011 Spoken Compass – Post Lizardskin Results 7-26-16

Finally! The Post Lizardskin Results episode. I finished the install of this spray-in insulation about three weeks prior to the recording of this podcast. I wanted to see how the Lizardskin was going to hold up and perform for both the sound insulation as well as cutting down on some of the heat in the van.

In this episode, I go into some detail on some of the lessons I learned before, during and after the application. Take heed my fellow Lizardskinners. Learn from my mistakes!

1.       Don’t do it by yourself. You are going to need some help. You can manage it but an extra person that can refill you sprayer, quickly mask off an area you missed, or just remind you to drink water in the heat is a great asset.

2.       Lizardskin is thick. Both the SI and CI. You are going to make a mess. Have plenty of tarps laid down and some old towels to wipe your hands and sprayer with.

3.       The wet-mil gauge is just that. For product that is wet. The SI goes on thick and the CI even more so. You will want to check early and often when you get started. Once you see how the product looks going on at the recommended 20 mils, you can check less often.

4.       Manage you product. I needed 8 gallons per coat for the van that I was spraying. So think about how you are going to manage that quantity. I basically thought, OK I am going to need 8 gallons for this square feet. If each bucket is 2 gallons, I will need roughly 1 for the ceiling, one for each side including one back door and I better roughly have one left to finish the floor on the way out the back.

5.       Pick a pattern for each coat and repeat it for all the sprays. I did the complete ceiling first. Then the Driver side wall (easiest), Passenger side wall (most complex due to sliding door and then I started on the floor at the cab and sprayed walking backwards till I had it covered.

6.       Watch your step. If you don’t, you can fall right out of the van. Seriously. Also you are going to have the compressor hose that will insist on being exactly where you do not want it.

7.       Take breaks. The stuff dries quickly but not so fast that you can’t take a breather every couple of fills. It is also good to let your compressor take a short break every now and then. Mine 33 Gallon one from Husky was rated to run 30 minutes of every hour. I pushed this a bit but tried to keep it in mind.

8.       Wear a mask. The SI is heavy and drops out of the air quickly. However, the CI is MUCH lighter and hangs in the air much longer. Do yourself a big favor and keep this stuff out of your lungs.

9.       If you think you are done masking, you probably are a professional painter or you are completely wrong. Masking sucks. Seriously. However, you will be glad you did. Buy good quality masking tape in varying widths. Aluminum foil is your friend. It will cover wires and odd shapes when masking tape may not.

10.   Think about your masking. Determine how you are going to spray a section before you fire up the sprayer. My example was the sliding door on the side of the van. There was a section at the bottom that I had thought would be sprayed. However, there was no way to get a sprayer to the area. I ended up taping a bit higher and saving myself a lot of heartache.

11.   Walk your vehicle every couple of sprayer fills and look for overspray. The Lizardskin is pretty forgiving when it is wet. However, it is pretty stubborn when it has dried.

12.   Have a spatula or ladle or both to help get the product out of almost empty buckets. This stuff is expensive and you have already purchased it. Use it.

13.   Be ready to protect it. By some Top Coat for areas that will remain exposed. And if you are going to be doing the floor like I did in the van, have your subfloor ready to lay down over it. This stuff is not paint. It maintains a slightly rubbery texture. Don’t walk directly on it and not expect it to take a beating.

14.   Wear something you really hate. I mean like a jersey of a team you hate. A crappy Christmas sweater.  Whatever you are wearing will be trash. Those guys in the video make it look like a super clean application and for the most part it is but you are going to get it on you. It just happen. Bragging rights. Stay out of the wind and yes, it does pour into the sprayer easier than you would think.

15.   Prepare to be amazed. I had high expectations. But I watched the videos and I read the directions. (Crazy, right?) But doing this will save you from a bad experience. Every person I spoke to at LizardSkin was awesome and friendly. Don’t decide to do this on a Friday night after a few beers and start spraying Saturday morning. Do your homework and reap the benefits.

