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Old 10-06-2010, 08:56 PM   #1
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Earth Roofs

I want to builf an earth roof over a 9 foot gap between two 40 foot containers side by side.

I have 6x6 inch by 10 feet ponderosa pine beams with a 12 inch gap between them for the entire length of the9 foot gap between the containers.

Now I need to cover the gap by putting a layer on top of the 6x6 beams.

My alternatives:

1) ĺ inch plywood covered by the same EPDM rubber sheet as covers the containers and then earth

2) 2x12 Ponderosa pine planks covered by the EDPM and then earth.

3) 2x12 Douglas fir planks (same as I have on top of the containers underneath the EDPM)

4) Some other solution?

I donít think the plywood is as strong as the 2x12 planks or lasts as long? Maybe I put 2x12 planks and also plywood?

Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.


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Old 10-06-2010, 09:14 PM   #2
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Are you worried about strength or water from above?

It is for water, the ood will have both short term and long terme permanemt deflection that will collect water, which will increase the load and the deflection and so on and so on.... and on. sooner or ;ater wayeter will come in.

If you are just worried about strength, make sure you keep the heavy cows off the roof since the concentrated hoof loads could be a problem beyond calculation if you are just using a span table.

If the wood gets wet, forget about the theoretical stuff since all of that is out the door.

I have seen very few wood earth shelter roofs that have not been replaced.



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Old 10-07-2010, 08:47 AM   #3
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Thanks very much!

Plan to layer the roof - two by 4 by 12 planks covered by EPDM and then maybe a metal (propanel?) layer to prevent ants from getting at the rubber and then the earth.

All thge best!

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Old 10-07-2010, 11:07 AM   #4
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Are earth structures susceptible to condensation of interior water vapor (cooking bathing breathing)? If so, how do you keep the condensation from forming between the wood and the rubber?

PS You probably know this but in case not, if the building is tight you can't assume that just living in the arid p-pine mountains will keep down interior humidity.

Last edited by steveel; 10-07-2010 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:40 AM   #5
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Thanks much Steve - Have the living areas well ventilated using 4 inch corrugated PVC that also runs through earth so acts as air conditioning in summer.

We are in South West Colorado - high and dry!

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