There are many advantages, both financial and environmental, to installing a green roof. However, getting a green roof involves covering the roof with a waterproof membrane and adding soil and vegetation to the roof.
If you intend to perform the work yourself, you should at least have your roof inspected by a roofing contractor to determine if the roof is structurally sound enough to handle the additional weight involved in adding soil and plant life to your roof.
If any roof repair is needed, it must be done before the waterproof membrane is applied.
Why install a green roof?
A green roof serves many purposes for saving money and keeping your home and the surrounding area cleaner and more comfortable, including the following:
- It keeps heat inside and cold out of your home by acting as an additional insulation barrier.
- A green roof doesn't absorb heat like a traditional roof, which makes the home and surrounding area more comfortable and saves on cooling expenses.
- The vegetation filters the air of pollutants, and the root system filters rainwater, cleaning the water runoff that eventually finds its way to sewer systems and local water supplies.
Installing a Waterproof Membrane
A waterproof membrane is installed across the entire roof to keep standing water from finding its way into the home. A rubber roof membrane is a good choice for this type of application, and can be installed in various ways.
Using a Torch
Sheets of rubber membrane materials can be heated with a portable torch and melted onto the roof, with the sheets overlapped and heated at the seams to form a completely solid seal.
Sheets of membrane material can be applied to the roof with a special cement that is formulated for the task and materials, with the ends overlapped and sealed with cement.
Using a Peel and Stick Membrane
There are rubber roof membranes available that are large enough to cover an entire roof in one piece. They have cement and backing paper applied to one side, and the paper is simply peeled away as the membrane is unrolled and pressed to the roof. This is the simplest but most expensive option.
Adding the Green Roof
You have two choices for adding a green roof, and your choice will depend on the integrity of your roof and the amount of maintenance that you intend to perform.
A simple green roof will only require about an inch of soil, and vegetation must be carefully chosen for hardiness and for their ability to thrive and produce an extensive root system in a minimal amount of soil.
Rooftop gardens, which can sustain a wider variety of plants and other vegetation, will require a stronger roof structure and the same amount of maintenance as any garden. Easy access to the roof is also a major asset for this type of system.
However, even though a green roof may have higher maintenance and other concerns, this type of green roof will be more effective in performing all the positive functions of a green roofing system. If you're thinking of getting a green roof, consult a roofing company, such as RSG Home Improvements LLC, to determine if this could work for your home.