A living roof is a relatively new concept and one not understood by most U.S. homeowners. They consist of waterproof barriers which are then covered with soil and plants and offers good insulation. This type of roof is exceptionally popular in Scandinavia where a turf roof has been a top choice for centuries. The living roof we know today was started in the 1970's in Germany.
Living Roof Basics
A living roof installation will start with a barrier which is made from a waterproof material. This is designed to reduce the risk of moisture and leaks getting into the property. On top of the barrier the soil and plants are carefully placed, this offers an insulated layer creates an energy efficient home. There is a lot of emphasis placed on the composition and depth of the soil, which results in the success of the plant growth. The advantage to a living roof is that the homeowner can decide what type of roof they want, whether they want flowers or plants only or if they want to put an entertainment area alongside their living roof to make an additional entertainment space.
Living Roof Prices
Prices for living roofs can vary between $10 and $40 per square foot. This price is an installed price. Of course the most expensive element is the design process and the soil depth. There are some areas which may require a license or permit to have this type of roof. It is also difficult to find an experience roofing contractor who has experience and knowledge with living roofs.
Living Roof Advantages
The main advantage to a living roof is insulation. These roofs can dramatically reduce a home's energy consumption. This type of roof is exceptionally popular in warmer climates as they can keep the home cool, reducing the air conditioning bill. This is a result of the soil retaining water and the shade provided by the plants, this prevents the sun from getting through to the roof itself, eliminating the absorption of heat. In cooler climates the plants and soil reduce the amount of heat lost from inside the property, also reducing the heating costs.
A living roof can have a very long life span. Some of the ancient sites have enjoyed the benefits of sod and turf roofs for hundreds of years. The plants can die, but the roof remains protected by the soil which remains in place.
The living roof has increased in popularity with homes trying to go green. Plants assist with clean air, while welcoming wildlife, birds and insects. The rain is also filtered and the soil retains the moisture, reducing pollution and erosion.