EPDM pond liner for living roof construction

by ziggy on October 7, 2008 -- 15 comments -- Follow

Last week, I ordered the most expensive material for my entire cob house: the EPDM pond liner for my (soon-coming) living roof. EPDM is a synthetic, petroleum-based rubber product commonly used for living roofs, due to its strength and durability. Apparently, it can last 50 years exposed to the sun, and presumably longer buried under dirt.

I have not been thrilled by the prospect of purchasing this petro product for my house (it’s one of the few new, synthetic materials in the whole building); however, it has been challenging to find information on building a living roof using natural materials. Apparently, Norwegians have historically used birch bark as their impermeable membrane. Getting more information than just that has proved difficult, and still, I probably wouldn’t have been willing to experiment with my first house, considering just how important a good roof is. I want to do this right. Perhaps I’ll experiment with an all-natural living roof on a different building in the future. (If anyone out there has details on any books, etc. with information on traditional living roofs, let me know!)

Anyway, the 35’x35′ sheet of EPDM cost a whopping $622, at least $100 of which was the shipping cost. The thing weighs 380 pounds. I’m pretty daunted by the idea of somehow getting this whole thing unrolled over the roof… but I’m sure with enough hands, it won’t be so bad!

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  • Liquid roof

    Yeah definitely, it wont be bad at all!!!EPDM coatings no doubt are very reliable and effective with a features like being UV and ozone layer stable, temperature tolerant over a large range, waterproof and strong acid and bases resistant.

  • rational decision made by you… EPDM is no doubt a wonderful material to repair leaks of your roofs and ponds…. Good Luck in Future…

  • tommy

    I have a question, Is there any difference between EPDM roofing membrane and EPDM pond liner?

  • It sounds like the same thing, from what I can tell.

  • John Colvard

    How thick was the EPDM you used? I’ve been offered .4 and .6, so wondering if .4 would be sufficient for the living roof on my 14×19 shed. Also, it comes in a 10′ wide roll, so will have to join the seems somehow. Any suggestions?

  • Hmmm… I believe what I purchased was “45 mil” EPDM.


    I bet either thickness would be fine.

    As far as seams…. I’m not sure. There may be a product you can buy to join two pieces of EPDM together. I would call the company I linked to above to get details.

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  • Mary

    I would have loved to put a living roof on my little 12×12 strawbale /cob vault but am determined to have no petroleum products. I’m thinking of trying a living roof of hay and sod over tin roofing, on a porch, to see how it does.

  • Grant

    Mary I think the roots of the plants will get into the seams of your tin roof and make it leak real fast. Also, soil in contact with metal will make the metal corrode fast. Soil will eat a hole through a corriosoion resistant aluminum canoe if it is stored with the bottom on the ground. Good luck with your home!

  • hi there i’m just about to purchase an epdm membrane for my house. was wondering if you could reccomend a supplier?

    thanks kindly.

  • hello again. did use use anything to adhere it to your sheathing?

  • Ethan: I went with these folks: http://www.justliners.com/EPDM.htm

    I did not adhere it to the sheathing. There really is no need since it is so heavy and cannot possibly move once covered with soil.

  • Katie Patel

    i think the best roofing are ceramic based because it is a very good insulator.~`.

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