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How to Install a Flat Roof System

First, you should know that flat roof is improperly called flat, because a flat roof is not really,
flat. Any flat roof is built slightly inclined to ensure the water runoff. However, a flat roof is not
logical architectural. Although it is slightly tilted, a flat roof allows water, ice or snow to settle
causing infiltrations and leakages.
Nevertheless flat roofs are very popular and have a growing requirement in many industrial
applications, commercial or residential. There are two main reasons why these flat roof systems
are so popular.
They are not so expensive as slopped roofs and they have a great aesthetically look. In fact, they
have a great visual impact reflecting reflecting through their lines the horizontal lines of the
surrounding environment.

Installation of a Flat Roof


1. Roof Framing:

As it was mentioned above, flat roofs are slightly


sloping. This prevents in a way, water to pool and eventually, to leak inside the house.
It is recommended that the slope of a flat roof to be 1.8-inch/ foot. Generally, a flat roof consists
of several slopes toward the roof scupper holes, which are connected to downspouts. On larger
roofs, these slopes are realized from the underlayment foam.
However, it is a bit more complicated for small flat roofs. The roof slope is achieved by cutting
the 2x4s foam underlayment sheets into long stripes and nailing them to the joists. To create the
inclined surface of the roof, they are large and close together.
2. Sheathe with Plywood:

Above the roof framing comes plywood sheathing


(5/8-inch thick). These plywood sheathing is nailed down on the roof frame. There are
recommended 1/8-inch gaps between plywood sheathings to allow any contraction or expansion
of these sheathings.
3. Underlayment Installation:
Before installing the sheet-rubber, it is necessary the installation of a substrate named ISO-board.
ISO-board is a rigid foam (1/2-inch thick) made from polysocyanurate with fiberglass backing.

Installation of the ISO-boards is very simple. It


can be easily cut with a utility knife and anchor to the 5/8-inch plywood sheathing, using screws
and galvanized steel washers.
This ISO-board layer provides a very good (protective and soft) underlayment for the sheetrubber material.
No need to let spaces between ISO-boards since this foam material does not contract or expand.
In fact, you should install these pieces very tight, one against another.
4. Create Beveled Corners:

There are many cases when your flat roof is


bordered on two sides by walls of neighboring buildings that create an interior corner of the roof
surface.
These inside corners can be very tricky. You need to keep water away from pooling of these
inside corners. This can be done ripping 2x4s lengthwise on a 45-degree bevel with a saw. You
can create a gradual transition screwing these strips into the joint between the walls and your
roof.
5. Dry-Fit the Roofing:

Before installing the rubber material, you should remove any dirt and debris. This debris could
puncture your new roof. Therefore, it is necessary to clean thoroughly the surface of the roof.
After that you can lay down EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer). These membranes
come in rolls (usually 10-foot wide).
For small roofs, you can use only a roll of EPDM. It is not necessary to overlap EPDM pieces.
For larger roofs, you need more than one sheet of EPDM. You should overlap these sheet pieces
6 inches without gluing them. You need to glue the seams when you reach the end of the roof.
If you need to install a vent stack on the roof then you need to make a hole into the EPDM
membrane. Make this hole a bit larger than the vent pipe and slide down the rubber over it.
6. Glue Down the Rubber:
Spread the glue over the ISO-board area. Use for that a paint roller and an extension pole.
Allow time glue to dry and after that spread carefully the rubber sheet over the ISO-board,
pushing the membrane gently toward to prevent any wrinkles. You should work very carefully
without picking up this rubber, because otherwise it will stretch and spring back making it to lay
down in an unequal layer.

Also, you should work in small sections smoothing out the air bubbles. Use for this a dry paint
roller.
The next step is the gluing of the seams, but before that, you should clean the seams using a
specific solvent. Then you need to apply a special adhesive (black rubber o rubber). Be
extremely careful. You need to know that seams are extremely vulnerable.
For the vent stacks you need a rubber collar around the vent pipe, gluing then, this collar to the
EPDM membrane. Seal the collar with glue strips and a caulk it with tri-polymer caulking.
7. Finish the Edges:
When you have vertical corners, you need to cut and overlap the EPDM membrane. Glue this
membrane down with rubber adhesive. Fix the vertical pieces of EPDM on the walls using metal
brackets and screws. That will prevent the EPDM to peel off. Seal the brackets with tri-polymer
caulking.
You have two alternatives for finishing the edges.

