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Old 10-08-2022, 09:49 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Roof Raise Cost Based on Size & Weather Proofing

The estimates I get searching online for roof raises on buses are around 10-15K, but they are all based on buses that are around 40ft in length. The future bus I'm planning on getting is around 20-22ft in length.

What is an estimated cost to do a roof raise per-foot? Such as for a 20-22ft length short bus.

Things to note about myself:
  • I'm 6 ft
  • Traveling alone
  • Traveling across multiple climates. I want to travel anyone I can, weather extremely hot or cold. I've been in the extreme cold and hot, so I can handle it.
  • Aiming for a low budget on build, (still going through it, saving for next year. Thinking at most 15K total including the bus itself, but adjustable).
  • The build itself I plan on being very minimal and efficient in design. One bed, no shower, lots of storage, small fridge, propane stove, wood fireplace, minimal lighting, and a computer desk to work from. All powered by solar, though will either go low power when up north or switch to generator.
  • Windows will be removed for better insulation and more storage space.
  • I plan on doing most of the building myself, with some help from family and friends.
  • I have no experience welding, so I'd prefer hiring someone. I do have an uncle who does weld, but he is very old so a project like this may be too much for him. Plus, idk if he's welded something like this before.

I plan on putting in lots of insulation as I plan to travel through freezing climates as far as Tuktoyaktuk, (a small village at where the road ends and the arctic ocean begins), and other such places. These places can be as cold as -30.4°C (-22.7°F). So, any advice on that would be grateful as I haven't read or seen many skoolies attempt or discuss in-depth traveling in freezing climates such as Canada and Alaska. If you have any videos or vlogs on skoolies doing so, please link them below.

Also, from what I understand, insulation helps in both hot and cold climates, as it helps regulate the temp. inside. But is there anything that applies uniquely to the heat that I should consider other than good air circulation?

Thank you for reading all that and any help you can give

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Old 10-08-2022, 11:28 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,951
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: "Atomic"
Engine: DD 8V71
I've done lots of roof raises...more than I can remember, actually. I was charging $200 per foot of roof, so a 40-foot bus was about $8000. But over the past two years, I've had to adjust for the greatly increased cost of materials...so that is closer to $9500 for a 40-footer. For a shorter bus, there's less material for sure. But the hardest parts of a roof raise are the front and back caps (and the portions over the driver's window and the door)...and those exist, whether the bus is 20 feet or 40 feet. So, I definitely charge less for a shorter bus...but a 20-foot bus would still be about $5000-6000 (depending upon the style of bus, since some are easier than others).

I hope this helps answer part of your question.
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Old 10-09-2022, 05:29 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Thanks c:
That helps very much.

I wouldn't do a raise over the driver's portion, I don't stand while driving XD. And honestly, I like the look more with the front normal, and the rest raised up.

Do you do this for a business?
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Old 10-09-2022, 06:25 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Wake Forest NC
Posts: 186
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TS FE 2509
Engine: Cummins 5.9l ISB CM550
Rated Cap: 34
He does. I don't know him personally(yet hopefully), but from what I have seen on here and YouTube I would go to him for any work if he was available and I could. I live in NC though so it would be quite a trek. He's smart and he cares about what he does it's very apparent I'm assuming it's going to be a van cutaway type bus?
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Old 10-09-2022, 06:53 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 6,986
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
I built a fully-insulated steel bulkhead wall behind my driver's seat, so that my living space is completely surrounded on all six sides with 2+ inches of XPS foam board. Very few skoolie builders do anything like this, but the front of a bus is going to be a tremendous source of heat transfer, not only because it can't be insulated effectively but also because it has numerous openings that allow airflow. Additional benefits of this wall are that it provides protection against stuff flying around in case of an accident, and it allows me to separately lock up my living space if I have to leave the bus at a mechanic's shop.

You should probably avoid using polyiso insulation. It has a nominal R-value of 6.5 per inch, but this drops significantly in cold temperatures, so it's better suited for hot weather only.

I am also 6'0" and I was able to avoid a roof raise by purchasing a high-ceiling International, which is 6'7" down the centerline with the plywood flooring removed. Even with my 2+ inches of XPS insulation, it is still 6'3" inside which is enough to walk around normally without hitting my head on anything (I also dropped the center section of my floor 3", but this isn't really necessary). 6'7" buses seem to be quite rare these days (other than Thomas C2s, which you might not want for other reasons), but maybe not impossible to find.

You could do a roof raise with bolts, and then have your uncle come around at his leisure and also weld the extensions. Bus ribs are typically made from 14 ga. steel, so if your uncle can weld sheet metal he can weld your raise.

Surviving in the arctic with just a wood stove might be difficult since you would have to be continually feeding the stove just to not die, and you couldn't leave the bus without everything inside freezing. Look into diesel air heaters, which are cheap and effective and very popular with skoolie builders.
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Old 10-09-2022, 02:56 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,541
Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
Chassis: RE-300 42ft
Engine: 466ci
Rated Cap: 90
Mission & Constraints

You are wise to research each expense while you save up your investment cash.

A $15,000 budget is tight. As you create your requirements list (aka: mission statement), try weigh the priority for each expense.

As Musigenesis stated above, you can buy a IC with 6'7" ceilings & save $5000
(save time, too).

These photos are higher resolution in my Registry, idk why

Some ceiling arches are less slopped, too. Our side hall (with 2x4 framing) allows ample walking clearance for a person of six plus feet. 6'3" below this fur srtip.

One might redirect those funds into a high-priority expense:

$5k buys six new tires, hoses, belts & fluids.
OR
$5k for diesel heaters, radiant flooring & split units.
OR
$5k worth Solar panels, batteries, racks, inverter, wire...
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Old 10-10-2022, 12:24 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
I am also 6'0" and I was able to avoid a roof raise by purchasing a high-ceiling International, which is 6'7" down the centerline with the plywood flooring removed. Even with my 2+ inches of XPS insulation, it is still 6'3" inside which is enough to walk around normally without hitting my head on anything (I also dropped the center section of my floor 3", but this isn't really necessary). 6'7" buses seem to be quite rare these days (other than Thomas C2s, which you might not want for other reasons), but maybe not impossible to find.
Could you be more specific on what kind of bus you have?
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Old 10-10-2022, 07:36 AM   #8
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 6,986
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayForJohnny View Post
Could you be more specific on what kind of bus you have?
It's an 11-window 2003 International CE 300 (you can see a user's vehicle details on the left here, if they've filled out their user profile hint hint). The "CE" stands for conventional engine, which means dognose or engine in front under a hood.

You can check out my build thread (link at the bottom of all of my posts) for more details about how I did everything, although it's awfully long at this point.
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Old 10-15-2022, 04:45 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 55
Get your uncle to teach you welding.
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