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Old 03-30-2020, 04:53 PM   #1
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Short Skoolie Roof Raise?

Hello lovely people. I have a chevy 2002 express short bus. I never considered doing a roof raise because I am tight on time and didn't think it was necessary. I am 6'1" and my bus was 6'2.5" to the old bus ceiling. Recently I have realized that bending over for cooking and any other standing activities is going to be a little bit of a pain. If I want 1" thick (or more) insulation on the floor I will not be able to stand up straight in my bus and even with .5" thick flooring insulation I will barely be able to stand upright. So I have been toying with the idea of doing a very small roof raise. Maybe I am crazy but I don't actually think it would be that big of an undertaking.




Basically I would just add a spacer between the grey and brown metal framework. I would need to remove and redo the rivets that you can see in the dark grey which connect that piece to the external fiberglass. I can raise the roof about 3 inches and still be able to use the grey piece for riveting the external fiberglass. I could raise the roof more then 3 inches but then I would need to scab sheet metal strips on the outside for the fiberglass to rivet to. I would cut the fiberglass roof around the drivers seat area and have to transition the raised roof down to the non-raised section in the front.

What are your guys thoughts on this? Is it worth adding a couple of inches? I am mostly concerned about the transition area, how I will make the transition, and how it will look. I'm not sure if fiberglassing an area that big is realistic or not.
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:57 PM   #2
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Yeah, I'd go for a modest raise. 4-8 inches. But the transition is a bit tricky. A lot easier on a smaller raise. The big goofy roof raises are sort of negatively accentuated by their usually crude transitions.
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Old 03-30-2020, 05:09 PM   #3
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Yeah, I'd go for a modest raise. 4-8 inches. But the transition is a bit tricky. A lot easier on a smaller raise. The big goofy roof raises are sort of negatively accentuated by their usually crude transitions.
Yeah, I'm thinking about going for 6 inches. I'm sort of worried about how the front of the bus will look though since it has the classic bus front rounded top that overhangs the cab. I don't know how a transition down into that will look... I looked at raising that fiberglass as well but that would present some additional problems in itself.
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Old 03-30-2020, 06:02 PM   #4
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ah yeah thats a lil different than what I'm familiar with.
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Old 04-05-2020, 10:07 AM   #5
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Pix would help a lot.

You can build a form out of the foam insulation (and reuse most of it later when you insulate the bus) to support the fiberglass mat/resin while it dries.

You should be able to make a nice sloped/curved transition with fiberglass.
That's how they build boats!

Or cut and raise below the window line.
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Old 04-05-2020, 10:24 AM   #6
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Choose your foam carefully. Many types of foam are attacked by fiberglass resin and on a bad day the entire form could just drop out as the foam melts away. Simple enough to test the foam first. Jack
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Old 04-05-2020, 11:50 AM   #7
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Choose your foam carefully. Many types of foam are attacked by fiberglass resin and on a bad day the entire form could just drop out as the foam melts away. Simple enough to test the foam first. Jack
Good point -- the heat given off from epoxy resin mixed with too much hardener can even start a fire...

