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Old 08-21-2014, 03:43 AM   #1
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Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

I'm planning on building a deck on top of my transit bus which will be multi-functional - the front half will support a solar-panel array while the back half will be for storage and as observation deck. To be on the safe side I wanted to make sure it could support up to 2000 lbs, so I thought the best bet is to tie the support studs to the bus body's outer structure/studs, which will require cutting holes in the roof, 10 in all.

So my question is does anyone have an idea of the best way to make this water-tite? I know there are some really good caulks/sealants, like Sikaflex 715, but I'm wondering if I should use some kind of flashing, like a roof jack of some kind? I'm planning on using 1-1/2" square tubing for the supports. Any input or better ideas is appreciated
;?D
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Old 08-21-2014, 05:55 PM   #2
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

Rather than installing it through the roof of the bus, I'm going to look into installing it on the struts (studs? The things the steel is riveted to. WALL THINGIES) along the side of the bus, like a giant roll cage. That way the 'cage' can be removed in sections (I'm thinking 4' sections) and the roof cleaned/painted without having to figure out a way to wiggle mop-pads and rollers underneath the observation deck.
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:19 PM   #3
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

I have been using the rubber strip stuff about 1/8 thick and 3/4inch wide that has been used for years on rvs...let me look

this stuff or similar
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Rv-Trail...3c397c&vxp=mtr
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:34 PM   #4
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

If you are going to poke holes all over your roof then you might want to use Henry 212 Clear All Purpose Patch. You might want to keep a tube on hand for future leaks as well. We are leery of poking holes in our non-leaking roof. So far we only have one hole (black tank vent) and are still trying to decide if it is worth punching any other holes for solar exhaust vents.

http://us.henry.com/roofing/roofing-sealants/

to coat the roof we used the 287 Solarflex Elastrometric
http://us.henry.com/roofing/reflective- ... f-coatings
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:20 AM   #5
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

Yes I understand many folks are hesitant to make perforations in an otherwise perfectly sound roof, lol, but that said, there are many people and companies that do so and there's lots of examples, like this one for instance:


That's exactly what I want on top of my transit bus, and the deck is pretty sweet too
Of course as in many pics it's difficult to tell how they did it, but I have some ideas of my own, but I'd like some input from people who have experience in successfully doing this.
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File Type: jpeg RV roof deck.jpeg (53.4 KB, 375 views)
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:39 AM   #6
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

Hey Bansil, yeah that looks like some products I've seen online, also found something called Eternabond that seems to have some good reviews, so that's one possible route. I was hoping to find some kind of actual boot or jack/flashing designed specifically for this application, as in this pic of a bus deck.


There LOOKS like there's something attached to the roof around the support, unless it's actually bolted to the roof, which is possible if it's metal and the underlying roof brace has been beefed up to take the weight.
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File Type: jpg Nice roof deck.jpg (44.1 KB, 368 views)
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:59 AM   #7
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

Hey Mel,
Well I've got some re-siding to deal with which will conflict with my ability to attach the vertical studs/supports to the outside of my transit. Plus I'm thinking you either deal with just ten big holes or 40-50 small holes, any of which could possible leak as the vibration from all the weight/movement deteriorates them over time, and so I chose the apparent lesser of two evils, lol. But imo a well designed roof jack/boot sealed with top-of-the-line marine grade sealant like Silkaflex, should do the trick. Getting it bonded depends on using a really good solvent mixture to really get it CLEAN, say acetone/MEK/toluene, that should do it, then rough it up with some 180 grit sand clothe and finally a primer if the adhesive/sealant calls for it.

As for working on the roof, I'm with you there cuz you never know when you might need to fix something (especially in this case, lol), so my deck will be designed with re-movable grate material. The deck will actually consist of two parts, a light-weight front area for the solar panels, with a skinny cat-walk down the middle to access/repair/clean them, and then the rear half will be much beefier to hold the weight of storage (around 400 lbs.) and the weight of 4 - 6 adults if I want to have friends up for a party

This pic looks like what I have in mind, just imagine that it's on a slightly larger scale, and the AC unit is actually a storage box, and instead of the solar panels in the back there's a party deck, easy peasy right ;?D

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Old 08-22-2014, 09:40 AM   #8
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightfoot
40-50 small holes
Dunno how ya got that number. I figured connect the cage like ya do the RV-style awnings (ever notice those are connected to the sidewalls and not the roof? I just noticed that). A single connection just under the roof line and one towards the lower part of the 'arm', so to speak.

