Saturday, January 1, 2011
Happy new year to all... 2011 finds us beginning the process of insulating our boat. In a steel boat, insulation serves three purposes: condensation control (especially important when cooking and heating the boat in colder climates), sound control (so it doesn't echo like a big oil drum inside), and keeping the interior temperature stable. After researching to death the choice of material and process to insulate our hull, we decided on Armaflex closed cell foam- 3/4" for the hull sides and overhead, 1/4" for the frames and longitudinals. This will give us an insulation "sandwich" of 3/4" Armaflex, 2" air gap, then 1/2" interior tongue and groove planking. There is no easy solution to insulating a metal hull but having spent a lot of time looking at all the alternatives, this solution made the most sense for us. Armaflex is similar in density to neoprene except it is completely closed cell and will not absorb water. It is also manufactured with microban which is supposed to control mold and mildew. It is really nice stuff to work with- no dust or particulates from it, and very clean. It also has no smell and is relatively fire resistant and self extinguishing. The down side is the cost (it will probably be about 50% more than a professional spray foam job) and the labor to cut and fit it into all the frame spaces. It also dulls our cutters very fast so we're going through a lot of blades. We opted for the plain Armaflex instead of the self adhesive type as it allows us to control the adhesive and it is also cheaper by a factor of three over the peel and stick variety. stock sheet size is 3' x 4' which works out nicely with our 36" frame spacing. After a few days of cutting and gluing and fine tuning our installation techniques, we are starting to make some good progress although it can be very tedious cutting and fitting the foam. The best part is that once I get done cutting and installing all the bits and pieces to fit all the hundreds of odd shapes that make up the inside of our boat, I'll likely be ready to spend some time in a rubber room... which is just what we'll have at the end of this process.