How To Recoat Your Eichler Foam Roof in a Weekend: DIY Foam Roof Recoating

We inherited a foam roof that was leaking even before we purchased the home, but didn't find out until we took down a wall (that shouldn't have been there) to find molded wood. We also discovered puddles of water underneath ceramic tile which was also removed during our kitchen renovation. (Imagine smashing tile and getting splashed with water, wondering - WTH is going on here?!!) During a 3-day rainstorm, we noticed a soaking wet vintage chair and I immediately blamed the kids ;) The following rainstorm after that, we saw where the leak was coming from and only then we had our AH-HA moment. Sorry kiddos! The roof was hardly seven years old, and the fly-by-night roofing company was long gone. We found Yelp reviews with consumers all up in arms, but oh well - that's another story.  

Researching DIY Foam Roof Recoating

There wasn't too much information about recoating a spray polyurethane foam-based (SPF) roof system, so I figured I would share why I tried. Quotes were rumored in our 'hood to go for anywhere between $5,000-$10,000, so this was one of those projects I wanted to figure out. Another Eichler owner, Barry Brisco of San Mateo CA, shared his experience recoating on the boards at Eichler Network, which gave me some hope and guidance with this project. I tried to locate the Apoc 252 elastomeric product he referenced, but Pacific Supply in Oakland no longer carried it, so I then got tips from our awesome neighbor located conveniently across the street, Brian Maher, who recently DIY'd his recoat over the past month.

Materials and Tools Used for the DIY Foam Roof Recoating on Our Eichler

I went with the Lowe's sourced BLACK JACK Ultra Roof 1000 White Siliconized Elastomeric Reflective Roof Coating (10-Year Limited Warranty) and decided to spray using the Graco Magnum X7 Airless Paint Sprayer, loaned to me by a fellow DIY junkie Johannes Sjoeberg @sagamadison - thanks a ton!

At Lowe's, there were two other main options, a BLACK JACK 700 which had a 7 year warranty, and a BLACK JACK Premium Silicone Waterproofing Coating which had a 50 year warranty ($200/bucket) which seemed a bit overkill, and I wasn't all that familiar with silicone products. The 10 yr product seemed to fit the bill at $83/bucket and was acrylic based, so I knew cleanup would be manageable.

Steps for the DIY Foam Roof Recoating on Our Eichler

  1. Blow all the debris off the roof.
  2. Power wash all the dirt and grime.
  3. Patch cracks, joints, seams, then spray coating

DIY Foam Roof Recoating Step 1: Blowing Off Loose Debris

DIY Foam Roof Recoating Step 2: Power Washing Surface

I borrowed a power washer, also from Johannes @sagamadison which was a 2000 psi unit that I hauled up the ladder to the roof. It worked wonders and took me a few hours to complete the cleaning. The difficult part was dealing with ponding on the flat part of our roof, where the dirty water just sat there begging to be left alone. Spraying the puddles of water around seemed, at times, counterintuitive because I was just adding more water to the pool, but in the end it worked. I tried the leaf blower, but as you blew, water would evaporate and leave muddy streaks. A better system was to blast it with the power washer all the way to the gutters or off the edge, while someone also helped to push-broom it. I thought about wet-vac'ing but I wasn't in the mood to haul up yet another piece of equipment onto the roof, and dig around for a 3-way outlet extender.

DIY Foam Roof Recoating Step 3:  Spraying the Coating


The coating needs to be applied to a dry surface (although a competing brand mentioned to spray a mist of water that could allow for a slower drying time if needed in high temps), so this isn't one of these projects you can start at the crack of dawn because the condensation first needs to evaporate. (Yes - I can sleep it!)

I had prepared six 5-gallon buckets of coating, but planned on only using five. I was a little nervous that the sprayer wouldn't handle it because the specs on the competing product (Apoc 252) required a 0.2-0.3 tip using 3000-4000 psi at 4 gpm, and mine had a 0.17 tip (max suggested) and put out 3000 psi but it worked just fine.

