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Old 08-04-2009, 05:56 PM   #1
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Rooftop Decks

The other weekend I built a deck on the top of Buscephus. It is 8'W x 12' L, so it is just under half the length of the roof. That's plenty large enough for my buddies and I to sit around and drink beer. I will post pictures soon.

However, I have some questions. The first question is for anyone who has a deck already on top of their bus. I should've asked this before building mine, but what the heck. Have any of you had issues with the DOT, such as getting pulled over, cited, hassled, etc. due to your deck?

Has anyone had issues with overloading or exceeding the bus'es weight rating due to large deck add-ons?

Has anyone noticed significant differences in the bus'es handling/draft/aerodynamics after adding a deck?

And the last question goes for people who have built decks on their bus and who haven't. I have not added my side rails yet. I am contemplating building them on hinges, so they will collapse flat when traveling. When I am at my destination, they can be raised up, then locked into place on the corners where they meet.

This seems like a logical idea, but I think the hinges might compromise strength and rigidity.

Otherwise, I might build the side rails permanently fixed, making them very solid. I should be able to keep my clearance below 13', as I notice most underpasses are at least that high.

I looked at Steve's album of RAGBRAI buses from 2009. http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/v/Skoolies/Ragbrai2009/ , and I see that most side rails appear to be fixed. And by the way, RAGBRAI is awesome, for those of you who are unfamiliar with it.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:17 AM   #2
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Re: Rooftop Decks

No experience here, either, but we really want to put a deck on ours eventually.

I love the idea of building a 2 foot rail and having an additional 2 foot that folds down. I am extremely scared of heights and would need that much railing to feel comfortable on top. Silly, but true.

I'd also like to know if people with decks have had any trouble with DOT. I hope to hear more.
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:23 PM   #3
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Re: Rooftop Decks

Yes, I have seen the square tubing method used before, and I agree that it would be very rigid. However, I am planning on working with the pressure-treated lumber that I acquired for free.

-Adam
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:40 PM   #4
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Re: Rooftop Decks

How are the pressure treated decks bolted to the bus skin? Once the joists are setup, the rest would theoretically be just like building any other deck. But the actual method of attaching the wood perpendicularly to the metal has me stumped. Are angle brackets used? Special bolts driven into the wood from the interior? Some other fashion?
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:40 AM   #5
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Re: Rooftop Decks

Sorry, Smitty... the search isn't finding anything in the gallery for "Sean" or "roof". Could you tell me the name of his gallery?
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:59 AM   #6
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Re: Rooftop Decks

Thank you!
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:29 PM   #7
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Re: Rooftop Decks

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyaustintx
Sean will tell you he would have done some thing different and cheaper...
Like paint before putting the deck on? When I read his blog, I was wondering how he was going to manage painting the roof... Ooops!
Ever since I saw his brackets, I've loved that look. Very cool. Almost "steam punk". However, since I want to add an awning/shade to the windows, I will probably do it slightly differently. Still working out the details and costs. But that's several months down the road still.

Thanks again, guys for the great ideas!!!
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:09 AM   #8
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Re: Rooftop Decks

The ideas i'm gettin from you guys! Another gallery here shows a roof top deck for sleeping, watching stars or putting bikes/kayaks up top. No railing so i'm sure they weren't worried about height problems. One cool thing they did was put a rope ladder inside the bus so they could access the roof from the 'escape hatch' in the ceiling. This is I thought was wayyy cool!
the bus build "A bus without a name yet" (something like that, but they had some really good ideas and lots of pics)
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:38 PM   #9
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Re: Rooftop Decks

Yes, paint the roof before adding the deck.

Though in my own defense, I was able to get under the deck fairly well with a roller on a long handle. But yes, paint the bus body before adding the deck, windows, etc.
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Old 08-13-2009, 04:05 PM   #10
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Re: Rooftop Decks

Yeah, I decided to say "screw the side rails". I had tried making collapsible rails, but they seemed to flimsy. A group of us went to a rodeo last Saturday night and parked the bus in the shade, sat outside in chairs, and grilled hot dogs and drank beer before going into the show. No one was interested in getting on top of my bus and sitting on my new deck, so I sat up there by myself and enjoyed the views while trying to stay involved in the conversation on the ground. I guess if I'm the only one that's going to use the deck, and since I don't fear heights, then forget the side rails.

-Adam
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