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Living roof on a "pole barn" style animal shelter??  RSS feed

 
Tina Paxton
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Location: coastal southeast North Carolina
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I'm not sure where to put this question so if it belongs in another forum, please feel free to move it!

I am considering moving my rabbits, chickens, and ducks shelter from zone 1 to zone 2 (and placing a kitchen garden in the zone 1 spot) and it occurred to me that a living roof might be a good option but I need to consider a few concerns:

1. cost to build = My overall budget for the structure is tight -- about $200-300.

2. difficulty of the build = I am not a carpenter nor do I have access to one to help so construction would need to be "doable" for me and a few non-skilled helpers.

3. construction plans = What I have in mind currently is to use an existing 16x16 dog kennel --with it's posts and some additional 4x4 wooden posts to allow closer spacing of the roof supports. The chain-link fence (5' height) will be the "walls". The kennel has one gate and I will add another so there will be two entrances. I was thinking of making the dimensions 12x20 so I can have two rows of rabbit hutches with a generous aisle and room at one end for bird roosting and nesting. The original plan for the roof was to use 2x4 beams across with chicken wire stretched over that and a vinyl tarp over that. But, if I could construct a living roof instead it would help with regulating temps inside which is important for the rabbits (they don't handle heat well). There will be vining plants planted around the perimeter so the chainlink can be shaded and a vinyl tarp on the inside that can be lowered during inclement weather. A living roof would need to be strong enough, obviously, not to collapse even when fully saturated. It would need to be able to handle large amounts of rain in tropical storm/hurricane situations -- it would need to be able to shed the excess water fast enough to not get heavy enough to collapse.

Is it possible? What think ye?
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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I have considered this myself. I would suggin placest alfalfa, as it is known for its root system.
I would also suggest a "soil" made up almost entirely of perlite, to both keep weight down and keep the plants hydrated.
Clear vinyl sides could allow a green house environment during cold weather, perhaps giving your vines a head start for the warm months.a deep litter system could add compost heat and nutrition for the vines.

I have a kennel myself,plus a source of free pvc pipes.
My plan is to run 1 1/2" pvc through each diamond at the top of the chain link and wire them in place. I would zip tie snow fencing on top of that and finish with tarps.
The edges of the tarps would fold up over the top rails and one edge would be perforated to feed a vinyl gutter which would feed a rain barrel.
Perlite would fill the top of the roof, held by the edges that the top rails would form.

 
Tina Paxton
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Location: coastal southeast North Carolina
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William Bronson wrote: I have considered this myself. I would suggin placest alfalfa, as it is known for its root system.
I would also suggest a "soil" made up almost entirely of perlite, to both keep weight down and keep the plants hydrated.
Clear vinyl sides could allow a green house environment during cold weather, perhaps giving your vines a head start for the warm months.a deep litter system could add compost heat and nutrition for the vines.

I have a kennel myself,plus a source of free pvc pipes.
My plan is to run 1 1/2" pvc through each diamond at the top of the chain link and wire them in place. I would zip tie snow fencing on top of that and finish with tarps.
The edges of the tarps would fold up over the top rails and one edge would be perforated to feed a vinyl gutter which would feed a rain barrel.
Perlite would fill the top of the roof, held by the edges that the top rails would form.



Are you sure the PVC can hold up to the weight without bowing and collecting water? I have used 1/2" PVC for a couple projects and found that "on the flat" it is too flexible and is not good for "flat-roof" buildings as they will bust under the weight of water...they do work well for arched roof structures it seems. Your idea may work well, I am by no means a structural engineer (thus the attempt to make a flat roof out of pvc and tarp only to have to crumble under the weight of a good rain).

I think you are right about using perlite as at least a majority of the soil content on a living roof--it is light weight and will hold water... would it wash away in a strong rain, though? might be worth an experiment to see how it would hold up...
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1490
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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I am totally not sure about the pvc, 1 1/2" is the smallest I would use, and it would allow me to reinforce them even after they are in place.
One stong support perpendicular to the pvc would allow me to add one central vertical support, probably of 3" pvc.
 
Tina Paxton
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William Bronson wrote: I am totally not sure about the pvc, 1 1/2" is the smallest I would use, and it would allow me to reinforce them even after they are in place.
One stong support perpendicular to the pvc would allow me to add one central vertical support, probably of 3" pvc.


The vertical support could be done with a "T" connector. I think if you could had a slight curve to the PVC it might have less tendency to bow downward and yet still allow for a living roof cover....again, I'm just guessing on this... the other good part of your plan is that you are planning a high number of the pipes...that will add a level of strength to the roof that a wider spacing wouldn't...
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Living roofs are typically expensive--they have to be incredibly strong to deal with that much weight. Paul gets around that with wofati because he has a nearly unlimited supply of large round timber--and it is still pricey if you count the time invested.

I would not try to tackle one as a novice. Possible, yes--but not easy and lots of ways to get hurt if you screw up.

Abe Connally has done a lot of good cheap roof systems, and is trying to keep rabbits alive in the desert offgrid. I will see if I can dig up his threads here. I think they were under rabbits forum.

http://velacreations.com/shelter/building-components/roof.html


 
Tina Paxton
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R Scott wrote:Living roofs are typically expensive--they have to be incredibly strong to deal with that much weight. Paul gets around that with wofati because he has a nearly unlimited supply of large round timber--and it is still pricey if you count the time invested.

I would not try to tackle one as a novice. Possible, yes--but not easy and lots of ways to get hurt if you screw up.

Abe Connally has done a lot of good cheap roof systems, and is trying to keep rabbits alive in the desert offgrid. I will see if I can dig up his threads here. I think they were under rabbits forum.

http://velacreations.com/shelter/building-components/roof.html




That's what I was afraid of.... nice idea but above my skill set. I have looked at the wofati idea and I don't have access to the materials required...at least not free materials and that's the only way to make it even possible...and then there would be the need for labor and I don't have much help in that department either....just a 16 year old boy who is better at deconstruction and a 67-year old man who is better at wanting to be helpful than actually being helpful....

Abe is doing the underground shelter thing isn't he?
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1490
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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Yeah I an no kind of engineer, so I over build.
I would actually not use a tee as it would be hard to come by for free and I think an uncut length would be stronger.
Instead I would notch the end of my vertical support and make it a little long, enough to get that upward bowing and to press it into place. A 1/4 20 threaded rod makes for a strong thru bolt for the joint and the bottom end would sit on a flat stone or paver at the bottom of a hole.
 
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