3M Thinsulate provides both thermal and acoustic insulation in one easy-to-install product! Thermal insulation keeps your van warm or cold and the acoustic insulation keeps the van quiet from road noise and ambient noise. In addition, Thinsulate helps to “dampen” the vibration of the sheet metal of your van similar to using sheets of butyl sound deadener like Noico. This allows you to either omit that type of butyl sound deadening entirely or use much less and save on time, money and weight. We highly recommend this type of insulation for your van conversion and use it in all our vans.
Unlike many other insulation products, Thinsulate is manufactured specifically for the purpose of insulating vehicles and therefore has the following advantages:
- Hydrophobic fibers resist moisture, mold and mildew
- Flame resistant and meets FMVSS 302 certified motor vehicle safety standards
- Lightweight, easy to cut and install
- Does not off gas and has no noticeable odor
- Can be removed easily if necessary for modifications or repairs
- Cruelty-Free Product (Vegan). “No sheep were harmed in the making of this product”
How Much You’ll Need
These recommendations are in ranges from minimum to maximum. If you have or will be installing many windows you can order the lower quantity. If not you should probably order the larger quantity. Based on insulating the entirety of the walls, ceiling and structural cavities but not the floor.
- 136″ wheel base Promaster: 40-45 linear feet
- 159″ wheel base Promaster: 50-55 linear feet
- 159″ extended wheel base Promaster: 60-65 linear feet
- 144″ wheel base Sprinter: 50-55 linear feet
- 170″ wheel base Sprinter: 60-65 linear feet
- 170″ extended wheel base Sprinter: 70-75 linear feet
- 148″ wheel base Transit: 50-55 linear feet
We generally recommend about one large can of 3M 90 Spray adhesive for every 10LF of insulation you are purchasing (IE. For a 159″ wheel base Promaster you will need approximately 5-6 cans of spray adhesive)
A Word About Compression from 3M (and Vanlife Outfitters)…
3M Thinsulate(TM) comes compressed from the factory (Vanlife Outfitters also ships it compressed). The SM600L is typically about 3/4 to 1″ thick when it comes off the roll. It will expand over time but can take a number of weeks. It is best (and easier) to install it compressed and let it expand after it is in place. The vibration from driving (and heat) seems to help it to expand (fluff up). SM600L can even expand up to 2″ thick if suspended from the ceiling and depending on the space available. Thinsulate(TM) won’t expand any more than the space allowed and will not push up and cause bowing in trim panels. Please contact us if you have further questions.
- Thinsulate can easily be cut to shape with sharp fabric-type scissors. It’s not essential that your cut out shapes match the panel size exactly. You can cut them larger and tuck around the elements.
- We recommend gluing the Thinsulate to your wall and ceiling panels with 3M 90 spray adhesive. Be sure to spray both the Thinsulate and the wall/ceiling panel for best adhesion.
- We recommend gluing the “white side” to the sheet metal of the van so that the black “scrim” faces outward.
- Use a fish tape or wire to pull unglued Thinsulate into cavities and structural elements.
- Many people report that their entire van can be insulated in a single day with Thinsulate.
- If you’re working on a Sprinter van, check out this post on the Sprinter Forum where a user shared detailed cutting patterns.
April 2021 update: it appears that 3M 90 spray adhesive is (like many things) in short supply and hard to find these days. We reached out to our 3M rep and asked what alternatives might work. He said that 3M 76, 77, or 78 spray adhesives might work but may be a little slower to dry. Also, double sided tape is often used and in automotive applications, hot melt glue is used. Another suggestion was to source 3M 90 adhesive in cans, buckets or tubs from places like Grainger. This could be easier to find and potentially less expensive as well if you’re insulating your entire van but you would need a sprayer.