3 Things to Keep in Mind When Planning a Green Roof

Posted on: 1 June 2016

If you've been looking at the possibility of installing a green roof on your home or commercial building, you may have come across some alarming news recently. A green roof at Hong Kong City University collapsed in May 2016, for example. You may have also noticed that this wasn't the first incident in which a green roof collapsed. However, you shouldn't let those incidents put you off the idea of having a green roof. What you should let happen is you taking more steps to ensure the roof is safely installed. Here are just three things to keep in mind as you plan your roof.

Building Weight Limits

It sounds obvious, but it has to be said: you can't put more on your roof than your building can hold. Plants, planters, soil, benches, and walkways all add weight, and that's before any water is actually added, not to mention the additional weight of any humans or animals up there. The point is, you have to take all of that into consideration when planning the roof. You can't just put a bunch of plants up there; you'll need to consult with a roofing company and an architect who both have experience designing green roofs and who know how to work all that extra weight into the equation.

Ice Dams and Drainage

You must have excellent drainage built into the design, as well as excellent insulation. Green green roofs can experience ice dams in snowy and icy areas is the same one that many other roofs can have: ice dams. If part of the snow melts and the meltwater is blocked from draining away, then the pooled water can refreeze and prevent yet more snow and water from leaving the roof—thus adding extra weight, possibly beyond the roof's weight limits. 

Knowledge and Licensure

In 2013, a green roof on a supermarket in Riga, Latvia, collapsed, killing several people. Investigators focused on the quality of the roof work as a possible cause, and that highlights the third thing you can do to ensure you have a safe green roof: only use licensed, insured, and knowledgeable companies. This is not the time to cut corners and save money; you must work with roofing companies whose licensure is completely in order.

If you still want to go ahead and see if your roof can handle some greenery, go for it! Green roofs can be lovely and cool. Talk to roofing companies to see what projects they've worked on in the past. For more information about your options, visit resources like http://www.kcmetroroofer.com.