How to deal with rooftop gardens and watertight seals
Caring for roof gardens
Creating a rooftop garden is an effective way to bring green space to your home and lower your energy costs. Rooftop gardens are growing in popularity across London and other populous cities due to the sheer lack of garden space available. It’s not just domestic properties that are getting inventive with their roofs – pubs, offices and arts facilities are also finding new ways to integrate greenery and architecture.
The issue with roof gardens, green roofs and ‘living’ roofs is that they need watering.Most roofing systems are designed to deal with heavy rainfall – this is Britain, after all – but excessive water does put your roof at risk of water damage. On top of this, vegetation and plant life needs to be carefully managed to ensure it doesn’t start growing wildly into the structure of your property. That’s why you need to fit a high-quality watertight seal and membrane before you start creating your roof garden.
Effective watertight seals to help your roof garden flourish
Not all rooftop gardens are the same, so there’s no one way to manage them. Green or ‘living’ roofs – where the roof is completely covered in grass and vegetation – tend to suit the pitched structure better, while more elaborate garden designs work well on flat roofs. They both have benefits: the slopes of the pitched roof allow water to drain away from the property easily, and the level surface of the flat roof means that it is more accessible and convenient to manage.
A waterproof membrane needs to be installed before you can think about starting to grow your vegetation. This is specially designed to stay watertight and deal with ongoing dampness, pools of water collecting, and exposure to the various organisms that live on the roof garden. There are two main options available: liquid-applied treatments, which is sprayed or rolled on to form a layer, and preformed sheets, which are asphalt-based. It’s a good idea to talk to a roofing expert about which solution would work best for your roof.
Help your rooftop garden ‘breathe’
As your roof needs to expand with changes in the environment, it’s important to keep some areas (such as the expansion joints) free from vegetation. To keep your roof waterproof, you’ll need to check on it regularly, and ensure there’s no damage to the membrane. Although the vegetation will protect it to an extent, the membrane will naturally need repairing over time – you can extend its life by keeping it free from cuts, tears, harsh chemicals, and invasive roots and weeds.
Want to create your own rooftop garden? Contact us at South Thames Roofing today – we’ll give you all the advice you need.