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Old 11-08-2019, 07:28 PM   #1
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Roof raise for closet space

Hello, Grace here. Long time lurker first time poster. Looking to buy my bus when I finish film school but I wanna have a solid plan in place so I figured I would start posting and asking questions here.

So I romanticized the idea of a roof raise. I wanted to put a loft on each end of the bus, and have closet and vanity space with headroom underneath the loft in the back. However looking at clearance requirements that may not be possible.

But if I were to do the maximum "safe" roof raise, accounting for height of solar panels, would it be realistic to have enough space under the bed for hanging storage that sat lower? (High enough for a knee length dress and an extra foot) Could I still fit a desk/vanity underneath with enough headroom for me to sit on a rolling stool (that would be secured while driving) and roll down my closet space while picking out clothes?

As you can tell clothes are very important to me and a big reason I want this bus is to meet other people in alternative fashion communities so any other tips on hanging clothing storage/shoe storage are helpful as well.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:41 PM   #2
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IMO 8-12" is plenty of headroom without making it goofy and/or ungainly.
I think egos and idealism get in the way and that's what leads to the three foot roof raise caricatures.
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:51 AM   #3
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I'll make a stab at it. Like ECCB said, an 8-12 inch raise is usually enough. In your case, you may do well to work backwards and determine the height you need to satisfy your needs.


A knee-length dress plus a foot is what 4.5 feet (max). My sitting height in a rolling chair (I have a TALL sitting height) is 54". Adding a little for head room, that makes the bottom of the bed to be 60" ... 5 feet. A bed platform and mattress would add another 6 to 8 inches ... making the top of the bed 68" (5 feet 8 inches) from the floor.


Now, a loft bed would need a minimum of 24" to allow for tossing and turning or even proping up a little. So, your ceiling would need to be 82" (7 feet 8 inches). Assuming a 6' ceiling in the bus to start with, you would need to raise the roof 20" to gain the height needed ... and this does not include the height needed for insulation. So, perhaps a 24" raise would be needed.


A 2 foot raise would put the top surface (before solar and air conditioning) at 12 feet ... which is 18" lower than the legal maximum of 13'6".


Thus, it *is* doable.
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:21 AM   #4
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In my case, I have determined a school bus simply won't have enough living space for my needs and desires. I'm considering a 53' road trailer, a "Double Drop" dry van type (it will allow a *LOT* of "basement" storage!) and the living floor will be flush with the floor in the front. I also want/need a garage in back, enough to park a Suburban, though I can dual purpose the space as living/dining area when parked and the Suburban is unloaded.


I'll either need to find one with a low roof (under 13'6" height), lower the roof, or run low profile tires or modify the suspension, or use super-low-profile panels (those flexible mat style solar panels come to mind) if I want solar. Or I could just run over-height, if I wanted to risk it. Standing in the front of the trailer, typical headroom is ~9+ feet. In the drop section, headroom would likely be between 11-12 feet. And yes, as a truck driver, I know something this low to the ground can get hung on RR tracks and similar road/ground contours, so minding not only the overhead clearance as well as that underneath is needed while driving.


The walls and roof are pretty much dead flat (if not in reality, then at least in theory) so no working around curves will be needed. There will be no windows to delete, inner sheet metal or insulation to remove, no seats either. Most are plywood lined but that's usually not terribly difficult to remove (if a bit time consuming). No engines, transmissions, rear-gears, horsepower, emissions, or any of that to worry with. I could pull it with any reasonably available road tractor (I could even rent one if I move it only occasionally) or even hire one to do it for me.


Those of you familiar with me will know I already have a bus, and may be wondering why I'm here if I'm not converting mine to live in. I plan to make it a people-hauler for "The Big Game", party wagon, or something similar. And I drive it as a daily driver sometimes.
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:40 AM   #5
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Howdy Grace, welcome!

I'm looking for some good shoe storage ideas myself so I'll be keeping an eye on your build! Hope to see ya around!
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:10 AM   #6
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If you only need the height for a closet, it would be possible to build an inside closet that has a bottom that extends below the original floor a foot and a half to two feet. In various spots on a bus, there is room underneath between the chassis rails and the side skirts for storage; usually skooliers hang waste water tanks here and/or add underbody storage with external access doors, but you could build such storage so that the access to the box is from inside the bus. So you could have a 5' high closet of which, say, 3.5' is inside the bus and the additional 1.5' extends below the bus.

In fact, I'm now thinking about doing this myself as a result of your post. I'm currently rebuilding a large rusted-out section of my floor, and this is something I could do fairly easily right now. I'm trying to keep most of what I build below the level of the windows, but I haven't come up with a solution for how to hang my clothes yet without blocking any of the windows - this would do the trick.
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:26 AM   #7
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This is off topic but if you're not at SCAD it sounds like you should be.

Good luck with your build.
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
If you only need the height for a closet, it would be possible to build an inside closet that has a bottom that extends below the original floor a foot and a half to two feet. In various spots on a bus, there is room underneath between the chassis rails and the side skirts for storage; usually skooliers hang waste water tanks here and/or add underbody storage with external access doors, but you could build such storage so that the access to the box is from inside the bus. So you could have a 5' high closet of which, say, 3.5' is inside the bus and the additional 1.5' extends below the bus.

In fact, I'm now thinking about doing this myself as a result of your post. I'm currently rebuilding a large rusted-out section of my floor, and this is something I could do fairly easily right now. I'm trying to keep most of what I build below the level of the windows, but I haven't come up with a solution for how to hang my clothes yet without blocking any of the windows - this would do the trick.
Great idea! That rusted out wheel well of yours sure has you thinking outside the box, or at least building under the bus!
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:11 PM   #9
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Great idea! That rusted out wheel well of yours sure has you thinking outside the box, or at least building under the bus!
You kind of have to think outside the box when the box doesn't exist any more.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:51 PM   #10
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Haha. Good one.

Nice idea.. Johan
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Old 11-10-2019, 05:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by JDSquared View Post
This is off topic but if you're not at SCAD it sounds like you should be.

Good luck with your build.
Aaaaah I can't afford SCAD's crazy tuition. Georgia Film Academy it is for me! But they have good placement rates.

Thanks for all the advice folks! This bus is meant to be a kawaii dream as I don't see a lot of conversions out there that go outside the rustic/shabby chic/bohemian aesthetic
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