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Old 12-19-2011, 06:17 PM   #1
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Default Window cover options

I'm trying to decide what to do about the windows in my van. It was a passenger van so it has a full set, all the way around. I like that because of the light; I'm going to be doing crafts in there - I make jewelry - but I'm also concerned about insulation and about privacy. Here's what I've thought of so far:

1) Painting them - good for privacy but blocks the light, and I'd probably still need insulation. At the hardware store I found "window frost" spray paint which is used for things like shower doors; that would give more light but not as much privacy. Also, painting glass at this time of the year - the "Spray Frost" suggested using between 50 and 80 degrees - I'm wondering how well it would "stick."

2) Window tint - this van would need a lot, and I'm on a very tight budge. As with the paint, I'm not sure how well it would adhere in this cold weather.

3) Covering them with something - All I can think of is Reflectix. I've looked at it and it seems to be just bubble wrap with a silver coating. I have bubble wrap that I could use, I'm just not sure what to put on one or both sides. Or what else could I use?

4) Curtains? Don't have time to make them (I sold the sewing machine, anyway) and would rather not spend $ to buy them. I know there's a room-darkening fabric available; I used to work at a store that sold it. But it's really expensive. And I guess I'm more concerned with keeping out prying eyes than light. (Except I think the two go together.)

5) Blinds - again, can't afford them, plus they'd have to be installed.

I think there may be other options that my little brain just can't figure out yet, so I thought I'd ask for suggestions and also your experience. What have you tried that has either worked or not worked for you?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Meg
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Window cover options

Agree about tint and paint, if it's cold, it'll run, not dry and stick.
Magnets are my first thought. Fairly easy to work with and you can get them almost anywhere.
Hardware and craft stores probably have them. Fridge magnets might work, too.
Since the inside of the van is primarily metal, you need some sort of lightweight material, either
cloth or synthetic, cut or otherwise shaped to cover each window, with craft sized magnets sewn
or stuck to the the corners or where ever they need to be held. Easy to put up, easy to remove and
store.
Still thinking to see if my bizarre little brain can come up with some other crackpot idea.
This is fun. Building a conversion van by proxy.
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Window cover options

I think the magnet idea is a good one. Cut the fabric a bit larger than the window and just place the magnets over the material to hold it in place ....... no sewing needed.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: Window cover options

Quote:
This is fun. Building a conversion van by proxy.
Well, I'm glad *someone's* enjoying it

Magnets - there's a thought. I'd attach them to whatever I was covering the window with, yes? The cover would have to be a bit bigger than the window so the magnet could attach to the metal. I wonder if it would go through whatever insulation/padding/covering etc. is in there.

Or - maybe Velcro? If I could find a way to attach it without adhesive? Staples, tacks, something like that? The sticky-back kind probably wouldn't stick in this weather and anyway, I don't like it; that glue melts in hot weather. I need to look more closely at what's around the windows. I'll do that when the van returns; it's spending the night at the mechanic's. (Today's story is, I took it there to get it checked out, especially the brakes which tend to stick in cold weather when I first start driving. The mechanic called at about 3 to say they couldn't put it up on their lift because it's so tall and their ceiling - isn't. And it's too cold for them to work outside. They're going to try to come up with an alternative plan tomorrow. If that doesn't work I have to take it somewhere else, to someone who doesn't have the high recommendation these people do. Sigh. I almost laughed when I heard this; I know it's not really funny, and I feel sorry for these guys, but this is getting ridiculous.)

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Old 12-20-2011, 12:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: Window cover options

So, if I use fabric, what kind? Something plain, something quilted for better insulation - I'm still thinking about all the cold that comes through glass. This van has a *lot* of glass.

I just had another thought about curtains/fabric - something I saw in a video on YouTube. Here it is:


[youtube:3be1z36n]tTITqa9xVyw[/youtube:3be1z36n]

It's about a 5-minute van conversion but one of the first things they do is put curtains up. It looks like they're already strung on something and just attached with - tacks, maybe? - at each end.

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Old 12-20-2011, 12:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Window cover options

Self tapping sheet metal screws, directly into the inside walls of the van above and slightly further
to the right and left of each window. Roadtrek uses something like that and then uses a small track
between them to hold the curtains, like the upper and lower tracks holding some folding closet doors
in houses.
They put little clips on the curtains and then they are inserted in the tracks and slide sideways to open
and close. The ones in the video hung loose instead of being held close to each window. You could buy a
curtain, and cut it to size with enough height vertically to fold it over on the top and bottom edge to
create a "tube" or hem, which could then have a cable threaded through it. I'd also string a second cable
below the window to be threaded through the bottom hem, to secure the bottom edge of the curtain
out of the way closer to window. If there's an RV dealer near you, why not drop by and ask if you can see
the insides of a few models and get some ideas?
I think Ennajean and I were trying to come up with something quick and easy (and cheap) using some sort
of inexpensive material or fabric and magnets.
You can try the full curtains thing when you get some time and money together.
As for thermal loss, it's important, and you may be able to deal with it later on, but for now privacy is
probably more important, if you're going to work and sleep in it. Actually, I don't think there are many
vans that come with double glazed insulated windows. Maybe the newer ones?

