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Old 02-18-2018, 12:38 PM   #1
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Hello from Southwest Virginia

Hey everyone!

My wife and I want to build our own house, but need something in the shorter term and have found we are both really drawn to skoolies! We want to do the conversion ourselves (with a fairly large network of helpful friends and family), but arenít sure about timelines. So far some browsing on this forum and other research around the web has given us confidence that we can figure out how to do everything. We just want a realistic idea of how quickly we could get the bus livable - plumbing, wiring, basic kitchen area, bathroom, and sleeping area. We can put in bells and whistles as we go. Weíll be parking it outside of my parentsí house so will have access to modern comforts. Does it seem realistic to be able to get it to this point in 3 months or less with three people putting in about 15hrs of work a week each? Our goal would be to buy a bus in the next few weeks, make it livable by the end of May and move out of our expensive rental with the two of us, our two cats, and dog. Then spend the summer really making it comfortable and able to weather the winter. We are thinking of living in the bus full time for up to two years, then building our house, and would then use the skoolie part time for travel. Neither of us are experienced with any kind of building but my dad builds timber frame homes and has a lot of knowledgeable connections as well. We feel super excited but pretty nervous about getting into this project, but I think itís going to be a really rewarding experience.
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:00 PM   #2
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It's hard to say how long it would take to get a bus livable because nobody knows how fast or slow you work. Also one person's attention to detail cost many more hours than someone that just wants to get it done.

Most of us will tell you from experience that it's not nice living in a bus while you are stripping the interior and adding insulation. You will want insulation, regardless of summer or winter. The two preferred types of insulation are rigid foamboard and sprayfoam. Both are fairly labor intensive, although it's not heavy work. The sprayfoam is the most expensive route of these two types of insulation. Others have used Roxul and other types of insulation with adequate results.

I don't even know if you planned to strip the interior of you bus. If it's a live in you'll likely appreciate the insulation more than anything else. After that add the bells and whistles.
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response! We will definitely be fully stripping and insulating it; it gets fairly hot in the summer and very cold in the winter here so it’s very necessary haha. I don’t really know how to gauge how quickly we would be working, but I’m sure some people commenting their individual timelines would help give us at least a basic frame of reference. My wife, myself, and my dad would primarily be the ones working on it, with a few extra hands here and there. We are all pretty focused workers so I think aside from weather and redoing some rookie mistakes we would be working at a good pace!
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:42 PM   #4
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Things should work out well for you. You've got the right attitude. There is a period of time when you regret this decision to buy and convert a bus. Ignore that, it'll pass.

It's pretty much manual labor until you get past the deconstruction phase. I'm sure you have found the youtube videos to assist you in rivet removal. You can learn how to do anything on youtube.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:12 PM   #5
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