Roof Installation Guide : Based on T5 Transporter

Most products can be fitted by a DIY enthusiast who has a knowledge of measuring out and cutting skills, and a general awareness to check carefully as they proceed. This guide is specifically for a T5 Transporter but many of the principles are similar.

With all purchases we provide fixings and diagrams showing plan and elevation of the van cut outs and elevating roof positions.

10 key points to keep in mind when installing a campervan roof

1) Always look at the vehicle and the instruction carefully so you understand each point before proceeding as mistakes can be costly.

2) Check that the roof containing hole is correctly marked out as per our diagram before cutting. It is important to check that the distance from the front of your roof to the front of the roof opening is correct and the same at the back. You should try the roof on the van before you mark out.

3) If you are having the roof painted you should mark and trim the roof to size before you send it to the painters.

4) Take care not to get any paints or fluids or sustances of any kind on the canvas as these can leave a stain that you may not be able to remove.

5) Cover all cut out metal edges as you proceed and wear safety gloves when handling where possible.

6) Apply protection covers to the vehicle inside and out to prevent accidental damage/scratching.

7) Ensure the frame work and tent are sealed correctly and check for water ingress. We also recommend you drive your vehicle to check for metal movement noises as soon as the roof is in place and before you start doing interior finishes.

8) Allow clearance distance for the spoiler if you are fitting one as there is a movement of 15mm when the roof and gas springs are in the closed position.

9) The roof should closes correctly and be central before you fasten the tent.

10) Do not close the roof with the gas springs fitted if the tent has not been fitted as this will stress the hinges.

We ask that all customers read all instructions and information carefully and write down any questions that they would like to ask, but in most instances 75% of these will be answered by perseverance to observe our diagrams and your van for a reasonable period, before you ring to discuss further.

Each van has 5 stages

  1. Look at all information and fixings / roof supplied, prepare the van move covers and wires to one side, place protection and prepare tools and work platforms.

  2. Mark out carefully cross checking dimensions cut roof out and fit strengthening frames supplied.

  3. Lift roof into position adjust then fasten

  4. Test opening and closing

  5. Fasten perimeter of the tent and fit trims seals etc

Please note there are certain things that must not be done, that we will advise you on with each type of unit.

Our staff will be available to talk you through each of these stages should you wish to do so.

Full details and sketches are provided with each unit.


Listed below you will find 12 points of advisory information to help with your installation:

Fitting a Pop-top

Cutting a hole in the roof of a T5 Transporter to fit a new elevating roof.

You will need:

Angle grinder with cutting discs or jigsaw with long blades
Electric drill with 3-10mm drill bits
Gearbox jacks (2) or similar supports
Pop rivet gun
Sealant gun.

An elevating roof can transform a van into a liveable area, adding the headroom needed for cooking, and the extra space for sleeping. Such a conversion isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. There’s more to it than simply cutting a hole in the roof and bolting on the new one; strengthening beams need to be added to make sure the roof remains rigid; measurements need to be accurate to make sure the hole that is cut out is covered by the elevating roof; care needs to be taken to avoid cutting through wires and damaging trim and glass with angle grinder sparks. We spent two days following the fitting of an elevating roof from Pop Top Roofs ( to a 61-reg T5 Transporter. This particular conversion kit uses a rear-hinged GRP pop-top with canvas sides. The roof is made from fibreglass (commonly known as GRP) and is supplied with the hinges and gas rams already fitted. Strengthening consists of front and rear beams that are fixed to the underside of the roof, plus two sill shaped beams that are fixed over the sides of the hole in the roof. Whilst the main parts of a pop-top conversion consist of measuring up, cutting out a hole in the roof, fitting strengthening beams, followed by the new elevating roof, there are lots of other aspects to the conversion. The headlining needs to be removed and either adapted or new trim fitted. When fitting strengthening beams, They use plenty of Sikaflex silicone sealant to help prevent panel rattles and squeaks. They also rust protect any cut metal edges with paint. The following 12 steps provide an overview of the work involved in fitting an elevating roof.


Step One:

Start by removing the headlining inside the van to move the wiring that runs along the underside. From inside the cab, the headlining and the trim down the pillars needs to be removed.


Step Two:

Front and rear strengthening beams are fitted on the underside of the van’s roof. The front strengthening beam needs to be trial fitted and marked to see where to cut the roof. Holes are drilled from inside to show where to cut.


Step Three:

Sitting on the roof of the van, measurements can be taken to mark where to cut the large hole that will be covered by the elevating roof. These measurements line up with the holes cut in the last step.


Step Four:

All glass and upholstery is protected (headlining is refitted) before cutting the roof. Use an angle grinder with cutting discs to remove the outer skin. They usually wear out half a dozen cutting discs.


Step Five:

Once the outer skin of the roof has been cut out, the headlining can be removed again and the roof can be peeled off – it’s only held on with silicone to the roof’s strengthening beams. This large steel panel isn’t required anymore.


Step Six:

The strengthening beams that run across the hole in the roof need to be removed. They can be cut with an angle grinder and cutting disc, although the front-most one is easier to cut with a jigsaw and long blade.


Step Seven:

After painting the cut edges of the roof to stop corrosion, the front and rear strengthening beams are secured to the underside of the remaining roof using a Sikaflex silicone-based adhesive and pop rivets.


Step Eight:

Two sill-shaped side beams are supplied in the kit and need to be trimmed to fit flush with the front and rear strengthening beams. These are also secured with silicone and pop rivets along the top and underneath.


Step Nine:

With the strengthening for the elevating roof complete, the sides of the van are trimmed in carpet, then the elevating roof can be trial fitted, measured and marked to show its position on the van.


Step Ten:

The elevating roof shown here uses hinges at the rear and gas rams at the front. Measurements are supplied in the kit to show where to drill mounting holes through the van’s existing roof gutter.


Step Eleven:

After drilling the mounting points for the elevating roof’s hinges and gas rams, the roof is fitted and secured in position. It needs to be raised to fit the gas rams, making sure there’s nothing in the way.


Step Twelve:

The final job in the conversion is to fix the canvas sides for the elevating roof. These are clamped, glued and screwed to the top of the van, making sure they are taut when the roof is raised and sit inside the roof when it’s lowered.


Once the project is finished, the first thing you’ll enjoy is avoiding a stiff neck or back; no longer needing to stoop to make a cuppa. There is something grand about stretching out and the feeling of light and space. But the most obvious benefit is that you can also make a two-berth camper into a fourberth camper – essential if you have kids. This key modification will add value to your bus as well as value to your experience, as your van becomes campervan!