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Old 06-19-2013, 01:58 PM   #1
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EPDM ballast......cleaning out the junk?


I have a EPDM flat roof on my Mid Century home.
Roof is 12-15 years old and the rock ballast seems to collect a lot of Ash tree seed pods, pine needles, moss. Enough to where tiny sprouts are coming in.
Do I need to clean this gunk out of the rock ballast?
Roofs has no leaks and drains fine but if I do need to clean it.....best method?

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Old 06-20-2013, 11:48 AM   #2
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EPDM ballast......cleaning out the junk?


Start picking them out by hand.

And I have to say, someone was brave putting a ballast roof a residential. Was the house designed for it?

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Old 06-20-2013, 11:57 AM   #3
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EPDM ballast......cleaning out the junk?


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Originally Posted by 1985gt View Post
Start picking them out by hand.

And I have to say, someone was brave putting a ballast roof a residential. Was the house designed for it?
The flat roof portion of the house is over the garage and enclosed rear patio.
About 15'-0" x 35'-0"
A free standing structure.
Construction is load bearing wood columns and beams with 2x10 joist at 16" OC, plywood sheathed.
Original roof was probably a tar built-up with pea gravel on top.
The roof can handle the ballast load along with any snow loads I've had up there.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:03 PM   #4
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EPDM ballast......cleaning out the junk?


I'm not an engineer but I can tell you we would never install a ballasted roof on a house unless it was built for it. To much to risk if you do get a 10-12-24" snow.

I've worked on commercial buildings that have collapsed under a snow load, Also have been up on them scooping and blowing the snow off while the block wall were bowing out and joists were almost coming out of the block.

All I now is I wouldn't put my family under a house that was not designed for the weight. Just my opinion.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:04 PM   #5
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EPDM ballast......cleaning out the junk?


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Originally Posted by 1985gt View Post
I'm not an engineer but I can tell you we would never install a ballasted roof on a house unless it was built for it. To much to risk if you do get a 10-12-24" snow.

I've worked on commercial buildings that have collapsed under a snow load, Also have been up on them scooping and blowing the snow off while the block wall were bowing out and joists were almost coming out of the block.

All I now is I wouldn't put my family under a house that was not designed for the weight. Just my opinion.
And you would be absolutely correct. To cover EPDM with no bare spots requires a minimum of 12 lbs per sq. foot of ballast. Thats 1200 lbs per roofing square. Add to that ponding and deflection due to the drains clogging from tree fall, and you have pretty much eaten up your live (snow) load, unless of course, your roof was originally designed to handle it. In the 80's wanna be roofers went around throwing ballasted rubber roofs on anything.

The only way to clean these roofs is to remove the ballast, then you can pressure wash them, and strip the seams in. The best ballast is man made tumbled granite, because it dosen't fracture due to freeze thaw.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:44 AM   #6
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EPDM ballast......cleaning out the junk?


Unless there is a built up beam to split that 15' span it seems pretty wimpy to me.

To answer the original question: If it is starting to grow vegetation I would recommend cleaning the roof. The roots will work their way into the membrane and break it down prematurely. I've seen a lot of ballasted roofs that have a full tree growing in them, and you can't remove them because they've grown into the membrane.
Try shuffling the rocks around and rinse with a hose. If your drain doesn't have a mesh screen or something to stop the vegetation I would install one.

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