I am sure there are others but these are the heavy hitters.



I also discussed how I used the ZOOM H4N Audio recorder to get a baseline before the install and comparison results after the install and before anything else was done like installing the subfloors. Here is a trick. The ZOOM H4N fits really well in a phone caddy. This is how it looked from the driver’s seat.



There are several pics of the masking process and the installation in the Photo Gallery

Click HERE to see them.





LS Comp A L50Here is a graphical representation taken directly from a program called Audacity. The blue shows the amplitude of the sound in the van before the Lizardskin was installed.

The orange is laid directly over the top. It certainly shows the amplitude being lower. Using a comparison program in Audacity shows:

Background (Blue)
Time started = 0 hour(s), 0 minute(s), 0.00 seconds.
Time ended = 0 hour(s), 1 minute(s), 37.52 seconds.
Average RMS = -21.2 dB.

Foreground (Orange)
Time started = 0 hour(s), 0 minute(s), -1.00 seconds.
Time ended = 0 hour(s), 1 minute(s), 37.52 seconds.
Average RMS = -18.3 dB.

Difference = 2.9 Average RMS dB.


Check out the audio comparison in the podcast and let me know what you think. As usual, I appreciate the listens and the encouragement that quite a few people are posting and sending.

Stay in touch and keep the course.


Road Read – Main Floors and Wall and Ceiling Panel Ribs (Not BBQ Ribs) 7-22-16

Walls, Floors and Colors.

Another trip to the Hardware Store. This time to pick up the paneling for the walls. There is roughly 252 square feet of walls and ceiling to cover and I have decided to do this with a 1/4 inch thick Pine panel from Home Depot. My original intent was to do it in Cedar but the pine was more readily available, lighter and I decided to stain the boards with some lighter colors and the reds in the Cedar would not have worked well.


The calculations are based on the rough measurements that a side was 7 feet tall by 12 feet long giving an estimated square footage of 84 feet. Multiply that times 3 (Left, Right, Ceiling) brings us up to 253 sq.ft.

Each of the packages covers 14 square feet meaning 18 packs would do the trick. However at only a quarter inch thick, these panels can be slightly delicate. In spite of my best effort to get the best packages of the ones available, I still found a couple of pieces that had some chips missing after I arrived home.

I still bought two extra bundles to have on hand if necessary and it is a good practice to have about 10% more than you think you will need for bad pieces and odd cuts. And this interior is going to require some tricky, odd cuts. The passenger side wall will require less due to the sliding door that I do not plan on covering with planking (although that may be subject to change as well), however the ceiling section cover more than 12 feet in length.

I think I have enough and I can return what I don’t need.

The current (and I do mean current and subject to change ) plan is to patchwork the sage, blue and white across the wall paneling with a very occasional darker piece done in the brown. I wanted to stick with light colors in order to ward off any of the cave type aesthetics if possible. The cabinets and bed will be done with the brown.


I plan on doing some test staining to see how things look.

Which brings me to the next quandary in this adventure. The current plan is to drill the necessary holes in the ribs on the walls to allow 1/2 by 3 inch boards to be attached with the use of molly bolts. For those not familiar with molly bolts, they are the ones that allow you to hang heavy stuff on sheetrock or on walls where you do not have access to the back to secure a nut on a bolt. You drill a hole and slip the molly bolt through it and it expands on the other side thus preventing the bolt from coming back through.

I can afford to lose a little of the width of the floor plan and this will provide (hopefully) adequate mounting points for the wall planks.

Ceiling Plank MountThe ceiling may be a bit more difficult.

The plan here is to cut down some 2 x 4 pieces of lumber to a trapezoid shape that will snug up to each side of the van ceiling ribs. They would be bolted to each side where they did not interfere with the AC install and would look like this. Ford could have made tyhis much easier by just having vertical sections on the ribs instead of it necking down at an angle.

The red shows the pieces that will be needed if this method is used.