1. Lead-coated flashing over the edge of your roof.

2. Galvanized drip edge.

Finishing the edges is the last step of installing a flat roof and now your roof can stand against
the weather elements.
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How to Install and What Are the Benefits of a Grass Roof


Besides their outstanding appearance, grass roofs have many benefits. One of these benefits is a
good insulation of your home, which makes heating and cooling expenses to decline
significantly. With a grass roof your home is integrated in the environment.
You can easily install a grass roof. The secret is to work in layers. If you install a good
foundation for your grass seeds, the rest will be extremely easy. In fact, from this point, a grass

roof is similar to a regular lawn. It is almost, maintenance free. Little water (only when not
raining) is all that requires such a roof.

Materials & Tools

Concrete; Aluminum Green Build Edging; Plastic Sheeting; Asphalt Mastic; Polyester
Filter Fabric;

Trowel; Paintbrush; Wind Blanket; Fiberglass Tape; Roofing Nails;

Grass Seeds; Top Soil; Compost; Mulch; Gravel; Pumice; Drip Irrigation System;

Shale; Expanded Slate; Volcanic Pumice or Crushed Clay Tiles;

How to Install a Grass Roof


1. Check the Roof Structure
Before starting the installation of such a roof, it is imperative that you ask the advice of a
structural engineer. Only a structural engineer can tell you if your roof is suitable for such work.

2. Install the Plastic Sheeting

The first step is the covering of the house roof with plastic sheeting. This thick sheeting will be
the grass roof waterproofing membrane.
To attach the membrane to the roof structure use asphalt mastic.
The overlapping of two plastic sheeting must be at least 4-inches.
You can tape the seams with fiberglass tape.

3. Install the Edge of the Roof Perimeter

If you have a pitched roof, use aluminum green build edging to maintain the layers of your grass
roof.
Edge the entire perimeter around, with L part of the edging above the plastic membrane.
Attach the aluminum edging using roofing nails.
4. Pour a Concrete Layer
Pour -inch of concrete layer over the plastic sheeting.
Using a trowel spread the concrete and cover the entire roof surface.
The concrete layer will prevent the grass roots to grow through the plastic membrane.

5. Spread Gravel & Pumice


Spread gravel and pumice (equal quantities) over the concrete surface.
Rake the gravel and pumice until you have a uniform 2-inches thick layer.
This layer will be your drainage layer.

6. Add a Polyester Filter Fabric


This polyester filter fabric protects the drainage layer from the soil and it will allow the water to
drain.

7. Cover the Polyester Filter Fabric with Growth Medium


The best is to have a lightweight roof. It is therefore advisable to use an inorganic growth
medium at a rate of at least 70%.

You can use one of the following materials or a combination of them.

- Shale or Clay;

- Expanded Slate;

- Volcanic Pumice;

- Crushed Clay Roofing Tiles;

Mix your inorganic materials with organic soil such as top soil or organic compost. Make sure
your soil is weed free.

8. Install a Drip Irrigation System


You do not need a too complicated irrigation system. A simple drip irrigation system, connected
to your garden hose and a water timer is enough for your grass roof.

9. Plant the Grass Seeds


Next step is planting the grass seeds. Choose seeds that are the best suited for the area where you
live.

10. Protect your Lawn


Use a wind blanket and cover the roof to protect your grass seeds.
Water the soil every day until the grass sprouts.
Enjoy your grass roof.
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How Do I Know if I Need Cornice Vents in My House Attic?


Regardless of season, cornice vents provide your attic ventilation.

In fact, cornice vents help you in two ways:


1. Eliminate condensation in the attic. This condensation is due to the heat loss from your
home.
2. Let the hot air to get out, during the hot season. This will reduce your house-cooling bill.

Roof and Attic Protection

Therefore, it is a good idea to install cornice vents.


They have a critical role in the air circulation.
Cornice vents allow the outside air to get inside the attic and the inside air to get outside.
Winter Months: Airflow is extremely important in the cold season. The temperature from inside
will be correlated with outside temperature, preventing ice dam formation.
It is well known that ice dams can damage your roof, which will lead to water leaks and of
course, damages to your home.
Therefore, if you live in areas with low winter temperatures, it is a smart idea to install cornice
vents.
Summer Months: Airflow is vital in the summer months too. Cornice vents allow the hot air to
get out. A hot attic will make your roof shingles to curl, which will affect its integrity.

