How much does a Skoolie roof raise cost?

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: How much does a Skoolie roof raise cost? We will explain how much the tools, the equipment and various consumables used in raising the roof a Skoolie cost. 

How much does a Skoolie roof raise cost?

A Skoolie roof raise can cost you $10,000 if done by a professional. Considering that the supplies alone can cost you around $1000, we decided to show you an example of a less pricey roof raise project.

We will break the roof raise process into a few phases and within each phase, we’ll talk about the tools and skills, as well as the costs. In the end, we’re going to pull it all together with the total cost of the project. 

Phase 1 of raising a Skoolie roof: Tools

Before you get started with raising the roof of your Skoolie, you need a few tools:

  • A long level;
  • A cordless drill;
  • A sawzall;
  • An angle grinder;
  • A pneumatic hammer;
  • An air compressor; 
  • A punch bit and a shearing bit;
  • And a chisel for getting rid of all the rivets. 

Another important tool that you will need to raise the roof of your Skoolie is a welder because you’re going to have to make the actual brackets to raise the roof. 

Costs: $225.

You will, however, have to add the costs of some 4×4 blocks, but our advice is to get them free from a scrapyard. You will also need a bottle jack, and the average price for one is $40. 

Total costs: $264.

Phase 2 of raising a Skoolie roof: working with the metal sheets

Now it is time to use the bottle jack mentioned in the first phase. The reason we recommend a bottle jack is because it will lift straight up, while a mechanical floor jack lifts at an angle. 

At this stage, you will also need your four by four beams, you need to cut and adjust them to the height of your Skoolie (that is approximately $16). Next, you’ll have to weld in a hat channel. The cost of the 14 gauge steel is about $15 per hat.  For the transition, you’ll need 2×24 sticks of one and a quarter 14 gauge square tubing. Thus, 2 sticks x $26 = $52. 

Added to the total cost of the project are around $234 for the window frames and the door sticks of 14 gauge 2×2 square tubing. If you do not have a plasma cutter, you’ll have to cut them at a local sheet metal place which will cost you around $2.5 for each.  That is a total of $80 added to the final price. 

Keep in mind that before even starting working with the metal sheets you must prime and paint all raw steel. That would be around five or six cans of primer+paint at the cost of $30. 

Phase 3 of raising a Skoolie roof: windows and doors

As you will see, raising the Skoolie roof will affect the whole integrity of the school bus, including the windows and the doors. 

If you’re able to salvage all (or most) of the windows that are great, this project will cost you less. However, let’s say you have to replace some windows – then you’ll count $145 for each window. For the sake of the example, we’ll say you replaced the driver’s and the passenger’s windows, so that is $290 added to the final price. 

For the doors, you’ll want a plain slab, which with the necessary hardware will come at a total of $205. 

The last thing we will add to this section is optional but recommended. You can choose to frame the back, but this of course will add about $40 or $80 to the project. 

Phase 4 of raising a Skoolie roof: cutting the galvanized steel

Getting the galvanized steel professionally cut at 18 gauge sheets will cost you the most at this stage. You can put aside $1170. That is the biggest single cost of this project and the only way to save costs is if you have in your garage a sheer big enough to cut full metal sheets.

Various extras for the sheet metal:

  • A gun for the rivets: $150
  • Sikaflex: $2 each (buy at least 8)
  • A good caulking gun: $17 
  • Cleco pliers: $119
  •  Butyl tape: $9/tube (buy at least 3)
  • A poster board: $80

Phase 5 of raising a Skoolie roof: Consumables 

You will invest a minimum of $150 in: 

  • drill bits;
  • cut off wheels
  • flapper discs ;
  • sawzall blades;
  • bolts;

The total costs of raising a Skoolie roof 

We hope that diving into the process of raising a Skoolie roof in five phases has helped you understand better the costs of it. If we add all the numbers, the costs of a Skoolie roof raise totals $3930 on average. Of course, the final bill will highly depend on you doing it yourself or asking for professional help on the way. 

We remind you that in raising a Skoolie roof you will need to put money aside for:

  • Tools and various consumables;
  • Preparing and cutting the metal sheets;
  • Removing/adding/framing the windows and the doors of the bus;
  • Having the galvanized steel professionally cut;
  • Paying someone for help. 

How much does it cost to build a Skoolie?

The DIY cost of a Skoolie, with all the comforts of home like a working kitchen and bathroom, can cost anywhere from $7460 to $ 22400.However, reusing building materials and a lot of sweating can significantly reduce the costs of conversion.

Much of the construction involves standard building materials, such as insulation board, plywood, flooring, and trim. Plumbing and electrical systems can be equipped with RV and marine products for optimum compactness and portability.

For the transformation of the bus into a viable home, several elements must be integrated into the interior of the vehicle. First of all, insulation is one of the essentials to achieve with the installation of a floor. Once this step is completed, you will have to think about the electrical and plumbing equipment. 

These require special knowledge and skills. It is strongly recommended to call in professionals. All the more so since it is essential that everything be up to standard if you want to have the bus approved as a specialized self-propelled vehicle with a GVWR of less than or equal to 3.5 tonnes.

Note that it is quite possible to have solar panels installed on the roof of the bus for your electricity supply. Once all these steps have been completed, you can start the procedure to have the bus approved as a motorhome, which is not an obligation even if strongly recommended.

It happens regularly to see advertisements for the sale of vehicles whose transformation is not completed. The project can turn out to be a money pit if any unforeseen events arise.

The bottom line

While in this article we didn’t actually cover the steps of raising a Skoolie roof, we did discuss the main costs of the tools and the equipment you may need in the process. What we wanted to add is that raising the roof of a Skoolie is not easy and can be actually dangerous. If you do not have too much experience it is perhaps best to pay a professional!

If we can be of any further help, please feel free to get in contact. 

FAQ on How much does a Skoolie roof raise cost?

How much do Skoolies cost?

Market prices for retired school buses vary based on the location, age and condition of individual buses, but for a baseball figure, a standard 72-seater Skoolie starts at around $2,240.

Are Skoolies a good investment?

Skoolies are a good investment as long as you are willing to commit to the conversion process and are ready financially speaking. A Skoolie can become a great RV or even a more permanent home. 

How much is a Skoolie worth?

A Skoolie is worth $20,000 to $30,000 for the initial build-out. Depending on the number of amenities and modifications that you are going to make, the worth of your Skoolie will increase significantly. 

How long does it take to build a Skoolie?

Building a Skoolie can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on your level of training, the time you have, whether you will have help or not, and of course, your resources.

How much does it cost to get a Skoolie painted?

Getting a school bus painted can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000, depending on the type of paint you choose, the size of the bus, and whether you hire a professional or do it yourself. 

Other FAQs about Skoolie that you may be interested in.

Do you need a CDL to drive a Skoolie in Georgia?

How can I increase my bus mileage?

How do you gut a school bus?


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