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Author Topic: Home in Southern California  (Read 1784 times)
Posts: 1

« on: January 11, 2017, 11:08:34 AM »

I'm in the  planning stages of building a home in N. San Diego County.  Not sure about the specifics at this point but i think the walls will be primarily ICF and CMU and the curved parts of the roof FC.

I have 2 questions: for the flat sections of roof that will be planted (green roof of succulents and native plants), would it be best to use concrete or wood?  Which would be more economical as well?

And, does anyone know of home builders in S. Cal experienced in working with FC construction?

W. P. R. D. Weerasinghe
Full Member
Posts: 37

« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 09:09:39 PM »

Mr. Paul

We have constructed FC roof with 100"-0" diameter in Sri Lanka. That is shell roof, also done a shell type "stupa (Dagaba)".

Paul Sarnstrom
Global Moderator
Sr. Member
Posts: 386

« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2017, 10:14:34 AM »

Hello Paul,

Regarding your basic roof design and if it should be wood or a cementitious material like concrete [RC] or Ferrocement [FC]: Earth sheltered, underground and living roofs have been successfully designed and constructed using wood as well as by using concrete and/or Ferrocement. Given that both wooden and cementitious materials will work the factors come down to cost, availability and your experience and confidence in working with a particular material.

If using FC or RC the thermal coefficients are the same as for the concrete used in your ICF or CMU units. In other words both the roof and the walls will have approximately the same thermal coefficients so expansion and contraction will not cause problems between the walls and the roof. Wood has a markedly different thermal coefficient from the steel and cementitious materials used in RC or FC. It can certainly be done but a different design must be arrived at to connect the roof to the walls and still allow them to 'float' independently as they expand and contract at different rates.

Regarding your question on which would be cheaper: Overall cost factors are based on materials cost but skilled labor will most likely be a greater cost than materials alone. In addition to materials cost and labor costs, the expected life-cycle of a particular system should be taken into account. In this example of an earth covered roof, presuming good design, quality materials and proper procedures were followed I would expect the life cycle to be similar. Based on the roof being covered with a deep layer of soil and the protection that soil gives, I would expect a properly designed and constructed, earth sheltered wooden roof should last quite awhile.



Paul Sarnstrom
Full Member
Posts: 99

« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2017, 09:36:48 AM »

Hi Minitto,

Simple answer, LFC of FC will save you a fortune over wood IF your design takes advantage of the system. By that I mean keeping the labor cost low by NOT spending lots of time doing weird shapes and forms so it look like something from a Hobbit movie. The materials in LFC will be way cheaper , and better , than any conventional system but the final cost as Paul said can get out of hand when you factor in man power.

A wood living roof sounds like a rot problem waiting to happen.

I am is LA county and if you need some advice on the matter give me a call 818 693 1697

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