Roof/Ridge Vents

Cornice vents are not required, if your attic has a ridge vent or roof vents.
In addition, you can remove your cornice vents if you intend to install a ridge vent or roof vents.

How to Properly Size Cornice Vents


You can have condensation or shingle curling problems, even if you have installed cornice vents.
This is mainly due, to an improper sizing of cornice vents.
Cornice vents sizing depends on two factors:
1. The roof slope
2. The attic area
How to calculate the right size:

- Measure the distance between the attic floor and peak of the ceiling

- Divide by the house width

- Place the result in front of figure 12 (Example 6:12);

The slope of the roof = for every 12-inches horizontal you have 6-inches vertical.

Attic Area = Width x Length.

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How to Build Return Eaves on Roofs


It is well known how important it is to divert the water flow away from the building. An
important role is played by Overhangs (better known as Roof Eaves).

What are Roof Eaves?

Roof Eaves are extensions of rafter structure outside of the house frame.
Individual rafter extensions (block extensions) are effective when you have a proper slope of the
roof.

Return Eaves

A common roof structure is made of


trusses or rafters. This structure supports all roof-sheathing materials such as plywood (sheathing
underlayment) and of course, shingles.
Rafters start at the top of the roof, and go down to the eaves, but not exceeding the exterior walls
of the house. Therefore, they cannot create overhangs or eaves.
Trusses are different pieces of wood joined together into a web (framework). Trusses are
extremely important in the roof structure. They bring added strength and support but like rafters,
they cannot exceed the exterior walls and therefore they cannot create overhangs or eaves.

Creating return eaves, it means to extend the rafter or truss ends to a point where the water flow
is completely diverted from the structure and foundation of your home.

1. Remove Framing:
First, you should remove the fascia and the wooden plank.

Fascia is the piece of wood or board that runs along the rafter or truss ends and connects to
wooden plank (roof soffit).
Wooden plank is the piece of wood that braces against the exterior walls of your home.
Usually, rafters are installed on plates that are between wall and roof rafter. Therefore, it would
be appropriate for you to have help. In fact, it is a job for two people. One works inside of the
house, securing rafters from the attic and the other works outside.

2. Add Extenders:
As I noted above, the overhangs length depend on the roof slope.
Therefore:

Steep sloped roofs require short overhangs.

Lower sloped roof require longer overhangs.

However, before adding extenders, you should figure how large would be the wooden piece that
is between the wall plate and sheathing. This dimension dictates the size of the rafters necessary
for return eaves.
Make sure you properly cut the rafter extension. Do not forget that two-thirds of the overhangs
length will sit under the roof sheathing, acting as bracing.

3. Rafter Blocks:
If you have a steep roof then of course, a short length return eave is sufficient to divert the water
flow away from your house structure and foundation.
Rafter blocks are individual wooden pieces that extend the rafters almost 8 inches outside the
exterior wall.
However, rather of individual blocks, a smart idea is to use one piece-block that can replace the
wooden plank and fascia.

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How to Effectively Prevent Moss and Lichens Growing on


Roofs in Wet and Cool Conditions
Moss and lichens can be really a huge problem for roofs, especially in wet and cool geographic
areas. Neglected, they can drastically shorten the life of the roof.
1. 1. First, prevention is the best way to fight against moss and lichens. Buy copper rolls
from a roofing supply company, and cut the thin copper material in long stripes. Place
these thin, long copper strips near the top of the roof. When it rains the runoff from the
copper will act like a poison and will kill the moss. Instead of copper stripe, you can use a
simply copper rod. Zinc works well too.
2. 2. Washing the roof with a solution of laundry bleach will kill the moss grown on the
roof.
3. 3. Dusting the roof with zinc sulphate monohydrate powder (Corrys Moss B Ware )
will clean your roof in one month. Rain will dissolve the powder making a poisoning
solution for moss and lichens. You should dust your roof with this powder annually. You
can use a garden hose to spray the roof, if not raining. If you wish, you can make a
solution from this powder (3lbs per 5gallons) and then you can water the roof.

4.

Let them dry, and then sweep them off cleaning the roof.