Paneling the Ceiling (Part 1)

Paneling the Ceiling (Part 1)

May 19, 2015 Categories Camper Van

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Before reading this, you might be interested to see how I framed my ceiling.

In order to start paneling the ceiling today, I first had to get the solar panel mounted on top of the van. I picked up the brackets for it last week from a local fabricating shop. I had to have special brackets made to be tall enough for the panel to sit above the curvature on the van roof. For my install, this meant having brackets that were at least 3″ tall. This is what the brackets look like:

Before I installed anything, I made some backing plates for the brackets to add some reinforcement since the roof is made of fiberglass. This gives the bolts more surface area to grip onto in order to prevent the solar panel from tearing out of the roof.

My solar panel is a Renogy 250W and is 64″x39″, which takes up the entire rearĀ half of my roof. I added a layer of putty tape to the bottom of the bracket mounts to help seal out water (I had some putty left over from when I installed my roof vent). Now it was time to hoist the panel up onto the roof and bolt it in place. I used 1/4″x1 1/2″ carriage bolts and on the inside of the van there’s a washer and a nylon locking nut securing the bolt in place.

Once everything was installed, I took some roof sealant and covered the bolt heads to prevent any water from dripping down them and getting inside the van.

I didn’t connect the electrical wires to the solar panel since I haven’t hooked up all the electrical stuff inside the van yet and I do NOT want live electrical wires just dangling down in the van. Once I get my electrical system hooked up, then I’ll connect the wires to the solar panel.

Now that I finally had my solar panel installed, I could actually insulate the ceiling – something I’ve been waiting to do for awhile now. Just like with the walls, I used Owens Corning EcoTouch because it is formaldehyde free. Adding the insulation is a pretty straightforward process, so there’s not much to say about it. Here are pictures.

The width at the top of the ceiling is 42 1/2″ so I decided to center a board at 21 1/4″ and build out from there. I did it that way because I wanted the “remainder” on each side to be even. Well, somehow the first board that I thought was centered actually wasn’t and so the entire ceiling is at a slight angle, but I don’t think people with notice unless they look really hard. At least, that’s what I’m hoping. Turns out my ceiling vent is also off center about 1″ to the left. Oh well.

Tomorrow I should be able to finish paneling the sides of the ceiling (upper walls?) and box the ends off to create my storage areas. Then I can get back to working on my kitchen.

Continue on to part two.

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