Do It Yourself Van Roof Sun Deck – Star Gaze on a Road Trip

Do you want to travel and go on an exciting road trip? A lot of people are choosing to convert a van and set out on the road to explore. This can be a fun way to see the world and you can wild camp anywhere you want to. But, you are going to have to get your van ready first so that you can enjoy road tripping. If you want to create an outdoor space to enjoy the scenery, we recommend building a do it yourself van roof sun deck. Let’s take a closer look at what this is and how you can start building one.

What is a Do It Yourself Van Roof Sun Deck?

Relaxing on a roof deck

If you are new to van life and are slightly confused about what a van roof sun deck is all about, we will take a moment to explain. Simply, this is going to create a space on your roof where you can relax on your own or with a friend.  The purpose is that you can sit up on the roof and take in the views, as well as enjoy some sun. When you construct one yourself, you can choose suitable materials that are going to be able to handle your weight and any accessories you want to bring up with you.

One thing you are going to need for a do it yourself van roof sun deck is a ladder. Of course, you need to be able to get up onto the roof. Often, this is something that is easy to purchase for a van. In addition, there are a lot of accessories you can get to adapt your sun deck later on. This includes adding a tent canopy for some shade during very warm days.

What are the Benefits of a Do It Yourself Van Roof Sun Deck?

A sun deck is the perfect place to relax and make the most of the good weather. You can park your van anywhere and enjoy the views, knowing you have your own space. But, what are the benefits of building this sun deck by yourself? Let’s take a closer look.

Easier Than Setting Up a Camp

If you like wild camping or want to stop your van somewhere nice to enjoy the views, you might think that your only option is to set up a camp beside your van. This means carrying a tent and a lot of other equipment with you. But, you can choose to build your own van roof sun deck. This is going to give you a cool space to hang out and it means you can also carry fewer items with you. All you are going to need is some camping chairs and you will be able to enjoy all of the views from your van.

Utilizes Space

If you are converting a van or you are already enjoying van life, you know that you have to make use of every possible space you can. This van is going to be your home away from home. The chances are, you have already used up all of the space you have inside your van. But, one part you may have not considered before is the roof.

There are some people that will use the roof for storage. In other words, you will have roof storage boxes to keep your belongings in. But, another option you have for your roof is to build a do it yourself van roof sun deck. This is going to create an enjoyable space to relax. It is going to be especially important when you are not able to set up an outdoor camp.

Affordable to Build

road trip in a van

There are a lot of builders and designers you can hire to help convert your van for life on the road. But, this can be very expensive. This is why a lot of people want to convert their van themselves. It is possible to save a lot of money and it can be a fun project to work on if you have the time before your road trip.

The great thing about a do it yourself van roof sun deck is this is an affordable project that you are going to be able to work on by yourself. All you need to do is gather some materials and make time to build it. You do not have to be a professional to work on this project.

Installing the Extrusions

First of all, let’s start with what the do it yourself van roof sun deck is going to be sitting on. You need a strong base for the decking and it will not rest directly on the top of the van. Instead, it will be placed on Unistrut, which is a u-channel extrusion. There are going to be holes on one side for attachment. It is best to choose a pre-galvanized type of Unistrut since this is going to work well for outdoor use and against the elements. If you are on a budget, pre-galvanized (over aluminum or hot dipped) is going to be the most affordable. You can choose to paint the extrusion any color you want to. Just make sure that you choose the right type of primer and paint.

Next is going to be installing the frame onto the van. You are going to need brackets to attach the extrusions to the van. This might depend on what type of van you have. You need to make sure it is suitable for torque and weight. Take your time when fitting the extrusions on the top of the van and ensure they are secure and tight for safety. The extrusions will be fitted on the length of the van roof, as well as horizontally across. Think about it as a grid design.

Attaching the Do It Yourself Van Roof Sun Deck

Wood for the deck

The main part of this project is about to begin and this is when it gets fun. It is time to install the deck you are going to have on your van. It can be exciting to see this project come together and for the finished results to be realized. First of all, you are going to need to choose your deck material. For example, cedar wood can be a good choice since it has style, as well as offering durability and longevity. You will need to measure how much cedar you need for the project.

It is recommended that you treat the wood before you attach it to your van. This is going to offer extra protection from the weather when you are traveling. You can also choose to paint the cedar deck if you want to. You will need appropriate bolts for attaching the do it yourself van roof sun deck.

Drilling holes in the wood

Think about the spacing of the deck boards carefully. You want to leave a bit of a gap between them. This is not too much that it becomes a hazard. But, you want to take into account the weather. For example, cedar is going to expand in the warm weather. So, you want to account for this in the spacing. You will need to create holes in the deck planks for the bolts. You want to have at least four of these to secure the wood onto the extrusions.

Things to Note

When it comes to the roof of your van, you might be disheartened if you have fans or solar panels already up there. A lot of people are disappointed and think that this means they cannot enjoy a do it yourself van roof sun deck. However, this is not true. It just means that some careful planning is going to be needed.

painting the deck

You can choose to work your decking around the accessories on your roof. For example, you can position your solar panels at one end of the roof and still enjoy your decking at the other side. Alternatively, if you have a fan in the middle of the roof, you can work around it and cut the planks to accommodate any obstacles. You do not have to give up on having a deck. Just be prepared to adapt it.

One thing that is important to note if you want a do it yourself van roof sun deck is that you have to be careful. Firstly, you need to be cautious during the installation. You are going to be working up on the roof and this can be dangerous. It may be best with at least one other person so that you can help each other work on the deck. You also need to be careful when it comes to enjoying the deck. While you will be able to hang out with friends, enjoy a picnic or star gaze at night, you have to remember that you are high up on the van. Always be careful and stay away from the sides. This is going to make sure that you enjoy your new space safely and have a lot of fun when you are on the road.

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