Geodesic Dome Gets Reroofed After Fires Sweep Through Sonoma, California
by Marcus Dodson, editor & publisher
Sonoma County, California, is simply perfect. Just 45 minutes north of San Francisco, the historic area offers locals and travelers some of the top food and wine destinations in the world, amidst majestic redwoods and a rugged, beautiful coastline. Life in Sonoma wasn’t so perfect in late 2017, however, as wildfires raged throughout Northern California, threatening the idyllic region. More than a dozen wildfires tore through the area and burned for several weeks. Vineyards, commercial structures, and homes saw incredible devastation, as well as total destruction. For one unique home, it was a shower of wind-driven embers that caused damage to its asphalt shingle roof. In a stroke of luck, plans were already in place to reroof the property with a Class A Fire Rated roofing system in the next three years.
Dwellings in this niche area of Northern California range from 19th-century-inspired haciendas to loft-style wood homes that invite an indoor-outdoor synergy. Common in this area, too, are geodesic dome houses. Designed after World War I and made popular in the 1960s and 1970s, geodesic domes are known as one of the strongest structures available. Their resiliency and stability stem from the triangular elements of the dome that distribute structural stress, making them ideal for areas with tumultuous weather patterns. Despite their overall strength, geodesic domes and the building materials used to protect them can suffer damage from extreme weather and environmental conditions, which was the case with this Sonoma vacation rental. When the fires settled and the homeowners needed a dome roofing expert, they turned to Wedge Roofing, Petaluma, California.
The 2017 wildfire season was not an anomaly for Wedge Roofing. Northern California has a cyclical relationship with dangerous wildfires, although their devastation has paled in comparison to these most recent events. The team at Wedge Roofing sees challenging obstacles such as wildfires as a way to grow and learn as roofing professionals, making the company one of the premier contractors in the area.
“We propose roofing systems that provide the highest fire ratings available,” said Gary Harvey, general manager of Wedge Roofing. “We are able to offer any roof system, and we always mentor our clients to the best choice.”
For this project, Wedge Roofing recommended a GAF system. In addition to GAF Pro-Start® and GAF Z®Ridge Distinctive Ridge Cap Shingles, GAF Timberline® HD Shingles in the color Hickory were selected for the home’s new roof. Timberline HD Shingles with Advanced Protection® Shingle Technology are well known for their rugged, dependable performance. The Hickory color blend, as well as an enhanced shadow effect, provide incredible depth and dimension to the dome house, giving it a striking appearance both up close and from afar.
Wedge Roofing is a member of the GAF Master Elite® factory-certified contractor program, which consists of less than 2% of roofing contractors in the country. Wedge Roofing has the specialized training to deliver quality, professional roofing projects.
“We enjoy and benefit from our membership in the GAF Master Elite contractor program. Their broad variety of products and top-notch customer service allow us to offer high-end, high-value products that differentiate us from all of the other Chucks in the trucks,” expressed Harvey.
The nearby fires had been extinguished by the time the Wedge Roofing team began the roof installation. In the aftermath of such widespread fires, air quality and visibility are always top concerns, but thankfully the roofing team didn’t encounter these obstacles on this job. They did face a different challenge, however. The dome house is one of the most popular vacation rentals in the area and is rented out 240 days of the year. Understandably, the homeowners needed the roof installation to be completed quickly, in just six days.
“We understood that the owner was losing revenue every day the home was empty, so we worked hard to get the job done quickly and efficiently for them,” said Harvey.
Geodesic dome roofing projects come with specific challenges, including the need to cut the roofing material for each triangular patch while in the field. Calculating excess waste for the project is key, as well as utilizing excess shingles for overlaps. It takes a contractor with extensive experience, such as Wedge Roofing, to gauge the correct amount of time, labor, and product for such a complex job. One way Harvey and his team are able to mitigate issues is to utilize drones in their planning. Ralph Wedge, president of Wedge Roofing, invests heavily in drone usage and sees it as an integral part of the way his company approaches projects.
The Sonoma dome’s reroof was so impressive that Wedge Roofing was bestowed with the Silver Award in the Asphalt Roofing Awards Program, presented by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association. The award came with a $1,000 prize, which Wedge Roofing turned around and gave straight to the North Valley Community Foundation Camp Fire Relief Fund. GAF matched that donation at the 2019 International Roofing Expo®, providing further support to Northern California’s evacuees and fire survivors.