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Charleston Roofing: Article About Green Roofing

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Green roofing is becoming an increasingly popular choice for many homeowners because of the environmental benefits involved. Often, homeowners who have a flat rooftop are able to cover a section of their roof with an expanse of small plants growing in a few inches of specialized soil. The benefits of doing this include reducing heating and cooling costs, extending the life of the roof, filtering storm water, helping to clean city air and helping to prevent flooding. Before taking any steps toward creating a green roof, it is a good idea for homeowners to contact a Charleston roofing professional for help determining whether it is a good fit.

While the question that many homeowners face is whether a green roof is right for them, the first step to making that decision is to fully understand what a green roof is. Green roofs are much more than simply a patch of growing plants. Although a green roof typically consists of 2 to 6 inches of growing media and small plants, there is a lot going on underneath. Directly on top of the roof is a special membrane that covers the roof's surface. This is designed to block moisture and prevent roots from damaging the roof.

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Next, there is a drainage layer of pebbles followed by a filter cloth. The top layer is the visible layer of hardy, low lying plants.

Once a homeowner understands what makes up a green roof and how it works, they can begin to decide whether it is right for them. If the roof is flat or angled at no more than about 30 degrees and is located in a fairly sunny area, it is possible that a green roof may be a good choice. If the roof meets the above criteria, the next step is to consider whether the roof can handle the added weight of the soil after a heavy rain comes through. Typically, the added weight adds up to about 20 pounds per square inch. If all necessary criteria are met, a green roof can be beneficial to the homeowner.

For environmentally conscious homeowners who do not meet the necessary criteria but would like to reap some of the benefits of having a green roof, there are some alternatives to consider. For example, a homeowner could cover their roof with a light colored, reflective material that can save the homeowner between 20 and 70 percent on annual cooling costs. Potted plants can also easily be placed atop many roofs without much difficulty to effectively absorb water and help clean the air.

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