I are not technical. :P

So I'd be looking at about 8-16 holes, depending on how long I make the observation deck (it needs to be large enough to hold at least two people, a chair to sit in, a massive bowl of Halloween candy, and a paintball cannon, so it would be anywhere from 6 foot to 8 foot).
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Old 08-22-2014, 04:39 PM   #9
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

Ah, I see, well guess we're talking about 2 different systems, but with the 1 ton weight capacity that I'm planning on I don't think something like that would work. I thought you were suggesting, as others have, of running vertical supports on the outside of the bus and bolted through into the outer body structure. You'd need at least 4 - 5 bolts for each member (I believe in overkill when it comes to anything involving safety) so with 10 supports that how I came up with that number

I suppose another option is to add additional steel roof trusses and also add additional support members to the existing vertical studs, then just screw through into the roof trusses and again use plenty of sealant and caulking. Hmmm, decisions, decisions....
;?D
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:53 PM   #10
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?



it would be easier to buy another keg.....drunk folks won't get hurt if they fall off



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Old 08-23-2014, 03:05 AM   #11
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

One thing that I'm unsure of is if I went the latter route and just bolted the deck through the roof into the roof trusses, would sandwiching the fiberglass between the deck strut and the roof truss create a problem? I wonder if too much compression might fracture, crack or even crush the fiberglass? If it were a steel bus I'd have no worries, but I just see problems with all that weight (which is why I keep going back to the other idea ;?D

Found these on Amazon (much cheaper than on eBay) and sounds like just what the doc ordered
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:51 AM   #12
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

Lightfoot,

a) Flat roof deck - solar farm:
1 - Make sure you don't shadow any part of any panel in a series!! You immediately loose a MAJOR part of your panel's power (see Handybob's solar-rants! http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/2014 ... cribe-blog) - this is a MUST read it ALL, BEFORE you start spending any money on anything solar!!

2 - IF you are decided for the deck, no matter what, then make sure to cover most of the roof and just leave some SMALL spaces in the deck for air-circulation - might want to maintain a 2-3" space between the roof and the deck - what you get is a "Safari-roof"!! ...should cut unwanted solar heating a LOT!!

[Google it!] - https://www.google.com/search?q=Safari+ ... f&tbm=isch

"The Station Wagons saw the first expansion of the Land Rover range. Station Wagons were fitted with a "Safari Roof" which consisted of a second roof skin fitted on top of the vehicle. This kept the interior cool in hot weather and reduced condensation in cold weather. Vents fitted in the roof allowed added ventilation to the interior. " - shamelessly snatched from wikipedia

b) Monster roof support: At least one skoolie member did the roof raise and deck in ONE construction!! (...FM if I can find the thread.... )
Basically he used the reinforcement tubes (square or rectangular) in the window posts as the stand offs for the deck. All he did is remove the outside skin on the posts and make cut-outs the roof where the window posts meet the roof. Then instead of just overlapping the windowposts with the square tubing reinforcement, he just let the square tubes go all the way through to the roof! Bingo roof deck supported all the way down to the floor frame!

3 - You see, roof raise and roof deck are in one go! Now - ...need to find a way to integrate that rear deck in the whole mess!



Cheers,

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Old 08-28-2014, 10:08 PM   #13
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

Thanks Thjakits, and I do understand about the shadow thing, but if you noticed in the pic I posted earlier, there's space between the sets of panels and that is what I'd like to do - the center space would be occupied by a catwalk to allow me to access them for cleaning and maintenance, and since I'm planning to make them tiltable, the shadow factor is going to make it an interesting challenge to say the least. And yeah I'm planning on leaving at least a couple or more inches between the panels and the roof to help keep them as cool as possible.

Of course how the whole thing actually works in the real world will certainly be more complicated, like being able to park at the best possible direction for the panels to work at peak performance. I'm sure that's not always going to possible, or at least it will make finding the right place to park more difficult, but only time will tell. I'm sure others must have had to deal with this problem, anyone care to share their experiences?

Also, I'm pretty much decided that I'm not raising the roof, just the deck, with the extension over the porch in back, that should be enough of a challenge and I'm sure that's stretching my conversion budget pretty thin as it is,
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:26 AM   #14
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

some older coaches late 40's/early 50's that were built to be shipped to Saudi had a 2nd allum roof on them also, to keep back of bus cooler for the princes-> pd4501 scenicruisers
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:50 AM   #15
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Re: Punching holes in my roof - best way to seal em?

MAN, those are great old buses! I'd love to get my hands on one of those, do the interior in an art deco motif and the outside in an antiqued gold finish, lol, THAT would be the cats pajamas

Wow, I like what they did with this one, nice gull wing, but that's got to be the most expensive ice cream truck ever

Edit: Huh, something's not working with the images, can't seem to get it to upload...
HAh, fixed it, temporarily forgot how, lol.
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