Van Build | Building Our Roof Deck
Also know as our G&T deck! There's been a few moments during our build where I've dreamt up an often slightly bonkers idea which then gets left to Laurie to work out how we can make it happen. Our roof deck was definitely one of those moments and Laurie especially outdid himself on this one.
The biggest challenge was finding a way to fit one onto our busy roof around skylights, a solar panel, a chimney and a massive awning without spending the earth on a custom made roof rack. Plus, just to make it really challenging, I really wanted a lift up back so we could comfortably lounge up there.
We knew we'd have to build every component of this deck from the frame to the decking in order to make it work on our roof so we tried to make it as easy as possible by ordering the metal lengths already cut to size for our frame work. We opted for composite decking which is slightly heavier than dry timber but doesn't soak up water which will make it lighter overall. When putting something like this on a roof you need to make sure it is absolutely secure and safe so everything has been bolted together to ensure there is no chance of anything coming loose.
Pre-cut steel angle lengths for frames (25mm x 25mm x 3mm) - From The Metal Store
Pre-cut steel flat length for strength (20mm x 3mm)
Roof Rack Mounts - We used these ones
Assorted coach bolts
2 split pins
4 climbing bolt hangars (plus 2 extra so we can also use the roof deck as a roof rack)
Step 1 - Layout metal frames and measure, mark and drill the holts for the bolts.
Our frames consisted of the main frame which is the main base for the deck. The separate lifting back frame sits snuggling inside the top of the main frame. The skylight frame will be added for support around our skylight and the strengthening bar is there to, you guessed it, add some extra strength.
There were a LOT of bolt holes to drill as we were bolting the frame to the roof rack mounts, the decking to the frames, bolt hangars to all corners of the frames as well as holes for split pins to go in at the end of the lifting back frame so it stays secure when not in use.
Step 2 - Weld the frames together.
Step 3 - Temporarily install roof rack mounts to mark and then drill the holes to bolt frame and roof rack mounts together.
Step 4 - Paint frames and roof rack mounts with chassis paint to weatherproof and protect from rust.
Step 5 - Install roof rack mounts.
Step 6 - Bolt main frame to roof rack mounts.
Step 7 - Bolt decking boards to main frame and separate lifting back frame.
Step 8 - Bolt the lifting back deck to the main deck with hinges.
Step 9 - Bolt climbing bolt hangars to each corner.
Step 10 - Secure the lifting back frame is securely attache to the main frame using split pins for when not in use.
Use two lengths of rope and attach a carbiner to each end. Clip the carabiners to the climbing bolt hangars at each corner of the decks to lift up and secure the back at a comfortable angle. All that is left to do is sit back and relax.
For the full build process and rood deck set up watch out our YouTube video. Don't forget to like and subscriber to our channel, we so appreciate the support.