Fiberglassing ain't hard but there is does, and don'ts! Plenty of good info out there to research though!
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Old 04-05-2020, 06:18 PM   #8
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Choose your foam carefully. Many types of foam are attacked by fiberglass resin and on a bad day the entire form could just drop out as the foam melts away. Simple enough to test the foam first. Jack
Thats good to know as I was not aware of this issue. I will have to look at this as I was planning on using foam board.
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Old 04-11-2020, 07:14 PM   #9
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It is not that big a deal and if you have friends that will gladly help you, it can be a lot of fun. First you have to answer these questions in the positive. Are you a confident Welder? Are you truly serious about this roof raise? Are you serious about doing 'a little' roof raise? Here is why, if you do not weld, you need to find someone who does. If you are serious, make sure you are committed to seeing the job through to the bitter end. If you are going to raise a roof, take into consideration the windows, if you plan to use the original bus windows, do you want them at your belly button? And have to bend over every time you want to look outside? A little roof raise is like saying, "Gee! I wish I was only five feet tall!" If you really want to be happy, you need to put the very top of your windows as high as your eyebrows. WHY?! How useful do you want your overhead cabinets to be? The higher the roof, the better the overhead cabinets. The better the overhead cabinets, the happier the spouse who joins you ON THE ROAD!. Also, are you going to bend over to see in your Fridge every time you need something? Or are you going to get a fridge with a freezer, in the bottom and do you want said fridge/freezer to clear the interior ceiling? If you place a Fantastic Fan, Kitchen Exhaust Fan, a Fireplace Flue or A/C in the roof, you will want all of these units higher than lower. There is NOTHING worse than raising the roof '12 inches' only to discover a major headache (Pun intended!) because that is just too damned low! THE BEST roof raises are determined by a 4X8 sheet of Metal. Work backwards from 48 inches, allow for the overlapping needed for riveting and raise that roof THAT high, you will be VERY glad you did. Something else to consider, under bed storage, if the roof is high, the bed can be high enough and your heads fit under the ceiling better, this provides MORE storage and clearance for those pesky rear tire wheel wells, with ease . Also, if you plan plumbing in a proper bathroom, the floor can be higher which makes more room for said plumbing! Now, understand this, I am not telling you what to do, I AM providing extra information (Food for thought!?!) to better fill you 'knowledge bank' to better make an educated guess/final decision! SHOULD YOU DICIDE TO COMPLETELY IGNORE THIS WRITING, THAT WILL BE TOTALLY UNDERSTOOD, but you now have more/better information! I went with the 4X8 plan, I WAS planning on 20 inches, BOY al I glad I listened to/watched the videos on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS9...4nubgsjXBhHCYA.

This gentleman set me straight and I never even contacted him, I just followed his example. Now I have more than enough room/storage, better insulation, keeps all the plumbing from freezing and makes for better harmony when traveling with the misses!
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Old 04-12-2020, 04:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchk View Post
Hello lovely people. I have a chevy 2002 express short bus. I never considered doing a roof raise because I am tight on time and didn't think it was necessary. I am 6'1" and my bus was 6'2.5" to the old bus ceiling. Recently I have realized that bending over for cooking and any other standing activities is going to be a little bit of a pain. If I want 1" thick (or more) insulation on the floor I will not be able to stand up straight in my bus and even with .5" thick flooring insulation I will barely be able to stand upright. So I have been toying with the idea of doing a very small roof raise. Maybe I am crazy but I don't actually think it would be that big of an undertaking.




Basically I would just add a spacer between the grey and brown metal framework. I would need to remove and redo the rivets that you can see in the dark grey which connect that piece to the external fiberglass. I can raise the roof about 3 inches and still be able to use the grey piece for riveting the external fiberglass. I could raise the roof more then 3 inches but then I would need to scab sheet metal strips on the outside for the fiberglass to rivet to. I would cut the fiberglass roof around the drivers seat area and have to transition the raised roof down to the non-raised section in the front.

What are your guys thoughts on this? Is it worth adding a couple of inches? I am mostly concerned about the transition area, how I will make the transition, and how it will look. I'm not sure if fiberglassing an area that big is realistic or not.

Are you saying that the grey area in the photo is the overlap between the roof and the sides?


Are the sides also fiberglass?
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Old 04-12-2020, 08:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchk View Post
Hello lovely people. I have a chevy 2002 express short bus. I never considered doing a roof raise because I am tight on time and didn't think it was necessary. I am 6'1" and my bus was 6'2.5" to the old bus ceiling. Recently I have realized that bending over for cooking and any other standing activities is going to be a little bit of a pain. If I want 1" thick (or more) insulation on the floor I will not be able to stand up straight in my bus and even with .5" thick flooring insulation I will barely be able to stand upright. So I have been toying with the idea of doing a very small roof raise. Maybe I am crazy but I don't actually think it would be that big of an undertaking.




Basically I would just add a spacer between the grey and brown metal framework. I would need to remove and redo the rivets that you can see in the dark grey which connect that piece to the external fiberglass. I can raise the roof about 3 inches and still be able to use the grey piece for riveting the external fiberglass. I could raise the roof more then 3 inches but then I would need to scab sheet metal strips on the outside for the fiberglass to rivet to. I would cut the fiberglass roof around the drivers seat area and have to transition the raised roof down to the non-raised section in the front.

