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Sources for rubber roofing

 
Posts: 58
Location: Idaho
1
transportation tiny house wofati
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Initially I planned on using 6 mil plastic for the roof of my underground house, so I looked for sources for that. A roll of 6 mil runs around $80 from a local distributing company. However, I was concerned about possibly poking a hole through it in installation, so I started looking at EPDM rubber roofing.

The problem with EPDM is that it is expensive! From what I've seen it runs about $1.10 per square foot for .45 mil rubber! That adds up quick and takes a bite out of the budget.

I work in North Dakota in the oil fields, and I noticed that all of the million gallon Poisidon tanks that hold the water for fracs use EPDM rubber liners. I got excited about the possibility of snagging some when they move the tanks. They throw away the liner each time.

However, I got sprayed with some water that was in one of those tanks and it gave me a mild chemical burn. That got me to thinking: Do I really want to live with those chemicals in my house for the next 50 years?

After looking online, I came up with www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com. They sell 45 mil rubber roofing for $400 for about 2000 square feet.

This is used roofing material that came off of commercial buildings, and it has holes in it from vents, etc. I don't think it is hurt, and it will last forever under 18" of earth.

The only problem is the holes and irregular shapes. I went and talked to a roofing contractor who installs it, and he told me of a tape you can buy to seam it, though I have not sourced that yet.

They also sell billboard vinyls which could be used for many applications. I hope to try it out on a greenhouse on the walls.

Anyone else have any sources to share for rubber roofing or billboard vinyl?
 
pollinator
Posts: 4665
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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repurposedmaterialsinc. is where I go. The billboard tarps are suprisingly water proof and tough. I have not used one for roofing yet but will try it in the future.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3653
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I have picked up a few billboards (friend of a friend....) but have also seen them on Craigslist. They are great protection, but need to be stretched TIGHT if used outside. Then ones we had got very brittle in the cold and any flapping in the wind would crack the plastic on both sides. The reinforcing fabric held, but no longer waterproof.

I intend to use them on my wofati greenhouse, probably in addition to the 6 mil poly. I figure they will be a good protective layer.

I have friends using them as pond liners, will let you know how they turn out.
 
Posts: 92
Location: Ontario North and South - right now, moving North Permanently soon. Timmins Cochrane areas
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Find a flat roofer, here they can source some rubber that is thick, 20' wide and up to 100' long, price per the person your dealing with of course.
The neighbour here is a flat roofer, fixes and creates, could not even envision what I was talking about, but offered up some rubber for me to use, so nice guy!
 
Posts: 145
Location: NW MT Zones 4/5 Rollins Mt
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We have this type of roof and have installed it many times.Not sure about your location but yes there is tape you can buy as well as different types of repair glues and patches if your using second hand epdm roofing.We get ours from a roofing store close to us,,
Personally when we were building we looked directly at what happens if a leak occurs there was no way I was going to risk having construction plastics as my roof system..LOL they are fine on my greenhouse and I have a 10 mil not a 6 mil on it right now and still have sticks go through it ..You will be much happier putting out money for the epdm in the long run..Our house has new on it but we also have some from a job that is being re-purposed to the strawbale house going on the hillside..
 
Jeff Higdon
Posts: 58
Location: Idaho
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transportation tiny house wofati
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Thanks Mary! I am west of Sandpoint, ID.
 
Mary James
Posts: 145
Location: NW MT Zones 4/5 Rollins Mt
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Jeff,
Should be easy to find someone in Spokane.
 
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So, related question here:

I am looking to build a small wofati I only plan to live in 1-5 years. The idea is something I can build extremely cheaply and save some money to get the land I want while gaining some experience building this type of home. Would using polyethelene on this be okay given the short term occupancy? If not, I will see what I can find on these re-purposing places
 
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Jeff Higdon wrote:

 However, I got sprayed with some water that was in one of those tanks and it gave me a mild chemical burn.  That got me to thinking:  Do I really want to live with those chemicals in my house for the next 50 years?

 After looking online, I came up with www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com.  They sell 45 mil rubber roofing for $400 for about 2000 square feet.

 The only problem is the holes and irregular shapes.  I went and talked to a roofing contractor who installs it, and he told me of a tape you can buy to seam it, though I have not sourced that yet.

 They also sell billboard vinyls which could be used for many applications.



What about cleaning the liner from those tanks? I guess there is a trade off to consider there. Which is more efficient use of time and effort? Cleaning (if feasible) the "free*" liner versus patching the used roofing material.

I would think something similar to what is used to patch inner tubes for tires would work for the holes, cut outs. Labor intensive for sure depending on the material. Might would even make sense to trim that material in straight lengths then glue them together. That might would provide more installation control when repaired seams could get ripped off and end up with leakage.

* when i say free there is still a cost for moving, handling, storing, your time, etc.

Do you have any data on the vinyl? Thickness, cost, etc.

Thanks!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1233
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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> [repairing used material]

Because of the surface wear/tear and contamination, products used to seam and connect new material may not work very well on used material. In fact even products that are commonly used to repair in service problems may not work very well. Adhering degraded and dirty surfaces is a crapshoot.

Factor this into your planning and try to test samples of anything you get close to using. It won't guarantee long term viability, but it can provide some warning about immediate show stopper problems.

When reusing material you hope will provide a water barrier, take exceeding care to install it with overlaps going the "right" direction. This was the only method available for hundreds  of years  and it works -  no chemicals or glues involved; but it requires knowledge and care during construction.. It is _still_ top of the list in all installation guides for all building weather barriers sold today. It is required by all building codes. It is generally acknowledged to be the only reliable long term hedge against water intrusion. All chemicals commonly available fail over in relatively short time - 20 to 30 years at the very outside. The concept is simple, the application painstaking: Imagine you're a drop of water propelled along a surface by gravity and following the easiest path. Where will you go at each seam or join or change of material you encounter? If the lap is right, you will continue down the outside; if the lap is wrong or marginal you may go inside.

Again, there is no guarantee because liquid wants to "wick" _up_ between surfaces in close contact. Also, if the seam is actually _under_ water (say the roof of a wofati is fully saturated with melt water caught by an  ice dam in it's drainage path) then water will be pressurized slightly and will try to force it's way into any pathway way it can find, regardless if the lap is proper.

Proper and robust (can suffer a lot of abuse and degradation before failure) drainage is very important in applications where _any_ leak is a real problem. IOW, it can be worth taking a lot of thought, time and trouble to ensure the simplest,  best drainage paths possible. Depending on how much any leak might cost.

The "green roof" industry in urban areas may be a place to look for current information on "immersed" roofs. Products and application methods.


Regards,
Rufus
 
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