5 Important Maintenance Tasks For Keeping A Commercial Green Roof Working Properly

Installing a commercial green roof is a great way to give your business an eco-friendly marketing edge, in addition to possibly saving you money on cooling costs by absorbing sunlight and deflecting heat. However, you'll need to hire a team to handle the extra maintenance chores that come with this kind of roof or train your employees to take care of the tasks. Make sure you're doing at least these five maintenance tasks on a regular basis to prevent your green roof from turning into a liability.

Remove Weeds

If the roof is already covered in plants, some building owners assume that any weeds that settle in are just contributing to the vegetative cover over their structure. Unfortunately, weeds are very damaging to green roofs, and even removing them incorrectly can create leaks through the underlayment. Letting weeds grow out of control can lead to problems like

  • Clogged drainage channels due to spreading roots or dead plant debris
  • Death of the plants you choose for the roof due to shading and moisture theft by the weeds
  • Holes in the waterproofing membrane below the plants due to aggressive root growth.

You can't just stroll around the roof yanking up the weeds either because this displaces the growing medium and will rip up parts of the membranes if the roots have reached down too far already. Selective herbicide application or careful hand-trimming is a better option, but these methods are more labor-intensive too.

Unclog Drainage Channels

After checking for unwanted plant growth on your green roof, you need to verify that all the drainage channels are working correctly. Running the irrigation system or spraying the roof with a hose and watching how the water flows towards the downspouts is an essential task that you should perform monthly. If you wait until you notice signs of ponding around the drainage points on the roof, you're likely already experiencing serious damage to the underlying structure due to leaks and increased weight. Let a professional chase the clog in the drainage system if it's located under the plants and substrate rather than at a more accessible port.

Clean Up Debris

A few leaves or tree branches on your green roof won't immediately damage anything, but it only takes a few storms for the roof to end up almost completely covered in debris. Whether it's paper and other trash from the city around you or natural tree litter, the debris can shade out and crush the plants growing on the roof. Even when the debris doesn't land on the plants at all, it can still compromise your drainage system and lead to hard-to-find leaks.

Check the Irrigation Equipment

If your green roof relies on irrigation equipment to keep the plants alive during hot and windy weather, test it once a month. Both drip and sprinkler systems can end up clogged due to minerals or bacteria in your water supply, and a falling tree branch can crush supply lines or individual moisture emitters. Run the irrigation equipment briefly to make sure you're still getting even coverage, and repair any issues immediately since a lack of water can kill a healthy green roof in just a few days during a heat wave.

Replace Missing Substrate

Finally, look over the surface of the green roof and try to spot any areas where the growing medium is lower than usual or missing altogether. The medium needs to evenly cover the roof to protect it from damage, and it's easy for an area to end up uncovered due to a bird or animal digging in the soil or high winds that shift the lightweight material around. You may want a commercial roofing repair specialist to check the condition of the exposed area before you dump more material over it since it may already be damaged from even a brief exposure.

For more information and tips, contact local roofing contractors. You can click here for info on roofing services in your area.