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Old 12-19-2011, 07:17 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, 11:40 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 12-20-2011, 12:47 AM   #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, 01:10 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, 01:21 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, 01:52 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, 03:15 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, 03:34 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, 07:29 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 12-23-2011, 12:20 AM   #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
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File Type: jpg curtain wire.jpg (9.3 KB, 1924 views)
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: Window cover options

That white plasticized cable and eyelet hooks was what I used back in 1979 for my E150 passenger van
window coverings, and what I mentioned in my previous post in this thread. Rear windows only. Worked great.
The hard part was installing the self tapping screws in the van walls, but I got it done.
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:06 AM   #12
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Default Re: Window cover options

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
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.

Meg
It's our only real bugaboo about class B vans. Our Roadtrek uses a huge amount of space to create a galley which
is largely unused by us when we travel. I honestly think they should allocate more of the limited space to the shower
and hygiene systems, and less to the galley. In my humble opinion, it's much easier to cook/eat outside the van,
than it is to shower or go to the bathroom. I would have created some sort of sink/microwave/2 burner stove/fridge
stacked service area, perhaps in a commode style closet behind the front seats, and used everything back of that
for sleeping/entertainment, toilet/showering, and possibly some storage for clothes and food/toilet supplies. Or,
set up a "Murphy Bed" styled pull out cook top and mini sink on the outside of the van, for use at campgrounds or
just at roadside stops. Folding covers to block the wind and rain, with detachable and retractable hoses to supply
propane and water to the functional areas. That would allow use in colder weather, not sub freezing, though, but
I don't know how many folks use a class B to winter camp. I'd also try to set it up in such a way that it could be
hosed down once in a while at a car wash to clean up grease and grime from cooking/washing up. I've seen fold
out BBQs on some larger As and Cs out there. The compact fridge would be inside out of necessity, for small amounts
of frozen and cold stored food. How much frozen/cold food do you really have to take with you when you're touring?
Priorities, people!!!!
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Old 12-23-2011, 05:41 AM   #13
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Default Re: Window cover options

Marko, I read that other post and see that the Velcro you used was the sticky-back kind. Did you have any problems with it? I've had some bad experiences with that stuff; my massage chair came with it for the detachable chest and face cushions and because I kept the chair in the car all the time the heat buildup in the summer melted the glue and the cushions shifted. Trying to clean it off to replace the Velcro was a real pain; I never did find anything that worked really well (although I was trying to stay away from anything with a lot of toxic chemicals in it) and ended up stapling some of it to the wood. When I mentioned this to the manufacturer they said they'd switched to the stapled kind just for that reason. For the van - I'm just not sure stapling would work because I don't know what's underneath that vinyl; there may not be enough there to hold the staples. Maybe the Velcro people have changed their glue formulation and it's less susceptible to heat now.

Mike, the last Roadtrek I looked at was either a 2011 or a 2010 (can't remember) and it seems that RT hasn't really changed their layout over the years; even with the new stuff, like the front-facing seats and the rear slideout, it's still a 3-part modular design. I guess they think it works well that way. And I do admit, their shower setup is ingenious. But their toilet design isn't good; it actually does make me think of that old term "water closet"! I can't visualize a lot of your ideas but maybe you could suggest them to RT; I have a friend who did that with a modification he came up with (which I also can't remember much about right now; I think my brain is tired). They do seem fairly innovative; maybe they could incorporate those changes into future models.

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Old 12-23-2011, 01:15 PM   #14
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Default Re: Window cover options

I used the sticky back Velcro but I fastened it with a rivet through the headliner. It was fastened every six inches.



The silver circle things are the rivets. I later colored them black with a permanent marker.
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: Window cover options

Aha, rivets. I didn't really know much about them so I looked them up on Wikipedia, but it was really too technical for me. I do understand that they hold things from both sides. You'd need a special tool to insert those, wouldn't you?

It looks like you put the curtains right up by the front windows. I'll have to take a look at the van to see what's there. I was thinking of putting something further back. There is a storage area, like the cabover in a Class C, at the front above the driver's and passenger's seats; it has a small "lip" at the bottom that's pretty solid (I know this because I keep bumping my head on it ). I was thinking of attaching something there. Right now I can't remember much about it; I'll have to check it out next time I'm in the van.

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Old 12-23-2011, 06:02 PM   #16
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Default Re: Window cover options

I think Roadtrek has enough on their plate right now, that they don't need any additional worries/criticisms.
I just would have liked a more complete, and water/steam tight enclosure, to do the daily hygiene routine,
rather than the way they used almost a 4' by 2' chunk of the floor space (floor to ceiling as well) as a galley,
with a sink and under that a fridge and storage. I just think that amount of space could have been put to
better use, either as a combo toilet and shower area, or alternately wish they had figured out a better way to
enclose the middle part of the vans where you would use the hot water. My reason for saying that is my other
main concern is slow mold build up resulting from the regular use of hot water (steam) in an enclosed area like
a class B van. I have never used the shower, preferring to use truck stops and regular campgrounds instead.
I have considered adding a separate portable shower enclosure and then using the external shower hookup
outside in warmer climates, but that turned out to be more trouble than I figure it's worth. So, it's always
possible if necessary, but not a priority.
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:53 PM   #17
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Default Re: Window cover options

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
Aha, rivets................... You'd need a special tool to insert those, wouldn't you?
Yes. Home Depot rivet tools



Walmart rivet tool



Mike's suggestion of using curtain wire strung between self tapping screws is the easiest and quickest solution.
Run a wire across the top and bottom of the window for more privacy. Cut and hang a sheet or other fabric doubled over the top wire (like you would hang a towel on a towel rack) and tuck it under the bottom wire for optimum privacy.



The curtain wire would probably work across the front just behind the seats as well. If not, a shower curtain and rod might fit.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SG_Tool_Aid_19200_Heavy_Duty_Hand_Riveter_Kit_with_40_Rivets.jpg (12.9 KB, 1780 views)
File Type: jpg rivet tool.JPG (21.9 KB, 1775 views)
File Type: jpg curtain wire2.jpg (9.2 KB, 1780 views)
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:02 AM   #18
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Default Re: Window cover options

I used magnets and screen cloth to make screens for some of my van windows, but cloth for curtains would have to be pretty light weight to be held up with magnets.

Check out a discount drapery shop and see if they have quilted material. If you're not too picky about the color or print, you can get some "ends" from rolls quite cheap. Hem two ends, (doesn't take too long by hand, actually) run something (string, cord, elastic) through them, and fasten them to the van with those screws. That's about as cheap and warm as you're going to get I think.

I tried velcro on the inside and it didn't work very well.
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