Work Weekend at Dash and Y.P.’s

Yes, we need to keep up with our Earthshipping so this time we spent some time the past weekend (Sep 23/24) working at Dash and Y.P.’s simple survival model Earthship. We weren’t the only ones helping either. There was a whole gaggle of friends and neighbours who had shown up to lend a hand. As a result, a number of things were accomplished.

Here is what it looked like from the back when I arrived on Saturday morning (Kat arrived a bit later).

So, if you remember from the last time we were here, Dash and I had been doing the fill in at the back between the domes. Since then, the rest of the fill was put in place, all of that was covered with four layers of rigid insulation and then a double layer of vapour barrier put on top of that.

When I got there, I was helping out to finish with the vapour barrier up around the skylights. That’s this area, in case you forgot.

Everything was covered with heavy dew from overnight so we had to try and mop it up as best we could before tacking it down. You don’t want to wait for the sun to dry it as that takes too long and it was stupid hot on the weekend. We got up to 36C with the humidex (97F) which makes it uncomfortable to work in.

Anyway, we split up the teams and others were taking care of the vapour barrier and I was put on rigid insulation carving details until lunch. Dash and Y.P. provided us all with a pizza lunch from the local diner so we were all well fed, but with the heat, it really reduces your appetite.

After lunch, we all gathered together to tackle the EPDM waterproofing layer that was being put over top of the vapour barrier. One of the key things about this layer is that it have no holes and you try to do it in one piece without having to create a seam as that can create a weakness in the seal. Needless to say, the rubber sheet is big, heavy and unruly to deal with if you only had one or two people.

Here is a picture of the group contemplating the roll of EPDM.

EPDM stands for Ethylene-Propylene-Diene-Monomer, in case you were curious. It’s essentially a pond-liner-grade rubber sheet. We unrolled it, cut it to length and then had to haul it into place. Here you can see me helping with the hauling (Kat was taking the picture).

With so many people helping, it didn’t take too long to get up over the lip of the roof and, more or less, into position. It certainly would have been a daunting task without all of the extra help.

EPDM is not the nicest stuff. It off-gasses in the sunlight and it has this fine powder-like coating that comes off so you and your clothes get covered with it. It really makes you want to take a shower.

Being short on showering facilities, and it being ridiculously hot out for the end of September, we all decided to go for a swim. It felt a bit odd with it being so hot out and seeing trees with their autumn colours and you’re swimming, but it was quite welcome.

That was it for Saturday, but I went back on Sunday to help some more. I had managed to pre-cut all of the first layer of insulation pieces on Saturday, so all we had to do was finalize any spots that still needed to be covered with vapour barrier and then start installing it.

Here you can see the first few sheets after they were put in place.

You can’t really see it as the corners are in shadow in the pictures, but there were some wood blocks installed in strategic places that we needed to trim the insulation around so it would fit so it wasn’t just a matter of slapping in the pieces and calling it a day.

There will be four layers of that rigid insulation so it will be well covered. The EPDM will go over that up to the top of the roof peak at the front.

As I mentioned earlier, there were quite a few of us helping out and not all of us were working up on the roof. Some were working out front.

You can go back to my previous post I linked above to really see the differences, but the plywood was put across the angled part and the doors were installed. Both the top and bottom sections had their plywood on, but they removed all of the top pieces so they could be stained and then reinstalled. This is to protect the wood over the winter, as they probably won’t be getting to putting the flashing on before then.

They also covered their fancy doors with cardboard to protect the windows and finish from harm during construction and moving things in and out of the building.

I couldn’t stay as late as we did the previous day on Saturday, as I had some errands to run in town. Y.P. had to head back to Toronto anyway so we quit at 13:00 for some late lunch. Did I mention it was stupid hot that day too? Well, it was.

Dash and Y.P. are now that much closer to having their Earthship fully enclosed. It will be a great day when that happens and I am very happy to have been a small part in making that happen.


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