from the bottom to the top – time to get the roof sorted

Roof rust

Having got the underside of the bus cleaned up and protected, it was now time to look at the roof and gutters. The most obvious issue was an area over the rear corner of the bus. At some point in the past, some filler had been applied to an area. Unfortunately over the years, the filler had shrunk and cracked and allowed water to get underneath causing some rust to develop.

cracks in an old roof dent repair are in need of looking at again
cracks in an old roof dent repair are in need of looking at again

It looked pretty rough! I wanted to have this sorted out now so that it didn’t develop into a bigger problem further down the line. Unfortunately, you can never be certain what lies beneath, and sometimes you start on one small area and it slowly grows into something much larger! Hoping that this won’t be the case…

easy to see why gutters can become rotten if not cleaned and looked after
easy to see why gutters can become rotten if not cleaned and looked after

Gutter gunge

Bringing the bus into Resto Classics workshop, you can see the effects of daily grime and the autumnal weather! Dirt and rain wash off the roof and collect in the gutters. Whilst most of this then drains off via the little outlets in each corner of the bus as you drive around, a small residue often remains. It’s this when not cleaned away, that over time, can cause problems!

in need of cleaning back to bare metal, rust proofing and future proofing
in need of cleaning back to bare metal, rust proofing and future-proofing

Normally I try to keep the gutters clean when I wash the bus. Not surprisingly over the lifetime of the bus, some surface rust has developed as the paint in the gutters has deteriorated with age and use.

lovely straight roof top gutters, but in need of cleaning up and future protection
lovely straight rooftop gutters, but in need of cleaning up and future protection

Rough, but solid

So in order to provide long-term protection, the gutters will need to get cleaned up and protected from the elements. Fortunately, it looks worse than it is. The gutters are all really solid, just weathered with some surface rust to clean up and treat.

lovely straight roof top gutters, but in need of cleaning up and future protection
lovely straight rooftop gutters, but in need of cleaning up and future protection

Some areas on the lower edges and top of the roof have small character marks or battle scars that have areas of surface rust where the paint has been scratched/removed. These could possibly get looked at at the same time. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to draw the line, what to leave, what to look at?

lovely straight roof top gutters, but in need of cleaning up and future protection
lovely straight rooftop gutters, but in need of cleaning up and future protection

Preservation options

In terms of long-term protection, there are a few options. Clean out all the organic debris from the gutters and choose a wax type product like Ankor Wax or a Collinite wax to regularly apply over them? This would help ‘waterproof’ them whilst leaving them in the same condition as they are currently. You could also clean back and treat the rust affected areas with a rust neutraliser, prime and paint. Guess which route I opted to go for…

working progress… once cleaned and prepped the joint area will get seam sealed for protection
work in progress… once cleaned and prepped the joint area will get seam-sealed for protection

Whilst the wax option is definitely appealing, and will probably come into play in some other areas of the bus, I decided to go for (the hopefully!) longer-lasting option of prep and localised paint! Living by the coast does have some disadvantages, exposure to the elements and saltwater being the main ones! So the guys at Resto Classics set about cleaning up and prepping the gutters and taking back the paint on the rear roof area to see what lurked below…

the artist in me loved the work in progress of cleaning up the previous repair area layers
the artist in me loved the work in progress of cleaning up the previous repair area layers

What’s beneath…

This is where I began to feel a bit nervous about how far this would end up going! Once stripped back and cleaned up, you could see the extent of the previous repair area. In the past, there had been a dent in the roof that had been mostly pulled out and skim filled over with filler.

previous repair area cleaned up and taken back to bare metal to treat rust areas
previous repair area cleaned up and taken back to bare metal to treat rust areas

So at least no hidden major nasties. It was just cracked filler, but no hidden rust to worry about. The guys at Resto Classics also thought they could panel beat a bit more of the dent out before repainting the area.

localised cleaning up and rust removal as and where necessary
localised cleaning up and rust removal as and where necessary

Which bits to do or leave?

As much as possible, the cleanup and prep work was localised to small areas that needed attention. Choosing which bits to do or leave is always tough. I’m sure it would have been way easier to have just done the whole roof in one hit in the end, far fewer choices to make! I guess I’m taking a fairly pragmatic approach to it, trying to walk the tightrope between preserving as much of the buses originality, whilst also trying to ensure its longevity. I suspect that some areas I’ll need to come back to and revisit in the future. Only time will tell…

getting there… straight, true and rust free
getting there… straight, true and rust-free

Straight and solid

When cleaned up it was encouraging to see how straight and solid the original gutters were underneath! 🙂 However, it seems like preservation is turning into a bit of a reluctant mini-renovation at the moment –this was always the risk!

a ladybird seems to approve of the cleaner gutters
a ladybird seems to approve of the cleaner gutters

Mind you this little ladybird seemed to be impressed with the work thus far!

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