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How Is Your RV Insulated (and How Can You Improve It)?

How Is Your RV Insulated (and How Can You Improve It)?

Thankfully, with modern building techniques, you can RV year-round. While RVs aren’t known for regulating temperatures well, having good RV insulation can make a huge difference. Today, we’ll look at different types of RV insulation and some things you can do to keep your home on wheels more comfortable year-round. 

How RV Insulation Works

RV manufacturers use insulation in walls, floors, and ceilings to help keep RVs as comfortable as possible. Some manufacturers are better at doing this than others. Manufacturers install the insulation during your RV’s construction. This means that most RVers won’t ever see the insulation unless they’re doing some sort of renovation. Whether you realize it or not, your insulation is there, keeping you comfortable (or at least trying!).

The Best RV Winter Setup: How to RV in Winter and the Gear That Will Keep You Cozy Warm!

Types of RV Insulation

There are a few types of RV insulation. Let’s take a look at which insulation is best for you!

Fiberglass

Fiberglass insulation comes in large rolls and is often lower-cost. You often see this type of insulation behind walls or in ceilings. Fiberglass insulation is fluffy pink material; it may make you crave a bag of cotton candy.

One of the negatives of fiberglass insulation is that it needs replacing when it comes in contact with moisture. The material absorbs moisture, and mold growth can quickly become a major problem. Whether it’s a water leak or changes in climate, fiberglass may not be the best choice, but it does a great job.

RV Insulation. Fiberglass insulation fluffy pink insulation.
No, it’s not cotton candy, this pink fluffy foam is actually fiberglass insulation.

Spray Foam

The unique design of RVs means that sometimes there are spaces that are difficult to insulate. The best way to insulate these hard-to-reach spaces is by using spray foam. Spray foam forms around these unique spaces and creates an optimal seal between the exterior and interior. With spray foam, you no longer have to worry about whether or not the nooks and crannies of your RV are insulated.

spay foam on rv panel
We used spray foam to insulate a door that had no insulation.

Spray foam is perfect for RVs as it’s incredibly lightweight and moisture-resistant. These are two things RVers often worry about when it comes to their RVs. However, spray foam isn’t great when it comes to extreme temperatures. 

Rigid Foam

An excellent choice for RVs, rigid foam comes in large rectangle boards. This type of insulation is easy to cut to shape. That makes it simple to upgrade spaces that could benefit from additional insulation.

While other forms of insulation don’t respond well to moisture, rigid foam is moisture-resistant. This means you no longer have to worry about your insulation growing foam, no matter where you’re traveling in your RV.

How to Improve Your RV’s Insulation

Even if your RV has a four seasons rating, it might need a bit of help if you’re in extreme conditions. Here are a few things you can do to help keep the inside of your RV comfortable. 

→ Keep in Mind: Not all “4-season campers” are created equal. Find out more in our article: What is a 4-Seasons Camper?

RV Insulation will help you rv all year long even. Snow covered RV
Quality RV insulation will help you RV in any season.

Get an RV Skirt

If you’ll be stationary for the season, it’s worth looking into an RV skirt. An RV skirt acts as a layer of protection from the elements for the underside of your RV. Even an enclosed underbelly can lose some heat. If you have the frigid wind whipping under your RV, it can be a battle to keep your floors warm and your pipes thawed. An RV skirt helps block the wind and snow from getting under your RV. 

Pro Tip: Considering purchasing an RV skirt? Learn more about Why & When You Need RV Skirting.

RV Insulation. Sealing windows on RV
Sealing windows, doors, and roofs will help block out heat and cold.

Seal Your Windows and Doors 

Those same windows that give you beautiful views are also notorious for letting in the extreme cold and blistering heat. First, ensure that the manufacturer’s seals on the outside are in good condition. If there are cracks or missing pieces, it can let in air and water. Once you’ve done that, it may be worth investing in window covers to block out the heat and cold.

Many RVers cut Reflectix to place in each window, including the door window. 

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DON'T FREEZE! - Insulating RV for Winter with Reflectix, Foam Board, & Skirting - RV Life

Upgrade to Double Pane Windows

Most RVs come with single-pane windows. If you’re planning on camping in cold temperatures, you might want to add double pane windows to your criteria when RV shopping. If you haven’t, it is possible to replace your windows – however this upgrade can be costly after-market.

Learn more about double pane windows and the additional benefits they provide, such as sound dampening.

Weather Strip Your Storage Compartments

Even if heat is pumping into your storage compartments, they’re bound to get cold. Cold air in your storage compartments means your unit will need to work harder to keep your RV warm. Adding a weather strip to your storage compartments can help your RV be more efficient. Don’t forget your outdoor kitchen if you have one. They’re subject to the same harsh temperatures. 

Spray Aerosol Insulation Around Pipes

RV pipes freeze easily. They’re not buried underground like in most homes, so they have more exposure to low temperatures. Once your pipes freeze, it’ll be a battle to thaw them and keep them running. Not only can frozen pipes be an inconvenience, but they could also cause damage to your RV.

Spraying aerosol insulation around your pipes can add another layer of protection from the elements. Think of it as your pipes wearing a coat to keep warm. 

RV Insulation spraying around windows, doors and roofs.
Spraying exposed pipes will help stop them from freezing so easily.

Where Is RV Insulation Installed?

In general, you install insulation in the walls and under the roof. You can also install it on all sides of the RV. All-season RVs will have more insulation as there will be an enclosed underbelly with added insulation on the underside of the RV. If it’s not an all-season RV, there won’t usually be insulation in the underbelly, and it’ll likely be open to the elements.

Can You Add Aftermarket Insulation to Your RV?

Yes, you can add insulation to your RV. Using your RV in extreme temperatures can help you discover the spaces in your RV that could benefit from additional insulation. Spaces like the inside of cabinets, closets, or drawers often lack insulation. Many of these spots are out of sight, so even if the insulation is unattractive, you won’t see it.

What R-Value Do You Need for Your Camper?

The higher the R-value, the better. If you’re planning to use your RV in warmer or cooler climates, you’re going to want insulation with an R-value of 10 or more in the walls. Some manufacturers put insulation with an R-value of 40 or more in the flooring and ceilings. An RV with insulation of this caliber will provide optimal comfort while using your RV.

Having the right RV insulation can extend your camping season, giving you even more opportunities for adventure. While weather conditions don’t always cooperate, you can do your best to keep your RV comfortable.

Do you enjoy RVing in cold weather? Drop a comment below.

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Jan

Friday 25th of March 2022

We have a class A diesel Motorcoach.. Are there any companies that will add insulation to help keep the RV cooler and if so where. We are in Florida at the moment

Steve Hericks

Sunday 15th of August 2021

Not all insulation is of the same effectiveness (per inch of thickness) and it matters a lot more in RVs. It is important to understand, in a constrained space, which are more effective. In particular, fiberglass is NOT a good choice because it has half the R value per inch of poly iso or XPS. It is convenient because it's both flexible and compressible (a bad thing) and is also inexpensive, making the poor choice frequent. Also EPS is similarly suboptimal but frequently used. I'm formerly a plant engineer for Safari Motor Coaches and we used fiberglass and EPS ' because the customer doesn't know any better'. I

Also, manufacturers lie extensively about the R-value BECAUSE customers are not aware of how insulation works. Specifically, 'reflective' insulation is completely ineffective in a confined space. I could go on.... Specifically, educated owners are the key.... You did not add to that here and I know you are capable of it...

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