Reinforcing the Roof
Due to the bus's original roof having minimal structure, it needed to be beefed up to handle more than a little rain. Currently, the bus has an aluminum skeleton which holds everything up right, and riveted to that is a thin layer of sheet metal wrapping it all together. My concern with leaving the roof as is is it will not be able to handle the weight of our wet coastal snow, as well as the windows could sheer due to the added compression. So how does one reinforce a structure without overwhelming it? The overall concept to reinforce the roof is simply to add a wooden hat that sits ontop of the current structure helping spread the weight out. To achieve the hat, I will build several wooden ribs which straddle the bus on key portions of the roof that currently have a frame. Once the ribs are in place they will be stranded together with 2x4 and eventually sheeted with plywood. By utilizing ribs I can match the curve of the original roof, ideally resulting in the hat structure looking natural to the bus. In addition to the hat helping spread weight out, it will also create a larger thermal barrier between the internal hot and external cold surfaces in the roof resulting in less condensation overall.
Building the hat structure was simple enough, once the first rib template was built it was easy to replicate. The main complication to this process had nothing to do with the build itself but simply with the logistics of bringing materials and tools up and down the second story structure. Now a normal person working on a roof would have had a second person there helping, and from time to time I did, but being a stubborn man it was usually just me pushing items up the scaffolding alone. Luckily, I was able to borrow four lifts of scaffolding which made getting around the bus a bit easier. However, no matter how easily scaffolding goes together, taking it apart and moving it around constantly adds days to a project. After the first de and re-assembly I began to get creative, dragging it on skis, building it in the box of my truck, and eventually ditching it all together and just using the backhoe bucket.
After getting the frame built and sheeted I was able to cut some nice curves into the front and back of the roof to add some character to the hat. As for the actual roofing material, I originally intended on using galvalume or some other flatsheet metal but eventually changed my mind in favour of a rubber membrane. The main reason for the alteration was I wanted to be able to stand on the roof incase I needed to get up there to shovel, and did not want to risk slipping off. I have built curved roofs with both materials and neither seem to shed snow great, so I went with the safer of the two options for standing on. In addition, the rubber membrane comes in a large roll, that once ontop of the structure is very easy to unroll and drape over creating an instant roof. By the time the I had finished the roof, I had burned through the majority of nice weather October had, and as I unrolled the rubber roof the first storm of the winter pushed in.
Patrick Sills is the owner and creator of Double Decker Coffee Roasting. The purpose of the Build Blog is to share the story of the physical build, its components, Patrick's growing education in the coffee industry, and the overall creation of the business. Warning: if run on sentences, poor sentence structure, or simple spelling mistakes bother you to the core stop reading! The Build Blog has a very loose format, I am a builder not a writer, just thought some people might be interested in the story. Enjoy!