Designing the Van Part 7 – Fitting a Skylight

The work was going well, my seating frame was holding firm and the floor was hard-wearing and to me, easy on the eye. One of the problems we faced was a lack of light.

Our Renault has a bulkhead with a slot window in it and we decided to keep that in for security reasons. It’s a great ‘wall’ to use for screwing things to but it also means you have to exit the van to get in the back – something else I now wish wasn’t the case.

The slot window allows a small amount of light but with the doors closed it was pretty dark inside so that needed to change. Windows were on the list of jobs but a good start was adding a skylight. I’d seen some for sale at a local caravan suppliers and decided to pick one up.

It’s not a big window, probably 30cm sq but it includes a dome top which can be raised from inside, a fly screen and a sun blind.

Tools for this job included a marker pen, cardboard for a template, a drill and the trusty jigsaw with a fine toothed blade.

I marked the inner frame on a piece of cardboard and place the template on the ceiling inside the van to find a good spot for it. A central spot in the van’s rear roof section seemed a good place so I marked it up and drilled four pilot holes; one in each corner.

I then connected the lines on the outside of the van and cut the square out. The window dropped straight in so I sealed it straight away with a waterproof sealant normally used on boat windows. The inside of the frame had a greater depth than the thickness of the roof so I made a collar out of foam insulation which made the difference and screwed the bottom of the frame in.

The difference was immediately noticeable. The skylight, albeit small allowed so much more light in and meant that working and living in there was going to be a much more enjoyable experience from then on.

With more light I’d be able to work on the next stage – building the bed frame.

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