Disadvantages of Green Roofs eHow

Disadvantages of Green Roofs eHow

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Structural Limitations

The roof and load-bearing walls of many buildings may not be strong enough to support the added weight of a green roof. Thin, lightweight systems, known as extensive green roofs typically have a planting media measuring 2 to 6 inches deep, while heavier, thicker varieties are known as intensive green roofs and range in thickness from 6 to 18 inches or deeper. Extensive green roofs often weigh less than standard gravel and tar roofs. Intensive green roofs, however, may require additional structural support. Green roofs can only be installed on flat or gently sloping roofs. 25 degrees is generally the maximum allowed incline, although some green roof installers in Europe have grown turf on 45-degree inclines using innovative erosion control techniques.

Installation and Maintenance Costs

Damage from Leaks

Although most green roofs include a root barrier layer, the roots of plants sometimes penetrate the waterproof membrane, causing roof leaks that could result in structural damage to the building. A yearly inspection to remove problematic shrubs helps reduce the potential for developing leaks. Using a shallow growing medium usually prevents any plants from growing large enough to develop a strong, deep root system. Due to the complexity of a green roof assembly, finding the source of a leak and repairing it can be a challenging process. Green roof installers can perform flood tests immediately after the installation or repair of a roof to check for leaks. Some companies offer leak detectors that use electronic charges to trace the path of a leak to its source.

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