Earthship: repairing the roof
Posted by sibylle in Colorado (Thursday October 16, 2008 at 9:45 am)

snowon roof.JPG

Tristan sweeping the roof before we repair the EPDM

Earthship roofs are designed with a very shallow pitch (1 in 12) that necessitates a rubber membrane (EPDM) roof. The EPDM continues past the roof onto the berm, preventing water from reaching the bermed rear walls. AT 9,500 feet, the large amount of snow, and the temperature differentials from night to day results in freezing and thawing of the ground behind the house.

This freeze–thaw cycle results in movement and earth shifting, which resulted in splits in the membrane. Our goal is to find all split seams and other gaps in the EPDM and patch them. This wasn’t easy.
Step 1 - Find some EPDM

I called every roof supply place in Summit County. Only one phone number listed in Frisco had EPDM.
“Oh, we’re in Granby. We have a Frisco number and address because our contractors are building condos there,” they said when I called for directions.

Great. Granby’s at least two hours away, further than Denver or Boulder. In Boulder, I called Black Roofing, the supplier where I last bought EPDM.
“We don’t sell to the public any more,” they told me.
Next I tried Boulder Roofing. They were willing to sell me EPDM if they had it, but didn’t have enough. The pleasant secretary suggested a roofing supply in Golden, between Boulder and Silverthorne. They also sell only to contractors. I was beginning to worry that no one sells EPDM to homeowners and I would have to either ask a contractor friend to order it for me, or hire a roofer to patch my roof. I’m fairly certain that very few roofers would patch EPDM that covers dirt berms behind a house.
After calling more roofing materials suppliers, I finally succeeded at American Roofing Supply in Denver. They least they sell is a 500-square-foot roll, 10 feet by 50 feet that weighs 220 pounds. I drove to Denver and got the EPDM, primer, and tape.
Now we need to glue it onto the roof.

7 comments for Earthship: repairing the roof »

  1. Oy. You’d think that places selling to contractors would make an exception for the (likely) few homeowners who call. How heavy is the stuff? Buying it online may be cheaper than the gas and time spent driving to Denver.

    Comment by Kitt — October 16, 2008 @ 11:22 am

  2. The roll we bought (the smallest they sell) is 10′ by 50 feet and weighs 220 pounds.
    Not sure if or where they sell EPDM online. It’s considered a commercial roofing product that requires professional installation.

    Comment by sibylle — October 17, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  3. Holy cow! That’s heavy stuff (I guess it would need to be). There are listings for it on eBay. (You can buy or sell anything there.)

    Comment by Kitt — October 18, 2008 @ 10:28 am

  4. Wow. Tenacious gets the job done. Now on to the actual project!

    Comment by Lara Robinson — May 28, 2009 @ 9:48 am

  5. […] Lately, the EPDM membrane roof leaked in several places. Though we spent many days repairing the roof last fall,  we didn’t succeed in removing every leak. We patched every hole and crack that we could see,  but didn’t realize that went the roofers first roofed it, they had not glued the EPDM that stretches across the berms behind the wing walls. This summer, we finally found the unsealed seams and crawled under the EPDM to fix the drainage. […]

    Pingback by Fun Climbs Around The World » Earthship wall repair — July 31, 2009 @ 9:18 am

  6. You can buy EPDM and all supplies online. Just do a Google search for “EPDM” and you’ll find a few places This is what I plan to do for my roof.

    Marc in MA

    Comment by Marc Lamphier — April 6, 2010 @ 6:44 am

  7. Even if I buy EPDM online, no one ships to my house. It’s about 2 miles of non-maintained dirt road, with a 20% grade, to reach it. UPS and the post office don’t deliver there, nor does Fedex ground. So I’d have to figure out a place to get it delivered. I bought a complete roll of EPDM - which weighs about 200 pounds, so delivery is not that simple. Perhaps you live closer to civilization!

    Comment by sibylle — April 6, 2010 @ 8:04 am

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