Sealed Up


While I waited for my bus driver’s license there were really only two projects that I could start. One was painting the bus, and the other was building the rooftop deck.

But since I don’t have a welding machine, nor do I have any experience welding, I guess that left me with only one option -- painting.

I actually don’t have any experience painting, either, but how hard can it be, right?

Not that hard, if you have a week of 50-degree weather and no rain. I had neither. The forecast was continually getting colder and the chance of rain was slowly changing to chance of snow.

It was only becoming more apparent that this was to be a rough first coat to seal the bus up for winter and to stop those small but annoying leaks.


Luckily for me, an army of mates came out to help me sand and tape up the bus to get it ready for its initial coat.

I am using Black Jack Ultra-Roof 1000 Gloss White Acrylic White Siliconized Elastomeric Roof Paint for the top of the bus, and a Rust-Oleum white gloss oil based paint for the sides. The Black Jack had great reviews and was less than half the price of the Henry’s Tropi-cool, which is what everyone else seemed to be using, so it was a win for me. As for the Rust-Oleum, it was cheap, shiny and available so why not?

I went with a white finish because I will not have air conditioning, only two small roof vents to suck out the hot air from the inside. I want to be able to repel as much of the sun as I can in the summer, as I will be able to heat the bus in winter much more easily than I will be able to cool it in summer.


With the sun going down, we quickly power-washed the roof and started to dry it in 38- degree temps with painters rags that we had bought by the pound from Home Depot.

We threw some of the Jacks paint into the painting tray and started to lather it on quickly with the goal to get a coat on that night.

It’s annoying that hours and hours of cleaning and prep work is culminated with 15 minutes of painting when you have two people. Why can’t it be the other way round? Why does the fun part need to be over so quickly? Although we couldn’t feel our fingers anymore, it looked good, from afar, anyway. And, most importantly, it looked good to me.

We came back a two days later with the goal of finishing the body of the bus.


We loaded up the paint sprayer that my friend had lent me and started to fire it off. It delivered an even and transformative layer to the shell. Instantly, it changed the vibe of the vehicle from this grungy, 18-year-old school bus to something that could resemble a bus conversion.

As we were finishing off, snow started to fall and the realization that we had to hurry along set in. We worked as a team, finishing off each of the large, undone spots.


Once this layer had set, I came back with a few friends a few days later to touch up the missed details with a brush.

The reason it was all spread out so much is because of how shitty the weather was. Fluctuating temps along with downpours of rain meant for slow progress. I’m glad that we were able to seal it up though and it is now ready for the next chapter.  


Sam Reiser