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.