By doing the ceiling plank installs like this, I keep more of my overall headroom. Not a huge deal in most of the can but where there are lower areas like where the Air Conditioning controls are located (overhead) and the 12 Volt Fan sticks down a bit, I would like to keep these as far above my cranium as possible.

This will require some time in front of the table saw and I am betting a few tries to get the dimensions just right.

While it might be some time before all of the planks are installed, I need to continue to figure out issues like this. I know that there will be some electrical conduit running behind the planks for lighting, the vent and even the AC / Heat Pump but understanding how I will eventually get the planks mounted is important now.

At the pic at the top, you can also see in addition to my 4 shiny new wood working pencils, some 2×2 boards. I picked these up to work with over the next few weeks as I start to figure out my cabinets and bed dimensions. I think that will take up several articles all on its own.

Also ordered this week was the actual flooring. At least the flooring that will be installed while the rest of the walls, ceilings, insulation, electronics, bedding and cabinetry is figured out. (I just got overwhelmed a bit there.) It may be the last flooring installed and if I find I don’t care for it or even if it gets mangled during the above installs, I can replace it. It was cheap and also from Home Depot. I present to you……. Coastal Travertine.

Coastal Travertine

A bit over a buck and a quarter per square foot, it didn’t break the bank. I also liked the way it looked with some of the wood stains that were shown above. This stuff has a decent wear rating and is 8mm thick. There was just no need for any thing thicker since I already have a solid subfloor and as mentioned above, I want to have as much vertical area as possible.

Since I spent quite a bit of time on the subfloors already, I have a plan on how I may save myself some pain and frustration on this section. I plan on assembling enough of the flooring to cover the bottom of the van but I plan on doing this with the material upside down. Once this is laid out on the garage floor, I will remove the subfloors and invert them on top of the main floor. This should, in theory, provide me with a excellent pattern to trace.

Once marked with an outline, I can number the flooring planks and dismantle them, cut them where needed with the jigsaw and then reassemble in the van.

This flooring and at least a small portion of the wall planks need to be installed so I can start on the design of the cabinets and bed with out consistently trying to factor in the measurements adjustments for the thickness of the floor and walls when attached to the ribs.

After the ribs for the wall and ceiling planks has been figured out, created and installed, I am thinking it is going to be very close to the time to cut some holes in the roof for the AC and vents as well as another for the shore power inlet. But that is another conversation for another day.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

Keep the course,



010 Spoken Compass – Progress Update 7-20-16

All over the place on this one but there was a lot to cover.

I am going to do a longer episode on the trials and tribulations involved with the Lizardskin install. I have a lot of data and notes that I want to share with those that might be considering making the effort to get all those lizards into a project of their own.

Just me on this one. Enjoyed a Pedernales Brewery Texas Hop Bomb 2016 while I made it. It is an American Style IPA at about 7.5% ABV. Sweet but very enjoyable.

It is a Single Malt and Single Hop IPA which is why it is called a SMaSH IPA. Learn something ever damn day.

I go into some kind of diatribe about finding skilled specialist and then one on limiting the number of vendors in your build. Opinions only and worth what you paid for it. Your mileage may vary.

I also cover some of the plans that I am pulling together for the short term. Flooring, wall ribs, wall planks, electronics, batteries, AC install and lastly but not leastly, window tint. Like I said, all over the place.

I got mine done over at American Window Tint in Katy, Texas. The Beav did the work and I am pleased with the results. He used Suntek Window Film. The ceramic kind.

American Window Tint

Thanks for the listen. Lots more coming up soon including the big review of the Lizardskin as well as some floor layouts.

Keep the course.


Road Read – The Floors Beneath the Floors – Subfloors! 7-6-16

Subfloors – Making a solid foundation to live on.

So it only makes sense to start the floor and work our way up from there.  When I started on the floors I knew that I wanted to put in the Lizardskin prior to putting the floors down or even the sub floors for that matter.

