The byproduct of industry: Hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial buildings have flat roofs. One style of roofing for these flat surfaces is what is called “ballasted” roofing. Yes, ballasted, as in weighed down. A ballasted roof means that the membrane and insulation is not adhered, nailed or stapled down. Rather, it is held in place by a layer of river rock that is several inches thick. So, when it comes to a tear-off, they remove the rock and take up the old roofing materials.

The two materials most often removed are the thick rubber roofing membrane and insulation. The membrane is simply rolled up and the old insulation is stacked up in perfectly re-useable sheets.

The rubber membrane is what makes the roof waterproof, obviously. Because the membrane has never been exposed to the sun, it often has great integrity when removed.

The “polyiso” insulation is the highest R-value per inch of thickness insulation made. Because it is on a roof, they are made into four-foot by eight-foot water repellent panels.

Each year, hundreds of such roofs are replaced throughout America.


The repurpose:
Because there aren’t any nails or any glue adhering the material, the rubber roofing membrane and insulation is usually in good shape. The roofers simply cut and roll up the membrane and stack up the old insulation in perfectly re-useable sheets.

The rubber has several re-uses and repurposes. It is often re-used as, well, roofing. It is popular for outbuildings, barns and other less expensive buildings. The membrane is repurposed as pond and ditch liners. It is very popular as a weed barrier in landscaping.
Likewise, the insulation is re-used as insulation. Because of its moisture-resistant properties, it is popular in insulating foundation walls, basements and crawl spaces. Of course, it is often used to insulate any structure where a low-cost insulation is desired. PD

Damon Carson is founder of Colorado-based Repurposed Materials, which has a diverse selection of “repurposed” products for sale. Click here to visit the website, click here to email Carson or call (303) 478-6193.

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