What are your guys thoughts on this? Is it worth adding a couple of inches? I am mostly concerned about the transition area, how I will make the transition, and how it will look. I'm not sure if fiberglassing an area that big is realistic or not.
I re-read my post and noticed it could miss lead you, allow me to clarify something. I DID NOT raise my roof 48 inches, I eliminated the windows along most of both sides with metal. This was a 30 inch raise, the 48 inch wide metal covered the windows and the extended open area created by the roof raise. The 4' X 8' sheets of metal only needed to be cut once per side and only the short way, the long way was not cut. This way there is minimum of waste and a maximum of strength. This allows me to stand erect with nearly eight feet to the ceiling after floor and ceiling insulation.
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Old 04-14-2020, 01:44 PM   #12
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Are you saying that the grey area in the photo is the overlap between the roof and the sides?


Are the sides also fiberglass?
Yeah the grey area is where the side sheetmetal is riveted to the ceiling sheetmetal. I just realized in my post I was not clear. The back and the front of the roof are fiberglass while the middle section is sheetmetal. I did end up doing the roof raise and it went pretty well. I will post pictures.
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Old 04-14-2020, 01:47 PM   #13
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I re-read my post and noticed it could miss lead you, allow me to clarify something. I DID NOT raise my roof 48 inches, I eliminated the windows along most of both sides with metal. This was a 30 inch raise, the 48 inch wide metal covered the windows and the extended open area created by the roof raise. The 4' X 8' sheets of metal only needed to be cut once per side and only the short way, the long way was not cut. This way there is minimum of waste and a maximum of strength. This allows me to stand erect with nearly eight feet to the ceiling after floor and ceiling insulation.
I did consider how high of a raise I wanted for a decent amount of time. I eventually decided that I would raise it only 6 inches. I really only wanted to raise it so that I would have 4-5 inches between my head and the ceiling. I knew the front transition would be harder the higher I went and I also thought a tall raise on a short bus might look kind of awkward. I did appreciate the thoroughness of your post though! See pictures of the transition in the next reply.
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Old 04-14-2020, 01:50 PM   #14
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Old 04-14-2020, 01:58 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
Choose your foam carefully. Many types of foam are attacked by fiberglass resin and on a bad day the entire form could just drop out as the foam melts away. Simple enough to test the foam first. Jack
Take a look at Kelsall foam. It is used to build foam/fiberglass boat hulls.

Afik: Derrek Kelsall still offers classes on foam/glass construction.
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Old 04-14-2020, 02:05 PM   #16
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Take a look at Kelsall foam. It is used to build foam/fiberglass boat hulls.

Afik: Derrek Kelsall still offers classes on foam/glass construction.
I was hoping to use ISO insulation with the foil side towards the fiberglass. I still need to do more research to see if this is acceptable.
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Old 04-14-2020, 04:34 PM   #17
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That's going to look awesome. I have the same height issue with my short bus. My walls slope inwards, which would make a raise more challenging. I wonder about raising just the center 3-4' down the aisle. The sides could be like clerestory windows. (Warning-thread derailment-pun intended)
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Old 04-15-2020, 07:41 AM   #18
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That's going to look awesome. I have the same height issue with my short bus. My walls slope inwards, which would make a raise more challenging. I wonder about raising just the center 3-4' down the aisle. The sides could be like clerestory windows. (Warning-thread derailment-pun intended)
Wow, your situation is definitely more challenging then mine was! Are you actually talking 3-4 feet or do you mean inches? I have seen some raised "skylights" that are just in the middle of the bus and don't reach the side walls. They actually look pretty sweet.
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Old 04-15-2020, 08:15 AM   #19
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Wow, your situation is definitely more challenging then mine was! Are you actually talking 3-4 feet or do you mean inches? I have seen some raised "skylights" that are just in the middle of the bus and don't reach the side walls. They actually look pretty sweet.
I think OP meant raising a "skybox" section that was 3-4 feet wide, and maybe 8-10" high. I put a lot of thought into doing the same thing when I first got my bus. I think the biggest downside (other than being probably more difficult than a normal roof raise) is that trolley-style buses with windowed skyboxes are notoriously prone to leaking badly. I was going to do mine without any windows to potentially avoid this problem.
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Old 04-15-2020, 08:29 AM   #20
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I think OP meant raising a "skybox" section that was 3-4 feet wide, and maybe 8-10" high. I put a lot of thought into doing the same thing when I first got my bus. I think the biggest downside (other than being probably more difficult than a normal roof raise) is that trolley-style buses with windowed skyboxes are notoriously prone to leaking badly. I was going to do mine without any windows to potentially avoid this problem.
Oh yes, no idea why I thought he was talking height there...
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