolic, or other crosslinked polymer.

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19 hours ago, David Mack said:

And were used to clad Grenfell Tower.

Actually it looked to me as though the yellow foam stuff had mostly survived, yellow in places, black and charred in others so maybe it was the aluminium and adhesive that burnt? hopefully the enquiry will have answers.  I had a boat that was insulated with glass wool and in the bedroom the walls were wet with condensation so I stuck carpet tiles on the plywood, result? condensation on the carpet. It is difficult to cure, I have never tried Thinsulate, perhaps it would work.

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Let's not confuse "surface spread of flame" with "flammability". They are two different things. Dr Bob is (mainly) right but thermoplastics and thermosets are both (ie all) polymers -- that is, plastic.

Edited by Machpoint005
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1 hour ago, Bee said:

Actually it looked to me as though the yellow foam stuff had mostly survived, yellow in places, black and charred in others so maybe it was the aluminium and adhesive that burnt? hopefully the enquiry will have answers. 

The yellow foam stuff was the insulation under the cladding panels. It was the polyethylene foam in the outer cladding panels that produced the fuel for the fire.

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I think the yellow foam stuff was polyethylene installed on top of Polyisocyanurate [sic], which is a thermoset plastic.

It didn't help the Grenfell residents.

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3 minutes ago, Machpoint005 said:

They are two different things. Dr Bob is (mainly) right but thermoplastics and thermosets are both (ir all) plastic.

That's not strictly true.  A plastic is something that can be moulded ie it has a glass transition temperature. A thermoset cannot be moulded once it is cured - so take a 2 part system say PU or epoxy, both parts liquid - and not plastic - cure them to a 3d matrix, cross linked and they are then thermosets - which is not plastic. The common word you should be using is 'polymers'. You are right that the Grenfell system was a PU foam insulation (so a crosslinked thermoset) that will burn a bit (they call it a poly isocyanate - but the generic term is Polyurethane) clad on the outside by sandwich panels of PE foam and aluminium - the PE part is very flammable.

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Would have thought celotex or polystyrene is OK, 1" or 2" thick, eg:

http://www.wickes.co.uk/Celotex-25mm-High-Performance-Insulation-Board-1200-x-2400mm/p/190545

If using polystyrene I'd make sure it's clad with thin ply asap, that'll help reduce the initial flammability.

ISTR polystyrene is a third less effective than celotex for a given thickness, so not the bargain it first seems.

Worth a quick trawl of Ebay to see if any local sellers are selling surplus or offcuts, it's bound to be much cheaper than retail.

Edited by smileypete

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1 hour ago, Dr Bob said:

That's not strictly true.  A plastic is something that can be moulded ie it has a glass transition temperature. A thermoset cannot be moulded once it is cured - so take a 2 part system say PU or epoxy, both parts liquid - and not plastic - cure them to a 3d matrix, cross linked and they are then thermosets - which is not plastic. The common word you should be using is 'polymers'. You are right that the Grenfell system was a PU foam insulation (so a crosslinked thermoset) that will burn a bit (they call it a poly isocyanate - but the generic term is Polyurethane) clad on the outside by sandwich panels of PE foam and aluminium - the PE part is very flammable.

<pedant_mode>A thermoset still has a glass transition temperature. It is a temperature at which there is a change in the way a variety of temperature dependent material properties vary with temperature. For example, the temperature coefficient of expansion will be higher above the Tg than below. It will still do this even with the cross linking. </pedant_mode>

Jen, who has had to measure the Tg of thermoset polymers on occasion!

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41 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

<pedant_mode>A thermoset still has a glass transition temperature. It is a temperature at which there is a change in the way a variety of temperature dependent material properties vary with temperature. For example, the temperature coefficient of expansion will be higher above the Tg than below. It will still do this even with the cross linking. </pedant_mode>

Jen, who has had to measure the Tg of thermoset polymers on occasion!

I'll give you that one! They CAN have a Tg but it is not a true Tg as per plastics as it only refers to a small part of the sample. The side chains in a thermoset matrix (or long uncrosslinked chains) will exhibit glass transition temperatures as they start to rotate as temperature increases hence yes, some properties will be different as you heat a sample. Thermosets are not plastics though. We should use the word 'polymers'.

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2 hours ago, Dr Bob said:

I'll give you that one! They CAN have a Tg but it is not a true Tg as per plastics as it only refers to a small part of the sample. The side chains in a thermoset matrix (or long uncrosslinked chains) will exhibit glass transition temperatures as they start to rotate as temperature increases hence yes, some properties will be different as you heat a sample. Thermosets are not plastics though. We should use the word 'polymers'.

I recall that when I had a stint selling ABS boxes (among other things) we used to advise heating the boxes to {some figure I can’t recall} degrees C prior to punching holes in them if you wanted a neat job with no white stress marks. If I recall correctly they’d never become a gooey blob but would soften somewhat. 

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