Six considerations to make before installing a green roof

If you’ve been to an urban area lately, you may have noticed a growing trend: green roofing. Not just “green” as the environmentally conscious sense but literally “green” as in made of living things. Many commercial buildings in urban centers are opting for green roofs because they cut cooling and heating costs and benefit the environment in important ways.

Though the popularity of green roofs is a rather recent development, the concept of a green roof is nothing new. People have been using soil and plant life as a roofing material for centuries. Today it’s making a comeback not just for commercial buildings but on residences as well.
If you’re looking for an alternative roofing solution and think that green roofing may be a good option for you, here are six considerations to make:

1.Weight. Green roofs weigh more than standard roofing materials such as asphalt shingles. Depending on the type of plant life and the soil depth required for those plants, a vegetative roof can weigh between 16 and 60 pounds per square foot. You should find out how much weight your roof can support to see if green roofing is an option.

2.Structural considerations. Some roofs will require structural enhancements to be able to support a green roof, especially if the depth of the vegetative layer is greater.

3.Underlying roofing system. Green roofs still need to function like traditional roofs, they need to allow for water drainage. An inspector when need to look for any potential problems that could lead to leaks or water pooling up.

4.Landscaper or roofer. Both have different areas of expertise. It’s likely that you’ll need an expert of each type to pull off a high quality green roof.

5.Maintenance. Vegetative roofs typically require a lot more maintenance than traditional roofs though some very simple green roofs are pretty easy to maintain. You need to plan ahead to maintain your new roof and factor that into the cost of the new roof.

6.Doing repairs. Roof problems are a little harder to fix when there’s a layer of vegetation atop it. Modular green roofing is becoming more popular because roofers can more easily remove the vegetation in the area they need to work on and then replace it.

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