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Old 11-03-2021, 03:15 PM   #1
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Roof Raise Resources

Looking to do a 12" roof raise on my 32' International. I've considered outsourcing to someone else as I have no welding experience, but I've found few options and they are all crazy expensive. I also would love to at least be able to work on it some.

- What options are there for outsourcing the roof raise completely?
- Are there options for having help from someone with experience to coach you through the process, what materials, etc?
- How difficult is it to do yourself?
- What is the cost of doing it yourself vs. having someone else do it?

Also, not sure if 12" is too much. Our bus' internal height is 6' 1", and I'm 6', so not sure if 12 inches is more than enough, and 6" would do.

Taking all tips, tricks and etc.

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Old 11-03-2021, 04:46 PM   #2
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IMHO, 6" would be more than enough for a 6'er.
I would never ay the crazy price some outfits charge for a rof raise. There are enough tutorials to do it yourself if you just hire a competant welder. I've seen prices in the $4-$9k range It could be done for less than $1000 if you do it all yourself.
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Old 11-03-2021, 04:53 PM   #3
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We charge $200 per linear foot (front to back) of roof. On a 32-foot bus, if it's a flat front, that's $6400. And of that, right now, materials constitute about $1800-2000 of that. I tell you that to be transparent and to let you know what it could cost to have someone like us do it.

But...we also recently document a roof raise with all the steps. I think you might find it helpful. Our goal was to help people who might want to do it themselves. Of course, it's also great marketing...I'm not blind to that or trying to act naive...sometimes people realize they want someone else to do it, after seeing the process. But we show all the steps and lots of detail and pointers. I hope the videos help you:

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL...9pxqxRelSBl7uW
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Old 11-03-2021, 07:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
We charge $200 per linear foot (front to back) of roof. On a 32-foot bus, if it's a flat front, that's $6400. And of that, right now, materials constitute about $1800-2000 of that. I tell you that to be transparent and to let you know what it could cost to have someone like us do it.

But...we also recently document a roof raise with all the steps. I think you might find it helpful. Our goal was to help people who might want to do it themselves. Of course, it's also great marketing...I'm not blind to that or trying to act naive...sometimes people realize they want someone else to do it, after seeing the process. But we show all the steps and lots of detail and pointers. I hope the videos help you:

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL...9pxqxRelSBl7uW

Is that materials cost inclusive of sheet metal, hat channel extension, new side metal, rivets drill bits and etc?
I'm asking because the price of materials has gone crazy. Zinc coated steel rivets have nearly doubled for us.
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Old 11-03-2021, 09:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by HamSkoolie View Post
Is that materials cost inclusive of sheet metal, hat channel extension, new side metal, rivets drill bits and etc?
I'm asking because the price of materials has gone crazy. Zinc coated steel rivets have nearly doubled for us.
It is. We use stainless steel closed-end rivets and they're almost 50 cents each. That's a chunk right there. I don't see that $1k for materials is reasonable...at least not now. We're closer to $2k for a mid-sized bus...and over that for a 40 footer. And we price based on a 12-inch roof raise, so I can get two lengths of skin from a sheet of steel. If the customer needs a higher roof raise, that will increase the materials price.
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Old 11-05-2021, 10:39 AM   #6
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I did a 12" raise on my 30' dognose. I'm very familiar with welding and sheetmetal work so the project was well within my scope of abilities. I decided to delete the windows and went that route for the raise. Just like many things, there are several ways to skin the cat. With my process of having hat channel fabricated to match existing,* 16ga galv for the walls, and 18 ga for the back and the front roof transition(I wanted to avoid the forehead look) I'd say I'm in the $2000 range for materials with rivets. That being said, that was almost two years ago steel prices and I only had 20LF of wall on each side to skin with 16ga so I got away with 2 10' sheets/side.

Raising the roof and welding in the uprights is not a bad job and can be accomplished mostly in a day once you have everything lined up. But skinning and all the final details takes a lot of time. It took me about a day to hang each sheet

After (mostly) finishing that part of my build I look at the price that rossvtaylor is charging and think that is very resonable; especially coming from a guy that has a lot of constructive input on these forums. I think your judgement of price has to factor in your time, what that is worth and whether or not learning the skills to build this particular project are going to be used in your future endeavors; or is learning it just for the sake of saving money.

As far as doing a raise yourself for $1000 in materials, I think that is an unrealistic suggestion even though it's coming from a guy that I totally believe can accomplish the task. Being resourceful and creative can indeed yield cost savings but is typically at a cost of time, effort, and quite frankly having an in depth knowledge of what you are doing.
Comparing that statement to a person that is going to do the process professionally with new materials is apples to oranges. ...Even if the professional went through whatever processes to keep materials under $1000, undoubtedly they would have a lot more time into the build which probably would yield near the same price point (or more) of the professional build with sub par materials or building standards.
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Old 11-14-2021, 01:28 AM   #7
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My first roof raise 30 years ago was done using Douglas fir and marine epoxy and wooden boat building techniques. It was on a island with cheap wood available from a small mill. Most expensive part was the marine epoxy. Dang, Im really missing the cheap building materials from those days. Im concerned the prices might not go down again. I used a lot of wood on that bus.
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Old 11-14-2021, 03:12 AM   #8
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My roof raise was done with bolts and rivets - I decided not to weld any of it. Sure it might be stronger if I welded it too but it also might’ve been stronger if I used thicker steel or a million other options. Mine is plenty strong but unfortunately I’ve lost most of the pictures I took documenting it. If I flip the bus over on the highway it might break up but I suspect any welded roof raise would as well… who knows… I don’t want to test it. One thing is for sure is it’s much stronger than my old class A motorhome.
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Old 11-19-2021, 03:23 PM   #9
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I am wrapping up my 18” raise on my 40’ Thomas and boy have material costs skyrocketed. No regrets, but when I originally budgeted for roof raise materials it was sub-2.2k

I spent almost that for sheet metal alone. All in I’m at about ~$3800 for metal alone. I am blessed with unlimited time to complete it as a guest at Rock-n-Ruth’s Open invitation at Freedom Field. I also shopped around for a bus that was 99% screws vs rivets and fasteners have so far cost me approx ~$30 to replace lost and stripped screws. My hat channel extensions are welded in 11ga square tube and windows are 14ga square tube. A bit on the heavy side but this bus is stronger now then it was when I started.

