Planning to go au naturelle with your new roof? You might have heard a few green roofs advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, to make sure you make the best decision for your property, it pays to know about green roofing and facts surrounding the topic. You can always ask a professional contractor, but after reading this post, you’ll know:

  • All about green roofs including the different types existing today
  • Its advantages in terms of durability, stability, and value for money
  • And disadvantages on the same grounds

What Are Green Roofs?

Green roofs are gardens on top of your home. Using reinforced waterproof material, homeowners can add and compact soil on top of their roofs and grow plants and other vegetation on top of their roofs. It introduces a beautiful aesthetic similar to a garden except on top of the roof of the property. In fact, they even make your downspouts look good.

Toronto ON neighborhoods love greenery as much as it loves its traditional yet durable roofing materials. You can see a variety of both high and low-slope green roofs, and sometimes you might wonder why some of them are small or big.

While we unofficially considered them part of green roofs’ advantages and disadvantages, different types of green roofs each have their respective charm.


Extensive green roofs are the best for high slope properties. They’re simply gardens you place on top of your roof. Their thin soil layer is light enough not to require additional support structures to ensure its stability.

For homeowners who lack time to maintain their green roofs, extensive roofs are the best option because all the plants you will select require infrequent maintenance and resilient. However, you cannot grow trees on extensive roofs because the adult tree will destabilize your roof in the future.

a beautiful green roof on residential property with high slope

Residential properties typically opt for extensive roofs because of their compatibility with high slopes.

Semi Intensive

Semi-intensive green roofs are small rooftop gardens with several layers of soil. In turn, this allows homeowners to grow more varieties of plants. However, roofing contractors will request building additional roofing joists to stabilize the roof as the weighted plants become older over time.

In addition, the appearance of semi-intensive green roofs is similar to extensive green roofs. While we do not consider this part green roofs advantages and disadvantages, it will be best for you to decide to have extensive or intensive green roofs only to maximize your new natural roof.


Most high-slope roofs cannot accommodate intensive roofs because of their added weight. In addition, intensive roofs must be accessible to foot traffic.

Their actual appearance is a rooftop garden complete with grass and soil. It has higher and heavier layers of soil that allows the growth of more plant varieties. In addition, Toronto ON property owners must build reinforcements to stabilize the roof in the future.

Intensive roofs are the most expensive of the three green roofing types. Moreover, they will require maintenance to keep the plants and the soil in proper order especially after extreme weather conditions.

Green Roofs Advantages and Disadvantages

Now that you know more about green roofs and its different types, it’s time to jump into the advantages and disadvantages of green roofs.

In general, green roofs are beneficial for the environment. However, they possess a few negatives for residential property owners.

a fake goat on top of a green residential roof

Green roofs introduce better property insulation and protection that prolongs the lifespan of the roof.


Natural Insulation

What outweighs most green roofs advantages and disadvantages discussions is the natural insulation they bring to any property. Either extensive or intensive green roofs will lock in water after heavy rainstorms before the plants substrate the water into the roof drainage system.

The resulting effect of both moisture lock and drainage is the consistent cooling of the roof. In addition, the soil acts as a barrier against UV rays and outside temperature molecules allowing properties to retain the internal temperature of their property for longer.

Prolonged Roof Material Lifespan

A typical residential roof will contend against UV rays and outside temperatures. During extreme weather, it faces harassment from hailstorms, heavy rainfall, and snow.

One of the best arguments that places it in the positive for green roofs advantages and disadvantages is the soil helps prolong your roofing material. Green roofs use a special waterproof roofing barrier similar to single-ply roofing membranes. This material holds the soil in place while preventing moisture from entering the property.

In turn, you have a thicker, sturdier, and beautiful roof if it’s a green one.

extensive green roof on commercial structure

Most commercial properties use semi-intensive and intensive roofs.

Noise Cancellation

If you’re looking to reduce the outside noise entering your property, then having a green roof is the best option for you.

Aside from double-glazing your windows and insulating your rooms, thickening the roof material will reduce vibrations that deliver outside noise into your property.

Layers of soil in both extensive and intensive roofs are thick enough to prevent its underlayment from vibrating. Additionally, the loose materials of soil reduce the acceleration of sound molecules minimizing effectively the amount of soundwaves entering your home.

Air Purification

In many countries including Canada, air pollution is a big issue. The best way to improve air quality is to grow more trees and plants. Therefore, you’re doing the environment and your local Toronto ON neighborhood a great favor by installing a green roof.


Expensive Installation

Unfortunately, many contend in green roofs advantages and disadvantages discussions that green roofs are quite expensive to install. There is truth in this because it costs about $15-$20 per square foot of a green roof.

Costly Maintenance

In addition to your expensive initial green roof installation, you will additionally pay for maintenance services especially if you own an intensive green roof. You’ll need to have your plants, the soil quality, and roofing structure undergo regular inspection and maintenance to ensure the safety and stability of the property.

green roofs on commercial structures and condominiums

Commercial properties that use intensive roofs have a wide space for foot traffic and beautiful vegetation.

Possible Leak Damage

While most contractors measure the soil layers to accommodate huge trees and plant roots safely without reaching the underlayment, these plants will still reach the material in some cases and penetrate it causing leaks.

Wrapping Up

Green roofs give the advantage of improved property insulation and roofing durability for Toronto ON homes. However, you will need to have enough for its installation and maintenance costs. To make sure you maximize your long-term investment, only cal the best roofing contractors who have experience installing green roofs.