We chose to use CeraTex, a ceramic fiber paper insulation, as our first layer of insulation. This is commonly used to insulate kilns and commercial ovens. For our ceiling we chose the ¼ inch thick paper, it comes in a long roll that you just cut down to size.
There is nothing toxic about the paper itself, however as you cut it small ceramic fibers do shed so it’s best to wear a mask as you cut it so not to breathe these in and gloves, long pants and long-sleeved top as it can be itchy on skin. We chose to wear goggles to protect our eyes too. It was really easy to cut with just regular scissors.
We measured out the spaces between the bus ceiling beams to make a cut list for the CeraTex. Then used Workshop Buddy , a cut optimization diagram generator, to plan how to cut our 3 rolls down and make the most of them. We have found this to be a very helpful free online tool to prevent waste.
We labeled each piece by number and wrote the corresponding numbers on the ceiling to make it easy to find the right size during installation.
We used a Contact Cement to glue the CeraTex to the ceiling. The temperature needs to be above 65 °F for 3 days for the glue to dry properly. It’s also important to ventilate the space well and make sure there are no open flames nearby as it is highly flammable. We chose to wear masks as you don’t want to be breathing this in plus it is a hot glue so we covered up well. If it drips on your skin it burns.
First you paint it onto the ceiling, make sure you see a glossy shine over the entire surface and then stick the CeraTex to the ceiling. They recommended you wait about 15 minutes for it to tacky up before sticking anything to the surface, however we found it was tacky and stuck straight away. Not sure if it was something to do with the temperature or humidity we were working in, but waiting made it less sticky in our environment. We found it best to push it into the center first and then move along to the sides pushing it into the corners of the cavities. Lastly we went over it with a roller to ensure it was well secured all over.
The ceiling at the very front of our bus is actually fiberglass, not aluminum. So we checked with the glue manufacturer and they said that the contact cement can be used on fiberglass. It took us 3 days of gluing, perhaps 4 hrs each day.
This was a pretty simple job, yet tiring to be looking up and pressing up with your arms for hours. That is just the nature of working on the ceiling, and there is more ceiling work to be done…..
While we were waiting for the temperature to warm up so we could use the contact cement, we got to making furring strips for our ceiling. With the first layer of insulation in, we can now screw those furring strips into the beams.
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CeraTex 3170 Ceramic Fiber Paper is an alumino-silicate ceramic fiber based non-woven fabric. It is manufactured through a special paper-making process with high purity washed fibers, suitable for high temperature insulation up to 2300°F. CeraTex 3170 features with low thermal conductivity, excellent corrosion resistance, heat and flame resistance, light weight, good flexibility and handling strength. The material is easy to die-cut or hand cut into custom shaped parts.
DAP Weldwood Original Contact Cement is a polychlorprene-based contact cement that meets the stringent requirements of the professional user. Its high strength and initial grab make it well suited for most projects. It offers a 15-20 minute (dependent on temperature and humidity) dry time (ready to bond) with a 1-1/2-2 hour assembly/working time. Use to bond decorative laminates, veneers, paneling, wood, rubber, foam or cork to itself, particleboard, medium density fiberboard, drywall, wood, glass, metal or fiberglass.
A cut optimization diagram generator. Workshop-buddy is a free online tool designed to make your workshop life a little easier. We're currently in BETA, so you may find a few bugs here and there.