How To Install Green Roof – Everything You Should Know

how to install green roof - benefits of a green roof

Are you curious about the best methods for installing a green roof? Learn how to install a green roof to a preexisting building as well as how to install a green roof to your current or future home.

Green roofs are a wonderful way to go “Green,” but they are also much easier and more adaptable than many people think. Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to introduce green roof benefits in your home.

What is a Green Roof

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A green roof is basically just what it sounds like. A roof covered in greenery. Whether merely grass, raised flower beds, or full-on gardens. Green roofs come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, most green roofs are uniquely designed one-of-a-kind roofs.

You’ve probably seen a few, depending on where in the world you live, maybe more maybe less. Green roofs can be added high on apartment building balconies or skyscraper rooftops as quickly as they can be installed on a single story house.

Regardless if you’re thinking about installing a green roof for actual gardening, or just for looks, this article will help you to learn everything you need to know about how to install green roof to your current or future home.

The Benefits of Installing a Green Roof

Many benefits come from installing a green roof to your building or home. Besides the fact that they create a fantastic and unique aesthetic value, there are a host of economic as well as environmental benefits involved as well.

Adds value to your property

One of the most visible benefits is the added value to your property in general. Instantly increase the net worth of your home or building by installing a green roof. Not only will your heating and cooling bills be less, but the life of your roof will also increase, as well as the overall beauty of your property.

Creates a fire-proof barrier

Installing a green roof creates a fire-proof layer to the top of your home or building. Due to the moisture stored in the soil, as well as the greenery, it is improbable that fire damages will occur.

Lowers maintenance

Covering your roof with natural grass decreases time spent on the physical upkeep of that particular part of your property. It also reduces the amount of money spent over the years on costly roof repairs.

Creates a natural sound barrier

A green roof is a creative way to set-up a natural sound barrier for your home. Increase the privacy of you and your family by adding a layer of soil and greenery to your roof which absorbs sounds from both inside and outside.

How to Install Green Roof

Depending on the type of structure that you are installing a green roof to there are several ways to get the job done. Likewise, depending on the desired functionality of your green roof, installation can be more or less complicated. A basic green roof for simple coverage is much easier than installing an entirely functional garden to your roof. Either way, you will need to:

  • expose the decking of the roof by removing shingles and sweeping clear all loose debris
  • add moisture protection and drainage layers to the roof decking
  • frame the edges in the edges of the roof to keep the greenery in place
  • add soil or substrate to the newly framed roof
  • add rolls of grass or other desired vegetation to the roof
  • water your new green roof and enjoy watching it grow

Watch this video from Urbanscape to see how they do it:

The Most Crucial Considerations

Installing a green roof does not need to be a lengthy and complicated process. There are, however, several steps that must be taken to ensure an optimal installation. A leaky green roof can cause issues to a building resulting in thousands of dollars worth of repair bills. Below are four easy steps explaining how to install green roof successfully.

Add a waterproof membrane for roof

Protecting your home, or structure that you are installing a green roof on, from water is a huge step. It is by far one of the most important ones. A green roof is mostly a shallow lawn or garden that is planted on the roof. Water is a significant requirement for the upkeep of your green roof. It can also become a massive source of struggle and high-cost damages.

After you have exposed the roof decking, and removed all debris, selecting and installing a waterproof membrane is the first step to creating a genuinely functional green roof. EPDM rubber is a commonly used product for waterproofing on green roofs. Make sure to consult with green roof professionals before completing this step.

Best roof drainage components

how to install green roof
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Once you have waterproofed your roof, you’ve still got a couple more aspects to consider as far as water damages are concerned. A proper roof drainage system is going to be a must. Without adequate drainage, flooding can occur and in turn overwhelm the gutter system and inflict a lot of property damage.

As you can probably guess, roof draining components are super essential for a green roof. Just like a traditional garden, the need for water is crucial. However, too much water can be a disaster. Not enough water, on the other hand, can cause greenery to struggle and eventually die. Roof drainage components should be a major priority during the planning phase of your green roof.

The right gutter guard mesh

Finding the proper gutter guard mesh is the last primary concern you should have to worry about in regards to water damage. Loose soil and debris, which there is likely to be plenty of with a green roof, these are not an option. The right gutter guard mesh will protect your gutters from getting clogged and backing up.

Adding the right gutter guard mesh is a big decision. Gutter guards come with anywhere from 15 to 50 holes per section, allowing for protection from leaves, stalks, tree branches and dirt clods. Purchasing and installing proper gutter guard mesh will help your roof and gutters reject everything but water.

Selecting lightweight soil

how to install green roof - lightweight soil, how to install a green roof
Image: CC0, by dldusdn, via Pixabay

Applying the most suitable soil to your newly constructed roof is the last step in how to install a green roof. Whether the roof is designed to be a garden, or strictly for the aesthetic value, your green roof is going to need enough soil to allow for the growth of greenery. That means it’s going to need to be lightweight soil.

Lightweight soil will cause less weight-related stress to the structure itself. Most lightweight soil products are potting soil mixtures which are perfect for container plants as well as raised bed gardens. In other words, it is the ideal soil to select for your new green roof.

Other Things to Consider for a Green Roof

Aside from the steps mentioned above on how to install green roof, there are several other factors to take into consideration before progressing too far into your plans for installing a green roof. For example, If you are still in the process of designing your home, consider including a flat roof in your ideas, instead of a pitched or angled one.

Green roof design experts can most likely answer any questions that you may still have after reading through this article. Other articles about green roofs, as well as general roofing tools and resources, can be useful in the planning of a green roof as well.


Featured image: CC0, by cocoparisienne, via Pixabay


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