Top 5 Dimensions to Know Before Designing a Skoolie

Converting a bus is an exciting experience and at times overwhelming. One way to lessen the overwhelm is by starting out with a well thought out floor plan. This starts with knowing the measurements of your bus, supplies, and the appliances that you are going to use in your home on wheels. Below, we are going to discuss the Top 5 Dimensions to Know Before Designing Your Skoolie Floor Plan.

skoolie floor plan

 Planning ahead before designing your skoolie floor plan will speed your conversion along and save you money in the process. One of the first things I do is to create a spreadsheet or Google doc with all of the dimensions laid out by room. In this same spreadsheet I list links on where to purchase items, the cost of the item, and the measurements. To get you started here are the Top 5 Skoolie measurements to know before you design your skoolie floor plan.

#1 Dimensions  from Ceiling to Floor

Think about how much head space you’re going to have—and how much you’re going to need. How tall is the tallest person who is going to be living or traveling in your skoolie? The height of your flooring will affect your clearance. Some floorings are thicker than others. If you choose to insulate your floor you will lose some space. Do you have the clearance to lose? (I recommend insulating the floor if at all possible!)

  • The average measurement when installing a floor is 2 inches.  

#2 Wall Thickness Measurement

At this point, if you do not know what material will be used for the bus walls, at least add in the thickness of your studs. There are several options for studs. You can use 2x2s for the stud walls or you can rip down 2×4’s and use a true 2×2.

  • The width of a 2×2 is actually 1 1/2 inches. 
  • Lauan Plywood is a popular choice used to cover the walls

  • The lauan sheets I recommend are 1/4 inch thick.

  • When you add the studs and the lauan plywood on both sides, the thickness will come to 2 inches when using 2×2 studs. 

Do you see how these measurements can make a difference in your floor plan? 

#3 The Shower Valve

Make sure to measure the depth of the shower valve that you are going to use. I recommend allowing 4 inches of space. Make note of this on your plan. 

  • Install the shower valve 40-44 inches from the floor.  
  • The shower head is placed 11/2 inches from the ceiling. 
  • Most tub spouts are installed  24 inches from the floor.

#4 The Wheel Wells

When drawing your floor plan, after you have your rectangle on the graph paper or on the computer screen, place the wheel wells on your floor plan. The width, depth, and length of the wheel wells will differ from bus to bus.

You will also want to get the measurements from the back/front doors to the wheel well.

  • The wheel wells in most 37 ft conventional buses are located  9 ft 11 inches from the back door. 

#5 Bus Doors

The number of doors the bus has will depend on the style and model of your particular bus.  If you purchased a short to mid-size bus, you will most likely have a back door at the rear, a side door toward the back on the passenger side, and a front passenger door. 

If you purchased a rear engine bus, you will have a front passenger door and a side door either in the middle on the driver’s side or passenger side. 

Front engine buses will have a rear door and a front passenger door.

When designing a skoolie floor plan it is important to mark off the placement of each door on your plan.

Get each of these measurements for the doors before beginning your plan.

  • Measure from each side wall to the edge of the rear door.
  • For the passenger and emergency exit doors, measure from rear of the bus to the start of the door and the front of the bus to the start of the door. 
  • Measure the width and height of all doors. 

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In some flat front buses, there will be 1 ft of extra space on the drivers side than on the passenger side due to the placement of the passenger side door. 

Getting all of these measurements plus many more listed in the DIY Skoolie Floor Planning Guide may seem like an extreme amount of work but when it comes to designing the floor plan you will not have to stop the design process because you do not know the dimensions required.

Inside the DIY Skoolie Floor Planning Guide is a list of supplies, appliances, room dimensions and much more. 


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