This bus conversion took all our energy and we dreamed daily of the days we would enjoy traveling and living in it. True to our outrageous ideas, we wanted to install a roof deck but knew we couldn’t build it right away. This did not prevent Michael, however, from planning ahead for its future installation. Before we could continue with painting and tackle the roof, he had to weld and install the brackets which were to hold the future Deck of Delight.
Bracket and Deck Design
For the sides of where the deck will be we fabricated triangular shaped brackets out of 4″ sheets of metal. Along the middle the shape is a mere rectangle.
The shape of the deck has to skirt the bathroom vent and end at the escape hatch. The brown shaded area in the picture below shows the shape of the deck avoiding the roof protrusions.
All brackets need to be attached to the bus frame to be able to support the weight of the deck, the family, guests, railing and seating. After being so inspired by other bus converters who have already built their deck, we want to push the vertical envelope and put sun shading elements up there as well. All such inanimate objects mentioned will be collapsible so as to maintain our inconspicuous look when traveling.
We located these brackets along the bus’s existing frame. Michael grounded out the rivet heads and popped out the stems. Then we laid the bracket plate over the roof’s holes to get the location of where we needed to drill new holes. As Michael was up on the roof holding the bracket in place, I was underneath with a sharpie placing a dot in the middle of the hole. Once we marked the metal, we drilled the appropriately sized holes. Then we tested all 16 pieces.
An example of test fitted bolts through former rivet holes.
We didn’t put any sealant until all pieces dry-tested well. This time, we didn’t use the black tar-like sealant/adhesive. Instead it was a WHITE goop that was only slightly less sticky than the bath fan’s adhesive. But we were prepared with wet and dry towels and ruined just small portions of my shorts. When I wash Michael’s socks, I still find hardened goop holding on for dear life. Well at least we know the brackets will stay up there!
With the brackets installed, we still could not paint the roof. To get onto our observation deck, we will go through the emergency exit hatch located in the master bedroom ceiling. It originally opened so that you exit onto the rear of the bus. We needed to reverse the way the hatch opened by putting its hinges on the opposite side to facilitate getting on the deck more easily.
Once we finished the escape hatch, we turned our efforts towards priming and painting the roof with a special reflective paint. Since then we haven’t done anything more for the Deck of Delight because there were so many other essential living items to finish. But now that we’re well-rested, we might revisit this project soon.