There are several different ways to create a roof that insulates your home, reduces your carbon footprint, and extends the longevity of your roof. Living roofs are one of those ways; they’re trending upwards with homeowners. In short, a living roof is one that is covered with live plants. That could mean just grass, or it could mean shrubs and vegetation. There are many myths about these roofs, though.
1 – Living Roofs Are New
Living roofs have been trending lately as the focus of many homeowners has shifted towards green applications. That doesn’t mean they’re some new innovation, though. Homes have been using sod for their roofing for hundreds of years. Throughout the British Isles and Europe, grass and soil have been seen as viable roofing elements. They were originally used in the homes of peasants, but later spread to many different types of homes. That’s because grass and vegetation are self-sustaining. As long as it rains occasionally, the webs of roots will form a stable rooftop.
21st century living roofs are more technical and maintained than the living roofs of the past, but they’re not a new invention.
2 – Green Roofs Are Too Heavy
Many homeowners are worried that their living roofs will be too heavy. The amount of soil plus the weight of the retained water will be heavier than asphalt shingles. However, it won’t necessarily be heavier than slate or metal roof tiles. The most important factor is having your roof inspected before you decide to install a living roof. A contractor will need to evaluate the structural integrity of your roof. Every roofing support structure has a load rating. The contractor will be able to assess if your roof can support the weight.
3 – Living Roofs Are Leaky
A living roof is not in itself leakier than any other type of roof. A living roof has a waterproof barrier underneath the soil. As long as that is properly installed, it will be as waterproof as any other roof. In fact, some evidence suggests that they are actually more watertight because the soil and the plants protect the waterproof barrier from sun damage over time.
4 – The Roof Will Be Muddy
Some green roofs do indeed use soil as the medium to grow their plants. However, many of them use something lightweight such as perlite. Perlite will hold water without growing heavy and muddy like soil might. The different types of green roofs are specifically tailored to your roofing and your planting needs.