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Old 02-18-2021, 12:38 AM   #1
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Roof upgrade?

'91Itasca Spirit IT320RB. We have been fixing this up, dealing with leaks, making improvements and learning a lot here. After reading about camping in cooler weather, we got concerned about the insulation in the roof. It's only an inch thick. It's the original hybrid fiberglass and aluminum roof according to Winnebago. I know this might be an amazingly dumb question, but here goes:
Is it feasible for us to add a layer of insulation to the top? Then how would we cover it? We have carpentry and fix it skills.
Thanks in advance for your willingness to teach this newbie!
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:18 AM   #2
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Almost nothing is impossible - impractical or not affordable sure.

You would really have to rebuild your entire roof making it taller. Not very practical or affordable. Especially on a 30-yr old RV. Plus the overall roof height is a solid limitation.
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Old 02-18-2021, 12:04 PM   #3
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Height isn't an issue since we removed the super tall air conditioner. So we can't tie in a new layer above? We both know construction. Sigh, I was afraid the answer would be no, but if it's not asked....
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Old 02-18-2021, 03:23 PM   #4
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Cold weather RV'ing is not about the roof insulation. It is about keeping your water pipes and holding tanks from freezing. Also you get much more cold in from the floor, since it is mostly plywood and not much insulation. Those big windows in the wall and cabover most likely have single pane window glass which radiates the cold in (or the heat out). Both of these are more of a problem than the roof.
Be sure to block off the cab of the RV with heavy drapes to block the cold.
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Old 02-18-2021, 03:31 PM   #5
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If you do add to the outside of roof, keep in mind the wind shear and upward forces put a tremendous amount of force on whatever you put up there.

Driving at 50-60mph with a 15mph side wind and an 18 wheeler comes by when the bow wave hits the RV you will feel a really hard sideways force to rock and sway the RV. Think of what that does to the roof.

One other area of concern is while driving, starting about 6 inches to 2 feet behind the very front of the cabover there is a tremendous vacuum sucking on the roof. If what you attach is not really well fastened down it will be ripped off.
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Old 02-18-2021, 03:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Height isn't an issue since we removed the super tall air conditioner. So we can't tie in a new layer above? We both know construction. Sigh, I was afraid the answer would be no, but if it's not asked....
Whoa... don't take my opinion as anything valid. It's your RV so you get to decide. Well, you and the extreme forces of nature.

Your walls, floor and windows are probably your largest heat loss contributor - oh, and your slides, as well.

If you want a truly 4-season RV - you'd have to buy one. IF, that is, there is really such a thing. I had 3 Arctic Fox travel trailers that are supposed to be "4-season." In 2010 on the way back from a factory pickup of a new 25' TT in Oregan I spent the night in Twin Falls, ID at -8 degress. During the night moisture from breath froze solid on the inside of the RV on walls and windows.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:03 AM   #7
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We're not looking for extreme camping, but would like to extend the season some. Also, a 1 inch thick roof isn't confidence building! It looks like the roof stays as is. We'll probably insulate the undersides of the solar panels and call it good. Thanks!
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al1florida View Post
Cold weather RV'ing is not about the roof insulation. It is about keeping your water pipes and holding tanks from freezing. Also you get much more cold in from the floor, since it is mostly plywood and not much insulation. Those big windows in the wall and cabover most likely have single pane window glass which radiates the cold in (or the heat out). Both of these are more of a problem than the roof.
Be sure to block off the cab of the RV with heavy drapes to block the cold.
I was applying the theory of "wear a hat when it's cold out" to the rv. We have to replace part of the floor, so we'll look at insulation there. Insulated curtains are on the list! Thank you!
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al1florida View Post
If you do add to the outside of roof, keep in mind the wind shear and upward forces put a tremendous amount of force on whatever you put up there.

Driving at 50-60mph with a 15mph side wind and an 18 wheeler comes by when the bow wave hits the RV you will feel a really hard sideways force to rock and sway the RV. Think of what that does to the roof.

One other area of concern is while driving, starting about 6 inches to 2 feet behind the very front of the cabover there is a tremendous vacuum sucking on the roof. If what you attach is not really well fastened down it will be ripped off.
About that scary sounding vacuum, is there some sort of an aftermarket airfoil that would help with that? It sounds like a real gas sucker.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-19-2021, 06:51 AM   #10
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About that scary sounding vacuum, is there some sort of an aftermarket airfoil that would help with that? It sounds like a real gas sucker.

Thanks again.
Nothing that I know to help. It is a fact that the air hits the front of the vehicle and then goes up. The inertia of the air carries it up above the roof and then back down onto the roof some 4-8 feet back. There is a big vacuum in that front space.

From time to time we see travel trailers on the highway with their rubber roofs bubbled up in the first 4-8 feet of the roof.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:17 PM   #11
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Has anyone used Supertherm insulating paint or any other ceramic insulating additive? I mention Supertherm specifically since it has the best numbersof any I've read about so far.

Thanks, y'all!
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:18 PM   #12
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Has anyone used Supertherm insulating paint or any other ceramic insulating additive? I mention Supertherm specifically since it has the best numbersof any I've read about so far.

Thanks, y'all!
Is there a R rating number for the paint?

I guessing it would have to be awfully thick paint to even get a R rating of 1.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:24 PM   #13
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Is there a R rating number for the paint?

I guessing it would have to be awfully thick paint to even get a R rating of 1.
Here’s their website. It reflects 95% of uv, visual and ir light which supposedly results in an R-19 equivalent rating. Nope, I have no clue how equivalent ratings are figured.
https://www.ecosupertherm.com/technical.html
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:51 AM   #14
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Hereís their website. It reflects 95% of uv, visual and ir light which supposedly results in an R-19 equivalent rating. Nope, I have no clue how equivalent ratings are figured.
https://www.ecosupertherm.com/technical.html
So it has no cold weather advantage? Isnít that what youíre trying to get?
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:44 AM   #15
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So it has no cold weather advantage? Isnít that what youíre trying to get?
"SUPER THERM drastically reduces the energy consumption required from your cooling/heating unit by keeping the heat out during summer and the heat in during winter". This is why I'm asking if anyone has personal experience with this or something similar. I don't want to fall prey to hype!
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:59 AM   #16
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What about...

OK, here's where you brand me as crazy, but with lots of experience as a single mom who had to fight for child support compliance, I got pretty good at thinking outside of the box. Is there a way to bond house wrap (non perforated) to the roof? Would it be more durable and cut down on maintenance with little weight gain? It can be painted.
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:59 PM   #17
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Bubble wrap is your friend, put a layer or two on all the glass, on inside of the door, put a block of Styrofoam in each of the roof vents and maybe the ac unit as well.
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Old 02-26-2021, 12:14 AM   #18
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We're almost done putting foil bubble wrap and 1/8" plywood on the walls in the cabover. The cutouts for the windows will get bonded to the bubble wrap cutouts. Voila! And looking good, too.
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