16ga and 18ga sheet currently ranges from 120-160 a sheet and needed 12 for my raise. I went 16ga as the stouter option and less likely to ‘wave’ and ‘buckle.’ All my sheet metal is panel bonded and sikaflex-ed.

I had to purchase a welder and generator capable(barely) of powering it.

All in I’m at about $6.5k for a self completed raise on a full size rear engine bus. Compare that to current ‘market’ prices and it’s not too much cheaper than having it done.
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Old 11-19-2021, 04:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Finley View Post
Looking to do a 12" roof raise on my 32' International. I've considered outsourcing to someone else as I have no welding experience, but I've found few options and they are all crazy expensive. I also would love to at least be able to work on it some.

- What options are there for outsourcing the roof raise completely?
- Are there options for having help from someone with experience to coach you through the process, what materials, etc?
- How difficult is it to do yourself?
- What is the cost of doing it yourself vs. having someone else do it?

Also, not sure if 12" is too much. Our bus' internal height is 6' 1", and I'm 6', so not sure if 12 inches is more than enough, and 6" would do.

Taking all tips, tricks and etc.
Learning to weld really isn't that hard, if you want some confidence in your skills sign up for a welding class at your local community college. It's inexpensive and will give you a wealth of knowledge.
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Old 11-28-2021, 07:23 PM   #11
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Thanks all for the info!

Noticed there seemed some variation between what gauge is used for the siding. We are only planning on raising 12", and I would imagine 18" would be fine. Am i correct in thinking that or should I do something lower, such as 16"?

What gauge is typical for the supports?

We are planning on replacing the windows with RV windows. What gauge for the framing?
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Old 11-28-2021, 08:05 PM   #12
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Supports seems to vary. If you use hat channels (not my personal choice) the ones available from skoolie.com will be matched to your bus type when ordered.

Ive seen multiple gages used but I went 11ga (1/8in) 1 square tube with 1/8 spacers for my supports as 1-1/8in square tube would be a special order and prohibitively expensive unless you got a family member who works at a metal supply depot.

For sheet metal 18ga would be the minimum thickness, 16ga IMO is a better choice. Less likely to waving, buckling and creasing under stress/use.

The dimensions of your square tube would vary greatly from bus to bus. Best to expose a hat channel and measure the ID to be sure.

The hight of your raise is subjective. IMO anything over 18in will create hight issues with roof attachments and the higher you go the more side load you create. For instance adding 18in in hight on a 40 bus adds ~60 sq/fr of surface area on the side of the bus adding to its sail effect. See semis blown off road videos on YT for reference. Also without a transition in the front you are adding significant wind resistance at speed when driving. My opinion, YMMV.
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Old 11-28-2021, 09:07 PM   #13
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My sheet metal was 18 ga. As close of a match as I could get to the rest of the bus which is probably about 19 because it was in between 18 and 20

Something else you may want to consider - for my RV windows which I put all around the bus, I didn’t put any support framing in. The 18 ga sheet metal is more than enough to support the windows. All I did was cut the window hole and put some 1x1 wood in around the inside perimeter of the window so the frame has something to clamp on to. The inside was spray foamed and there has been no problems with movement at all.
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Old 11-28-2021, 09:33 PM   #14
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I went with 16 raise on mine. One reason is I didnt want to waste any sheet metal material. A 4x8 or 4x12 sheet of metal can be cut into 3 strips 16 wide.
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Old 11-29-2021, 12:02 PM   #15
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JUST FOR INFO
I called up for prices on 16ga cold rolled sheet just before leaving on the current trip.



16ga 5x12' $316

16ga 4x10' $210


16ga hot rolled 4x8' $156 sheet..... not sure what the difference is but I've been told hot rolled IS NOT the material to use.
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Old 11-29-2021, 01:25 PM   #16
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Holy hell! Cold rolled is up over 300% since last year. I just bought my cold rolled 4x8 16ga sheet a month ago at $142 out the door. THAT was up almost 100% then. I thought it was outrageous then. Where is that pricing based? Mine was bought in NM.
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Old 11-29-2021, 09:08 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by enigmamdw View Post
Holy hell! Cold rolled is up over 300% since last year. I just bought my cold rolled 4x8 16ga sheet a month ago at $142 out the door. THAT was up almost 100% then. I thought it was outrageous then. Where is that pricing based? Mine was bought in NM.

Medford Oregon at a major steel supplier.
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Old 12-27-2021, 09:25 PM   #18
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HamSkoolie,

Where in Medford? I am still in the bus locating phase but I like to plan everything out and flex my OCD muscle!!! Thanks in advance.

LandSharkRN
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Old 12-28-2021, 01:20 AM   #19
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HamSkoolie,

Where in Medford? I am still in the bus locating phase but I like to plan everything out and flex my OCD muscle!!! Thanks in advance.

LandSharkRN

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