I had a long 70' hose which made it convenient because that way I wouldn't have to haul up 5 gallon buckets onto the roof (I had already almost killed myself bringing down the pressure washer). 

Total Cost of One Coat of Roof Coating:

One full coat took about 5 buckets, so $85 x 5 = $425

Paint sprayer: $500-700

Power Washer: $200-400

All in you could be looking at $2,000 for two full coats and buying the tools.

Two coats should be applied. I managed to spend a few hours on Saturday cleaning the roof, and Sunday spraying, so you could tackle it in a single weekend, but I probably only put in eight hours in total for a single coat.

Good luck if you are going to tackle this project!

How to Make Floating Concrete Steps

DIY Concrete Steps

Concrete steps are commonly used to create a walkway to a home, but floating concrete steps added a little extra feature while we were committing to pouring all this concrete.

Options for Front Walkway and Steps

You can create steps using a variety of materials:

  • Brick or Pavers - easier to DIY
  • Precast concrete - moderate to DIY, but heavy lifting

  • Pour in place concrete - lower DIY cost, but more labor

Pour In Place Concrete Walkways

We chose the more difficult DIY path and enjoyed learning a few things along the way as a first-time project. It turned out no where near the quality of a pro-grade job, but certainly suited the budget. We had previous experience casting our concrete countertops so this project was definitely easier, but still involved a lot of sweat and patience.

Steps to Pour a Concrete Walkway

  1. Excavate the ground for the walkway
  2. Build the wooden frames for each step
  3. Pour the concrete

Excavating the Ground for Concrete Steps

2x4 planks were laid out to help calculate how many steps and what size to make them. I measured a total rise of 18" from the sidewalk to the landing, and figured that each step would be about six inches. This left me with an option of three steps to get to the sidewalk level, where I would need to put two small pads even with the sidewalk.

Forms for Concrete Steps

Each step was 3.5" thick (standard 2x4 plank), so the first two steps could be simply formed using 2x4s. The three steps up would require 1x6 or 2x6 lumber, because the floating effect required a 2x4 to fill in under the step. Stakes were hammered in to keep the forms in place.

The floating effect is created by adding a 2x4 laid flat along the bottom-front of the form, so that it overlaps the step form below it.

Compacted gravel and mesh was added (which is optional) for the steps. Using the mesh has been debated where one school of thought is that is holds it together to prevent cracking, while the other school believes that a 3-4" thick slab is now weakened by rebar, now leaving less than 1.5" of concrete above and below the rebar.

Cutting mesh at night with an angle grinder.

Cutting mesh at night with an angle grinder.

Freshly poured step after troweling.

Freshly poured step after troweling.

When making the floating steps, the you need to pour from the bottom up because the forms overlap each other, so the forms above need to be removed. We did one step a day - removed the form before pouring the one above.

The form freshly removed the following day. Notice the knockout provided by the 2x4 to create the floating effect, which was also removed.

The form freshly removed the following day. Notice the knockout provided by the 2x4 to create the floating effect, which was also removed.

Finished Concrete Steps

Our troweling job wasn't the best, so a slurry mix was applied to smooth out some rough spots using a sponge.


What We Learned From DIY Concrete Steps

  1. Each step was almost 4'x4' which took about 6-9 bags (60lb bags) per step. (Many trips to Lowes!)
  2. 1x6 fencing wood seemed more ideal than 2x6 lumber - it's cheaper and easier to remove the forms which became scrap wood.
  3. The form assembly was done using wood screws, but the catch was putting in the screws in locations the could be accessible after a pour, to make removal easy. We chipped a few corners of hacking away with a SawZall at hard to reach screws.
  4. We did this our our California winter break, so temps were 40-50, which slowed drying times. You could pour and trowel, then come back the next morning to apply the finish troweling/floating work.