Good point about the difficulties with maintenance on longer/taller vehicles. Not every shop can lift them.
Sometimes they're too tall, sometimes too long, conversion van owners have to be very attentive when
letting some shops try even simple repairs, because if the techs, or you, aren't paying attention, simple
oil changes and other repairs can result in serious damage.

I was only kidding about the proxy thing. Sorry.
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:15 AM   #7
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Default Re: Window cover options

Hey - the video's embedded now. Why couldn't I get it to do that when I used the "youtube" code? It wouldn't even preview the post so I switched it back to a URL. And *now* it's there. Huh.

Actually, Mike, I wasn't upset, I appreciated the humor. I haven't had a lot of that lately.

The "self tapping sheet metal screws" (?) - those are in the video? I couldn't tell. But I *did* want something quick and easy and cheap. So it's back to the other suggestions, and I do appreciate them.

I think you're right about the windows; the ones on this van are just regular glass. Since this was just a passenger van they probably figured insulated windows weren't necessary; the heater in the back would take care of that area for as long as anyone was riding in it. I guess it's just another example of using something for a purpose it wasn't intended for (like a lot of RVS weren't intended for fulltiming).

This van has already been an education in driving, parking, etc. I'm not surprised to learn some mechanics won't be able to handle it. I guess I'll add that to the (growing) list of reasons to do something different the next time. Assuming I don't just move back into a sticks & bricks, that is.

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Old 12-20-2011, 02:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: Window cover options

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA

Actually, Mike, I wasn't upset, I appreciated the humor. I haven't had a lot of that lately.

The "self tapping sheet metal screws" (?) - those are in the video? I couldn't tell. But I *did* want something quick and easy and cheap. So it's back to the other suggestions, and I do appreciate them.

I think you're right about the windows; the ones on this van are just regular glass. Since this was just a passenger van they probably figured insulated windows weren't necessary; the heater in the back would take care of that area for as long as anyone was riding in it. I guess it's just another example of using something for a purpose it wasn't intended for (like a lot of RVS weren't intended for fulltiming).
I can't actually see the screws, I'm making a broad assumption that they are probably what was used. There are
lengths of light cable spring-like, wrapped in plastic sheathing, so there's some slight stretch to them. If I was
putting together my own curtains (and I did this back in the late 70s in my Econoline E150), I had curtains made
with a hem top and bottom that I threaded with the stretchy cables and then attached to self tapping sheet metal
screws that I put into the 4 corners of each window. Worked well. No insulation value, but I didn't expect any.
Commercial type vans actually make pretty good bases for RVs if they're done right. Even if they weren't originally
intended to be converted to Rvs, they still work pretty well. If the insulation isn't sufficient, move to a warmer
place. That's why they call them mobile homes.
I'm still trying to find an inexpensive blend between sticks and bricks and rolling property. We'd like to have a
home base that could be left alone for months while we travel to warmer southern climes, but is there to serve
as an address in Canada to maintain all of our wonderful government supplied perks (we're taxed to death to pay
for it all, mind you, but no one ever mentions that when they applaud the fabulous Canadian model of universal
health care). If we could find an inexpensive non-rental property up here, that would free up more money to upsize
our rolling home. We'd like larger, with a better shower/bath setup. Most Bs don't have anything close to a full bath.
Sorry, humor clearly isn't my strong suit.
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Window cover options

Mike, your explanation of how the curtains were set up is pretty much what I was thinking; I figured they were strung on something that could then be attached to the wall on each side of the window. Nice idea. I'm still playing around with ideas myself but I think it will take a trip to Home Depot to settle them.

I know what you mean about the baths in the Class Bs. I looked at a lot of them and very few had anything other than a potty; some didn't even have that. The ones with "full baths" either had a little tiny room or an area in the back with a very small sit-down tub. I like Roadtrek's idea of the shower in the aisle; it's nice to not have a dedicated space for something that doesn't get used constantly - but those models were too new for my budget. Some of the older ones had a tub area next to the toilet but it stuck out into the aisle; I didn't find many of those at all. They were only on the biggest model, the 210 I think.

I wish I could have a shower in my van but I think I'll be lucky to get some semblance of running water. I do have some ideas for that though; if I come up with anything clever I'll post about it.

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Old 12-22-2011, 11:20 PM   #10
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Default Re: Window cover options

Whatever you choose will need to close well enough to give you privacy. That means minimal or no gaps. Maybe some Velcro tabs at the sides and bottoms or curtain wire at both the top and bottom.



I used Velcro around the cab in one of my RV's:
http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=33&t=629

I prefer curtain tracks though. It's just easier & quicker when you want to close the curtains.
http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...hp?f=12&t=1926
Attached Images
File Type: jpg curtain wire.jpg (9.3 KB, 1924 views)
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