Can you raise the roof on a van?

In today’s blog post, we will discuss: Can you raise the roof on a van? We will discuss what options you have for raising the roof on a van, how much it costs and whether it is worth it financially speaking. 

Can you raise the roof on a van?

Yes, you can raise the roof on a van. The simplest way to do it is to install a pop-top, also known as a van hightop. You will need a lift to install the top or a really strong friend to help you out. It is a matter of bolting down the top to the van and finishing the job with metal edging. 

Vans can become an ideal vehicle for camping. For this, it is necessary to equip them with the appropriate accessories that allow us to rest inside and have all the comforts.

To expand the space and get an additional second floor in your van, you can opt for the above-mentioned lifting roofs, a very practical solution. 

When purchasing a lifting roof for a van, we can find different types:

  • Front opening roof – Access to the upper bed is through the cab of the van. This means that the position of the bed is always in favour of the march.
  • Rear opening roof – Access is through the back of the van, so they will be ideal for those models that have the kitchen in the back of the passenger compartment.
  • Mushroom roof – It is a square pop-up roof that provides an additional vertical space of one meter wide by one meter high to gain height inside the cabin.

How to install a pop-top roof on your van?

The installation of this type of device must always be carried out by professionals since the original roof of the van must be removed and replaced with the new one. This procedure triggers a modification of the original bodywork of the same, so it must be approved to be able to drive on the road.

Therefore, it will be necessary for the workshop to issue a certificate stating which modifications have been made, a technical project of these and what type of device has been installed (technical characteristics).

You must present these documents to be able to pass the technical inspection and homologate the vehicle with its new characteristics.

How much does it cost to raise the roof on a van?

The price will depend on the chassis model of each of the vans, taking into account these measurements, the amount will be different.

For models with a Volkswagen chassis, the price is usually around 6,000 dollars. In the case of brands such as Fiat Talento, Opel Vivaro, Nissan Primastar and Renault Trafic, you can install it for about 7,000 dollars. Models such as the Mercedes Vito or Viano and the Ford Transit custom will exceed 7,000 dollars.

The main function of a lifting roof is to increase the number of places to stay overnight, although it must be said that being able to stand in the van is also a sensation that no customer overlooks.

Focusing on the subject, installing a pop-top roof on a camper van is the most powerful investment that can be made in a van, yes, the result is always impressive. Really, seeing the face of the clients at the time of delivery is an experience that a server will never tire of seeing.

The usual thing is to install lifting ceilings with a front opening since the most used distributions usually have the living room in front and the bed behind. In this way, it is possible to stand in the living room that coincides with the living area.

As an alternative to the front-opening pop-up roof, there is the rear-opening one, which, unlike the front-opening roof, is looking to have a living area at the rear of the vehicle. This type of roof is installed on Ford Nugget type configurations or distributions that we call “French-style” wherein the back of the van we have a full kitchen or even some distributions a full bathroom.

The “French” type configurations are generally aimed at older couples who do not have objects such as bikes, surfboards, skis, etc. Even so, they have 4 travel, overnight and dining places. We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this distribution in more detail when we unveil our NK Gaia 44 model.

The mushroom roofs are usually oriented for vans in which they are prepared to travel 2 and sleep 2. When a client decides to install a mushroom roof, they usually do so because they are really tired of cooking, changing or even showering inside the van sitting or crouched down. 

The mushroom roof gives us the possibility of standing in the van, having natural lighting and having ventilation and temperature as close as possible to room temperature. 

Is it worth raising the roof on your van?

On average, raising the roof on your van costs you a little over $ 7,000. Almost all van owners agree that to spend so much money you have to do it on a new or at least almost-new vehicle. 

It is clear that we agree that if one can afford it, it is the ideal situation … But of course, buying a new van is around $ 25,000, almost-new, about $ 20,000 to buy something decent and prepare it to be able to sleep four in the most economical way. They are about $12,000 (roof, NK Adapted furniture, battery kit and some other things). 

If we make calculations and we put ourselves in the best of situations we speak of $ 32,000, money that is realistic is a significant cost and we still have a second-hand van, if we throw a new one it is $ 37,000.

We put as an example of a second-hand van, a 15-year-old T5 Multivan from 2005, is it worth it? let’s do an exercise …

It is your vehicle for years where you have arranged phenomenally the thing is that family is coming! The first child! You travel a little less and everything complicates but in the end you have managed. Over time the family grows again and now there is a problem… solutions, please! Well, there are three possibilities:

  1. You sell the camper van as it is and you buy a fifth-wheel trailer and a car. In summary $ 35,000 for the trailer and $ 5,000 for a car, if we take more things you travel then $ 25,000 and $ 2,500. 

On the one hand, buying half new $ 40,000 and buying older 27,000. Suppose that for our camper van they have given us $ 12,000, the results would be the following; pay $ 28,000 or $ 15,000 and maintenance of two vehicles.

  1. You sell the camper van as it is ($ 12,000) and you buy a new or almost-new van. Pay $ 25,000 or $ 20,000 and maintenance of a single vehicle.
  1. Raising the roof of your van with an additional Premium bed, painted in the colour of the vehicle, approved and with VAT is about $7,300. In summary, $ 7,300 of financial contribution and problem solved.

It is clear that each person or family will like one option more than another and that then it must be aligned with the money we want / can invest in something that is undoubtedly leisure.

Final thoughts

There are obviously some pros and cons of raising the roof on a van.

The benefits of raising the roof on a van are:

  • Pop-tops are convenient and easy to use;
  • A good alternative for those who are not lucky enough to have a van or motorhome
  • An opportunity to create additional beds for your vehicle
  • They can adapt to any roof so you can keep them even if you change vehicles!

Some of the downsides of raising the roof on a van are:

  •  It increases the vehicle’s wind resistance, roof tents may slightly impact your fuel consumption.
  • They are independent of the vehicle, so they are only accessible from the outside (unlike the pop-up roofs that can be found on vans)

What do you think? Is it worth raising the roof on a van?

FAQ on Can you raise the roof on a van?

How much does it cost to put a high top on a van?

The costs of putting a high top on a van will be between $7000 and $15000 depending on the type of high top you want, the type of van you have, and whether it is a DIY job or you hire a professional to do it. 

Can you raise a roof on a van?

Yes, you can raise a roof on a van but you will need a lift to install the top or a really strong friend to help you out. It is a matter of bolting down the top to the van and finishing the job with metal edging. 

What are rooftop tents?

Converting your roof into sleeping space is basically the principle of roof tents! The only constraint is that you will need roof racks (strong enough to support the weight of the tent). Roof tents, therefore, allow you to create or add sleeping places to your vehicle. They can be used on all types of vehicles, on a city car, a station wagon, a 4 × 4, a van, a utility, a van and even on a motorhome!


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