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Old 10-23-2008, 02:56 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
Posts: 39
Building Sleeping Loft - Advice ?

I was wondering what is the best way to build a sleeping loft on top of
a bus ?

We would like to do so without doing a full roof raise. There is already
an exisiting emergency exit hatch and we would like to just build a
small loft on top and then just cut the hatch opening bigger. We are
thinking simple and efficent both time and cost wise.

What would be the best way to do this, considering the sides are rounded
and we want to get as much room as possible ? Is there a way to build it
right up to the edge , or do we have to build it in a little to account
for the rounded corners ?

We would also rather use wood because it is easier for us and we can do
it in small steps rather than paying a lot to get someone out there to
weld. But if there is a good reason we should use meatal please let us

Initially we were going to do a vw on top but realized that finding, buying, towing and getting it up there will, in the end be harder for us than building it slowly with wood, which we can do piece by piece as our budget allows.

Any and all advice welcome.

~ Pixie

Enchanted Gypsy ~ Travel Diaries
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:57 PM   #2
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Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
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Re: Building Sleeping Loft - Advice ?

I would really think hard about the possibility of using some other pre-built structure to use on top of your roof. I know it presents issues but it really is a nice way to go. The structure independent of the bus has been previously engineered to be solid. A VW van is an idea but I have seen people use aircraft fuselages and the like as well. Perhaps a farmer friend with a tractor and a welder would be a good help. If you do build from wood then you need to design it VERY carefully. Wood likes to stay still and when you introduce the movements of a vehicle things could go very bad.

If I were forced to build from wood I would use 2X2 (actually 1 1/2 X 1 1/2) to build a box on top of the roof with all sides of this box slanted. So from each side it would look like a trapezoid. Then within these walls put 2X2 webbing in the form of many triangles (the strongest shape is a triangle). Use plywood to sheet in both sides of this structure with any joints in the plywood landing directly on a web or frame member. Insulate inside the wall with extruded or expanded polystyrene (extruded has better R value). Don't forget to put vapour barrier on the inside of the wall before plywooding. And Pixie, glue the ever living crap out of this thing. There is a glue called PL 400 meant for subfloor attachment and it is very strong, could also be called PL Premium. Every connection you make, glue it, even the connections to the steel part of the bus. Finish the outside by caulking all joints with a top quality paintable caulking then paint the thing with marine paint, at least two coats. This is at least how I would go about it. This should give you a structure that won't move too much and be weather sealed. Good Luck. If your ever in Manitoba Canada let me know, I would love to help.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:13 PM   #3
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So, Pixie, guys added that loft ?
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:45 PM   #4
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I have exactly this plan...

I also plan to build a bedroom loft on the top back of my bus. I was thinking of using materials like in my grandpa's carport, which is, I guess tin or steel or aluminium. I wanted to use wood too, I still might, but I have no problem getting nitty gritty with details and sealing the everloving crap out of it. I mean, my bed's going there. It's gonna be sealed against wind and water, and have a forward facing window and a backward facing one. The forward facing one I'll have open out to my upper level garden deck. Which I can use for multiple whatevers: gardening, tanning, star gazing, ect.

I just really am sure I'll have to go without the roof raise for a while. I won't be able to afford it and doing it myself is probably a bad idea considering my skill level.

But making an insulated, window-ed, reach-able by port bedroom loft out of carport material is something I can do.

A full roof raise would be awesome though. I might do one later. I'd have plants all up on the sides of one section and a freakin hammock hanging at the same level. Come in, look up, oh hey You, hangin in a hammock... up there... this is why I keep coming over...
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Old 03-26-2017, 02:46 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Greater Boston
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What about a truck cap for a pickup truck bed? An 8-footer would provide 6 feet for the bed, 2 feet for the hatch.

It's pre-made, designed to go on a vehicle, fairly watertight, and shouldn't be too hard to get up onto the roof. If you find the right one, it will even have windows that open with screens.

How are you going to level the floor? The roof of your bus is curved. You'll need something to flatten it out. I think a simple platform shouldn't be too hard to make from wood so the mattress sits flat.
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Old 03-26-2017, 02:47 PM   #6
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Year: 2002
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Chassis: Freightliner
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I considered a truck cap, and may still consider it, but it seems like it won't really suit me as much. If I find a good one I might, but I can't see it being structurally as sound as I want nor giving me the room I'll want.

I know the top of the bus is curved, but I also plan to build a deck on roughly two thirds of the back top half of the bus. I figured the deck will go from back end to two thirds up to the front, then the back half of the deck will go around the emergency exit, which will be removed to make way for a simpler exit portal, and the loft will be build over the deck on the back half.

This way I have the flat floor already, I can build the frames for the front and back and then add sheet metal over that, insulate on the inside, lay a floor & finish walls, (considering the loft as the only candidate for short carpet in the bus) and add bookshelves. The loft will be my bedroom/library/reading nook.
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:15 PM   #7
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Im glad this post came up, I am still looking into buying a bus and if this loft thing works i would purchase a short bus. I do like those pop ups that go on jeeps so trying to think of something like that. Im no welder either so it has to be practical. Hopefully there is someone out there that has done this
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:23 PM   #8
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Why so many nay sayers?? Thus has been done many many times since the 50's, I am doing this exact same thing to my 79 International.
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