Skoolie Part III: Roof Work and Resealing

Written by Nick

September 30, 2021

Up on the housetop, click, click, click;
Down through the chimney with old Saint Nick.

We're back and this time we're on the roof working on protecting our home from leaks, staying cool by repelling sun, and making it look a little newer and nicer.

Hi Abby!!

It feels good to make improvements/additions to the bus, since up to this point we've just been tearing things out and being more destructive than creative.

Materials we used:

Our first step was power washing. This saved us a lot of work and was very rewarding.

Next, we took off the stickers and the old sealant/patches.

Nothing else works nearly as well as Goof Off! We found that a mix of muscle and Goof Off worked better than any other combination of tools and techniques (we tried heat guns, power washing, different chemicals, etc.).

As one last step before resealing the roof, we washed with TSP. There's a chance that we didn't need to do this because the power washer worked so well, but we did it anyway. And I think it might have helped de-gloss the old white paint on the roof and let the elastomeric stick better.

Finally, we taped the bus and started painting on the elastomeric roof covering.

We started by reinforcing the ribs of the bus with elastomeric.

Abby painting elastomeric onto the ribs of the roof

Once the reinforced ribs finished drying, we painted on the first coat. I used a roller and Abby continued to use a paint brush to touch up the sides.

Up on the rooftop, painting in progress!

We had to wait 24 hours for the first coat to dry before putting the second coat on, so we came back the next day to finish up.

Paint really does have a magical effect. We were surprised by how noticeable the difference was after we were all finished with our roof painting project. The old, faded white paint has been replaced by a brand new, shiny white paint and it almost makes our bus look brand new! We have to restrain ourselves from jumping straight into painting the rest of the bus body (there's more important things to tackle first), but that's definitely going to be a rewarding project.

Other Takeaways
Turns out we're really bad at estimating how long things will take. In particular, we have been learning that preparing for a task takes much, much longer than actually doing the task.

For example, we started working on the roof on the Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend. We thought we were going to be able to finish preparation and get a layer of paint on the bus that day, but we ended up not getting to that point until Mondayafternoon.

Going forward we're going to try to do a better job of keeping realistic deadlines. But it's really tough! We're new to all of this. So after the roof experience, we're looking at our soft deadline for having the bus fully livable (which we decided would be August 2021), and we're reconsidering how realistic that is. Thankfully we don't have any hard deadlines, but thought we should choose a date in the future to shoot for—if nothing else it will at least give us some kind of schedule to work off of.

What's Next?
This is our third(!) post in our skoolie conversion series! If you missed part II, you can find it here. Part III coming soon.

We'll be writing about all of our bus life experiences here on the Scavenger's Breakfast blog, so if you're interested, bookmark us and sign up for our newsletter!

(You can also send us a message if you have any questions or just wanna talk!)

- Nick and Abby