Living roofs have become more common in recent years. These roofs consist of a layer of soil that has been planted with various plants. Usually, sedums are used because they are so water-efficient, but you'll also see living roofs planted with grass. Should you get a living roof? Consider these pros and cons to make your decision.
Pro: The roof will give off healthy oxygen.
Living roofs are often chosen because they're such an earth-friendly option. Instead of your roof just protecting your home, it will produce oxygen at the same time. Humans and animals all need this oxygen to breathe in. The plants on the roof also absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — another earth-friendly benefit.
Con: Living roofs require maintenance.
Living roofs do require more maintenance than a roof made from shingles, metal, or tile. These roofs will need to be watered when rain is scarce. If the substrate becomes compacted, it will need to be aerated so it can keep growing plants. If you are looking for a really low-maintenance roof option, a living roof may not be for you.
Pro: Living roofs are good insulators.
A well-insulated roof helps lower your heating bills in the winter and also lower your cooling bills in the winter. Between the layers of dirt and the layers of plants, living roofs offer plenty of insulation. If you choose this type of roof, you may not need to add extra insulation to your attic. The top floor of your home will be more comfortable, too.
Con: Living roofs are heavy.
Living roofs weigh a lot more than your average shingle or metal roof. Most new homes can support this weight, but if your home is on the older side, it may not be able to support a living roof.
Pro: Living roofs decrease the heat island effect.
In a lot of suburban and urban areas, temperatures are higher because the dark-colored roofs absorb so much heat from the sun. Green or living roofs don't absorb as much sunshine, so they help counteract and limit this heat island effect. The whole community around you will stay a bit cooler.
Consider the pros and cons above to decide whether a living roof is right for your needs. A roofing contractor can tell you more about these roofs and give you an estimate. This estimate can help you make a more informed decision, too.
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