Dressing up the reciprocal roof

by ziggy on October 19, 2008 -- 6 comments -- Follow


Before the EPDM went on the roof, I wanted to add a cushion of cardboard on top of the rafters and decking to protect the membrane. And before the cardboard went on, I wanted to add some kind of fabric so that the cardboard would not be visible from inside of the space. I bought a 50 yard bolt of muslin for $50 at Zimmerman’s, and Karen (my current work exchanger) and I draped the fabric and stapled it to the decking.


Next went the cardboard. This was pretty tricky since the cardboard was so slippery and could not be easily traversed while affixing it to the decking. I used some short nails to try to help it stay in place, which I wasn’t totally thrilled about having to do, since I wanted to minimize pointy things immediately underneath the EPDM. But it wouldn’t really stay in place otherwise.


With the addition of the tractor tire and cardboard, the house was looking rather…. interesting…


Next came the impermeable membrane: the 35’x35′ sheet of EPDM, weighing in at 380 pounds. With the help of at least a dozen or more other people, we unraveled the EPDM from its roll, and hoisted it up on the middle of the roof. From there, we unfolded it and spread it across the surface of the roof.



Without that many hands, the lifting of the membrane would have been an incredible chore…. perhaps even impossible…

I am incredibly relieved to now have the EPDM sitting on the roof. This means I will never again have to get out of bed at 3:00 AM to check to see if the tarps are still covering the roof during a thunderstorm.

Next up: trimming the membrane, making eaves and finishing the skylight, and then lifting lots and lots of soil for the living roof…


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  • Chris Durham

    Great blog Brian and great work on your new home. I’m new to cob so I love watching and learning for now.

    Have you thought of putting Adsense on your site for a little income? You deserve it for all the great info you’re putting out there. Works great for me. Costs you nothing and those penny clicks will add up over the years.

    Good luck and happy cobbing!

  • Thanks for reading!

    I haven’t really thought about it before… I’m pretty opposed to ads, but I wouldn’t mind the extra income… Hmmmm…

  • Saris

    From a girl living (temporarily!) in the wasteful and polluted city of Seoul, thanks for the inspiration and reminder you just gave me to work towards something better. Best wishes for your new house — it looks amazing so far!

  • Sage boyd

    Hey, can you let us know where you ordered your pond liner? we’re trying to get one for the round house we want to build and can”t find a good deal anywhere…

  • This is where I got mine: http://www.justliners.com/EPDM.htm

  • rebecca

    howdy, hope you see this at some stage what with your ongoing buildings of kitchens and the like, im re reading your entire process again to help my plans for my cob homes and im curious,
    when you affixed the roof on, how many braces did you use on the cob walls? did you embed these in were they wire affixed to blocks of wood?
    did you revist the roofline (where it sits on the wall) and cob up any gaps?
    thanks so much for your blog, it is truly an immense resource:) i, like you, am terrified of the roof prospect, my design currently is a lower open lounge/ kitchen, study and small shower room with an open mezzanine second floor for sleeping/storage and im not at all sure of how to go about roof/wall height. im keeping it small, although larger than your cottage as we are planning a family and want to add on eventually. i wonder if the reciprocal roof would work for the whole dwelling or maybe just for the second storey. im busy with modelling clay and matchsticks at the moment haha!
    keep up the great work, arohanui (much love)
    rebecca in NZ

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