Living Roof Basics For First-Time Buyers

When it comes time for roof replacement, why not look for a way to step out of the traditional and give your home a whole new look? One of the best ways to do this is investing in a living roof design. Before you take the leap, it's helpful to understand the structure of this truly unique roof. Here's a look at what you should know before installation.

Preparing For Installation

The first thing that you'll need to do is create a smooth foundation for the waterproof barrier that forms the base of the structure. Examine your roof carefully and remove anything with sharp edges. It's also important to ensure that there are no nails sitting above the surface, as the head of the nail could damage the waterproof barrier.

Check the slope of the roof carefully as well. You'll need to have at least a couple of inches of slope to the roof to ensure water runoff. If necessary, add some roofing material to create that offset. Otherwise, you'll have water pooling at the base of the roof, which can lead to structural problems.

Understanding The Layers Of Construction

A living roof always starts with a waterproofing material that's typically crafted from either asphalt and roofing felt, rubber membrane material, or a liquid waterproofing sealant that dries to form the barrier.

The next layer of the roofing structure is a root barrier. This is typically only necessary if you choose a waterproofing option other than rubber membrane. The rubber barrier is inorganic, so it will serve as both waterproofing and a root barrier. The organic options, however, can deteriorate and may be penetrated by root growth if you aren't careful. In addition, as those organic materials break down, they can contaminate the soil and kill the plants. Avoid this by adding a sheet of PVC plastic or something similar so that the roots cannot reach through to the roof.

Once the base layers are secured, it's time to add the growing medium. Your roofer will help you build barrier walls around the edge of the roof to help retain the soil and plants. Keep in mind as you select the soil mixture that anything you put up there will add weight to your roof. Opt for a loamy soil mix so that it's lightweight. In addition, a mixture like this will help you maintain sufficient nutrients and air for the plants to thrive.

Don't settle for the same old roofing material when it's time to replace yours. Talk with a local roofer, like CJ Scotti Services, today about bringing your roof to life.


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