Installing An Eco-Roof: Do You Need To Rebuild First?

If your roof is in need of slight repairs or an entire makeover, you may be considering alternative roofing options such as installing a green roof or adding photovoltaic panels to your roof. As you learn about the benefits of these two eco-friendly options, you may wonder how much repair you have to do on your existing room before you can install these new features. While the answer is never simple, there are a few things you can check to get an idea of how much repair you will have to do before your roof is ready to go green. 

Ability to Bear Weight 

When deciding whether you will add a green roof or solar panels, the first thing you will need to assess is whether your roof is currently strong enough to bear the weight of the project you have in mind. Extensive green roofs, which are flat projects with a little bit of soil, can add 15-50 pounds of weight per square foot. Intensive green roofs, which have more soil and vertically growing plants, can add 80-150 pounds. 

If your current roof cannot support a green roof, then you may look into solar panels, as they usually add only 3-4 pounds per square foot. However, if your heart is set on a green roof, you can increase the weight limit of your current roof by having a professional assess your joists and roofing material. 


Some people turn to alternative roofing methods to cover a roof that is already leaking. You may think that PV panels or the plastic sheeting meant to waterproof a green roof can help cover minor leaks in your roof. However, it is important that you have a fully waterproofed roof before you start these additions. PV panels are not meant to be used for waterproofing, and the waterproofing layer in green roofs is only meant to keep out the moisture that is held in the plants and soil. This means that if there is a large storm, water can flow beneath the waterproofing and cause damage to your roof and home unless you have a solid roof in place. 

Factors That Compromise Longevity 

Green roofs and solar panels are both longterm commitments. This means that you want your roof to be in good enough shape to last the next ten years before you begin installing either of these features. Even if your roof looks okay to you, you should still have a professional inspect it for various problems that could compromise your roof in the future. 

If mold, termites, or moss are found on your current roof, you may need to get it repaired or replaced before you add features on top of it. 

Desire For New Roof Features 

If you are considering adding skylights or a second chimney, it is best to do so before you install a green roof or solar panels. If you decide to add more roof features after your eco-projects have been completed, you will have a lot more to dismantle and redesign, which will end up costing you more. It is best to rebuild everything at once than to try to repair or remodel your roof after adding a custom designed green roof or solar panel system. 

Green roofs and solar panels are quickly becoming affordable options for the average American. However, they are only cost effective if they are installed on a structurally sound roof that will not require major repairs in the near future. So, think about taking the money you save on new green designs or solar panels and putting it towards rebuilding your roof. 

 For more information, contact a local roofing company.