20160504_192509aFloor Leveling Slats

The bottom of the van had a corrugated surface similar to the bed of a truck and I wanted to make sure that over time the floor does not become weak and sink down in the lower levels.
To avoid this, I decided to fill in the low spots with plywood in order to bring them up to the level of the high spots.  It sounds easier than it actually was.  Each of the low spots was a different width and there were some unique shapes in the corners and around the wheel wells.  Additionally each of the leveling slats had an edge bevel that 45°on each side.  The difference of the height between the high and the low spots was about .38 of an inch.  The lumber that was purchased to make the leveling slats was half inch plywood.  Half inch plywood is actually around 15/32 or .46 of an inch thick.  After each leveling slat was cut at the proper width with the beveled edge, each piece was then planed down to the proper height.


Once all the leveling slats were cut and in place and all the unique areas had custom pieces cut for them such as in the corners and around the sliding door and the wheel wells, it was then time to cut the subfloor that would sit on top of the leveling slats.

The section that I wanted to cover from behind the seats to the rear doors was roughly 139 inches long by around 6 feet wide.  I used three 4 x 8 foot sheets of half inch plywood to cover this area.  This means I had two sections that were 48 inches long and one section that was in the center that was 43 inches long.  I used cardboard to make templates so that the subfloor would cover all of the van floor. The templates were transferred to the 4 x 8 sheets of plywood and cut them out using a jigsaw.


It is at this point that I sprayed the interior with the Lizardskin sound insulation and ceramic heat insulation.  Notes on that install will be in another right up.

At this point I had the leveling slats and the sub floors cut.  Now I needed to join the two together to make them rigid and reduce any noise from vibration. First, I put the leveling slats and the proper positions and late in the subfloor section closest to the rear doors.  On the subfloor I marked where the center of each leveling slat was beneath it.  I made this mark on both ends of the subfloor.  With a ruler I marked the line that showed the center of each leveling slat below.  With ¾ inch screws I secured the leveling slats to the underside of the section of subfloor.  I then removed this action and turned it over so I could mark where the edge of each leveling slats was located on the bottom of the subfloor.  Each slat was marked with a unique identifier.  (Example: A1, A2, A3.) I again turned this section back over and removed all the screws that secured the leveling slats to the bottom.

Once this was done, I then turned the subfloor section upside down again and then glued and screwed the leveling slats to the bottom of the subfloor.  All this was done on a level floor and an additional piece of plywood was laid on top and weights were placed on top of it.  These weights were left in place until the glue dried which was around 24 hours.



This process was repeated for the other two sections of subfloor.  Once the sections were completed, each section was coated with Thompson’s Weather Sealant, let dry and installed in the van. This step probably isn’t necessary but I wanted to protect the floors from rain and mildew.



I hope this helps explain the path I took to create my sub floors.  If you have any questions, please let me know through the spoken compass contact page.


Many thanks and keep the course,

Johnny Roberts

009 Spoken Compass – Pre Lizardskin Install with Mike 6-28-16

A quick podcast as Mike and I enjoy a few beers and discuss the imminent install of the Lizardskin Insulation.

Common sense will tell you that preparation is the key. Making sure that everything is masked off and all the metal is prepped correctly is going to be key to a successful install.

Exhaustion will tell you that what you have done is close enough. Don’t listen to this guy. He is an ass and will lead you to a sorry fate.

I spent a lot of time on the masking. In fact, all told it was over 8 hours of just masking and a ridiculous amount of Blue Tape.

Masking 1 Masking 2 20160630_220245







I taped long into the night after this podcast was recorded and still didn’t get it all finished. I decided to take a rest and get some sleep. I got up early the next morning and was back at it long before the sun came up.

The good news is that I got it done and as of this writing the first 2 coats of sound insulation are complete. The down side is I still have two more coats of the heat insulation and a substantial amount of the Lizardskin Top Coat to apply in areas that will not be covered by flooring or siding.