Sod roof in Molde Norway (C) Daniel Friedman

Photo Guide to Traditional & Modern Sod Roofs
     

  • SOD ROOFING - Sod or soil & Grass roof inspection, failures, repair, product defects
    • Traditional & Modern sod roof design details in the U.S. & Norway
    • Green roofing methods, rooftop garden, rooftop grass, rooftop plant designs
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about sod roofs on buildings: history, inspection, maintenance, installation, repair, & current uses of sod roofs
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Sod roofs: here we illustrate and discuss sod roofing in historic and contemporary use. This website provides un-biased articles about many common roofing materials, installations, inspection, defects, roofing repairs, and products. Our page top photograph shows a traditional sod roof on a historic log cabin preserved at the Romsdalsmuseet site in Oslo, Norway. The Romsdalsmuseet site in Oslo includes 35 Norwegian buildings with designs dating from 1600 to 1920.

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Sod Roofing Examples, Photo Guide

Sod roof (C) Daniel Friedman

The ultimate "green" roof design that caused media excitement when it was popularized anew in 2009 is an old design for which we have literally hundreds of years of design experience. Here are some sod roof design details.

While our page top photograph shows a traditional sod roof preserved on an antique log cabin, our photo at left points out that sod roof designs continue in modern use in some parts of the world including this modern home built in Molde, Norway.

In additional photographs below we show sod roof construction details using both traditional materials (such as birch bark underlayment) and modern materials (such as geotextiles and rubber underlayment).

Sod Roof Edge Termination Details

Sod roof (C) Daniel Friedman Sod roof (C) Daniel Friedman

Our photo of a modern sod roof (above left) shows the use of copper underlayment and edge flashing to hold the soil in place on this relatively low-slope roof. However sod roof covering is also found on steeper slopes. Our photo of a traditional sod roof (above right) shows the use of a wooden board and birch bark as a soil dam as well as a drip edge.


Sod roof gutter design (C) DanieL Friedman\Both of the roofs shown above use an eaves overhang but no roof gutters were present.

However roof gutters were used on traditional sod roofed homes at least over entrances, as we show in this sod roof home photo.

A hand-sawn wooden roof gutter or eaves trough was installed, leaving the ends open as we have shown.

You may also notice the steel spikes nailed into rafter tails to keep the sod roof lower dam in place to prevent soil from sliding off of the roof. Other museum-grade sod roofs in The Romsdalsmuseet site in Oslo used carved wooden pegs in these locations, indicating a time when iron spikes were not readily available. You can see a wooden eaves dam peg in the next sod roof photo (below).


Sod roof (C) Daniel Friedman

 

Here is another look at a traditional sod roof, showing gable end design details for a traditional sod roof structure.

Because this roof was found on a restored museum building in Oslo, Norway, the museum restorers have hidden a rubber line under the sod as a step towards longer durability and less maintenance than the traditional birch-bark underlayment would have afforded.

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