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Atlanta Roofing: Article About Residential Living Roofs

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Living roofs have been in use in commercial applications with great success in the States for a number of years, but they are a great option for residential urban dwellers as well. Living roofs not only provide green space for city residents but can save money on heating and cooling. Natural vegetative roofs have actually been around for centuries and can be found all over the world. They have a proven track record for providing an effective insulating barrier, managing storm water runoff and providing a habitat for local fauna. Consulting with a certified Atlanta roofing professional can help property owners determine if a living roof is a good option for them.

There are three basic types of living roofs: extensive, semi intensive and intensive. Extensive systems are the type most commonly installed on residential dwellings. While the components of all three types are basically the same, the depth of the growing medium and the size of the plants are the main factors in determining the type of installation.

Extensive roofs are made up of a 3 to 5 inch layer of growing medium, a root barrier, a moisture shield and the plant materials. The medium used is not regular plant soil but rather a high mineral content mixture that contains very little actual 'dirt'.

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This mixture is very lightweight and provides the correct balance of nutrients that the plants will need. It also aids in retaining and draining water in the correct ratios.

The types of plants used are smaller varieties of mosses, sedums, succulents, herbs and grasses. Many homeowners make use of the green space to grow herbs with which to cook; however, common vegetables need a different growing medium and more depth, so they are not typically recommended for planting on an extensive living roof. The roofing system will need to be watered sparingly the first year to help it become established, but after that first year, nature should provide all the water it needs.

These natural roofs have a greater life span than many other common roofing types and can last for 50 years or more once they are properly installed. It is a common myth that green roofs are more prone to leakage. In fact, green roofs are no more likely to leak than any other roofing product. The core element to any leak proof roofing structure is the proper installation.

Extensive roofing systems provide significant advantages for property owners, but the biggest is the roof's ability to combat the heat island effect. Installing a green roof can significantly lower ambient temperatures, which saves on cooling the home in the heat of summer. They also absorb excess water, assisting overburdened city water management systems with runoff.

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