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Environmentally Friendly Roofing Material Options

Roof shingles must be replaced by the majority of homeowners at some time. Conventional asphalt shingle roofs endure 20 years, if you're lucky, when exposed to sunshine, heat, cold, rain, wind, and occasionally snow, sleet, and hail.

Consider the options listed below if you want a roof that will outlive a traditional asphalt shingle roof and is built from eco-friendly roofing materials. Many of them are essentially unaffected by hail. Green roofing options range from recycled-plastic shingles to recycled-metal roofs to sustainably obtained or recovered wood roofs. The ideal alternative for your home is determined by its design, local construction requirements, and cost factors.

Recycled Shingles

Shingles produced from recycled waste materials, such as plastic, rubber, or wood fiber, are among the most popular — and maybe the "greenest" — of all roofing products. Some goods are created from clean post-consumer trash (household garbage), while others are made from post-industrial waste (factory waste). Recycled-content shingles are extremely durable and attractive. You'd never guess they were built using "waste" materials!

Roof shingles with recycled content help remove trash from landfills and minimize our need to collect and process raw materials, lowering energy consumption and pollution. Some of these items are also recyclable, and many come with incredible 50-year guarantees. Some even have fire ratings, which may decrease your insurance costs.

Wood Shakes and Shingles

Wood shingles and shakes have long been a popular choice among builders and homeowners in various regions of the country. Regrettably, traditional wood shingles are made of old-growth western cedar. Although the quantity of energy required to create this product is very modest, the harvest of old-growth trees is not long-term sustainable. These tiles are also highly flammable and can no longer be utilized in regions where brush and forest fires are a concern.

If you want to install wood roof shingles and your local building standards allow it, look into salvaged lumber. In Connecticut, for example, the Armster Salvaged Lumber Co. manufactures roof shingles from wood reclaimed from mills, bridges, ancient water and wine tanks, and a variety of other sources. This firm collects old wood around the country and tries to process it locally — near to where you buy the product — to cut costs and transportation energy.

Maibec Industries in eastern Canada makes another ecologically friendly wood shingle. To make shakes and shingles, the firm collects eastern white cedar trees that have been cultivated in a sustainable manner (as recognized by the Forest Stewardship Council). These are most often used for siding, but they may also be used for roofing if placed according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Rubber Roofing

Reinforced rubber shingles produced from used steel-belted radial tires are another recycled roof material. The material is texture-coated with ground slate and available in a range of hues. This material has a long life and a 50-year guarantee, which includes protection against hail and other harsh weather. Before deciding on this choice, check with your local building authorities to see if rubber roofs are authorized in your region.

Metal Roofing

Many metal roofing products contain at least some recycled material, but one advantage of metal roofing is that it can be recycled when it is no longer useful. Because metal roofs may endure up to 50 years, roofing repair is less frequent, resulting in less waste over time. They are perfect for individuals who want to collect rainwater from their roofs to water gardens because of their outstanding durability and fire resistance (or for household uses). You won't have to worry about toxins leaching from a traditional asphalt roof. Standing-seam metal roofs can function well as a foundation for thin-film solar panels.

Metal roofs are ideal for snowy areas because they enable snow to glide off, preventing the formation of ice dams. (Ice dams can cause roof damage in poorly insulated homes.) Install snow bars or a similar device across pathways, garage doors, and entryways to keep snow from rolling down the roof.

Classic Metal Roofing Systems' Rustic Shingles are composed of recycled aluminum (mostly beverage cans). The shingles look like wood shakes and are available in 11 different hues. Tamko Building Products' MetalWorks steel shingles are made of up to 50% recycled steel and are meant to appear like wood or slate. Zappone Manufacturing's shingles are constructed of either 100 percent recycled aluminum or 85 percent recycled copper.

Clay and Slate Tiles

Slate is a natural material that provides an incredibly long-lasting roof tile that may last for hundreds of years. Several firms sell slate tiles, and one provides a 100-year warranty, a bargain that will last far longer than most of us.


Slate mining and transportation are both energy-intensive processes, however some slate roof tile producers provide recovered slate and clay roof tiles. Both are available from Durable Slate in Ohio. Clay tiles are also a long-lasting roofing material, albeit not as long as slate.

Roofing Tips

Roofing is not a task for unskilled people. Working at perilous heights, potentially on steep slopes, and moving large items are all part of the job. Roofing also necessitates a significant amount of expertise and ability. So, unless you've done similar work in the past, are proficient in carpentry, and maybe have advice from a professional roofer, this is a task best left to the professionals. Before doing any roof work, educate yourself on safety procedures, and never work alone.

There are several eco-friendly roofing solutions available, so weigh your selections carefully. Check the fire ratings, hail ratings, and warranties of the materials. Call your insurance agent to check whether the product you're thinking of purchasing qualifies you for a discount on your homeowner's insurance.

To re-roof your home, you'll most certainly need a building permit and to pass an inspection. Before you put your money down, be sure your building department approves of the shingle product you've chosen!

You may also need to look around for a roofing contractor who is knowledgeable with the product you want to use. Some of these products are very new on the market, and while they have been tested, few roofers have used them. When looking for an ecologically friendly shingle, attempt to speak with New Orleans roofing companies who have installed it rather than merely a salesman. Inquire with your roofing contractor if your old asphalt shingles may be recycled. Some businesses grind asphalt shingles to make materials used in road maintenance and repair.

If you choose a slate or clay tile roof, whether new or recycled, keep in mind that the framework of your roof must be sturdy enough to sustain the weight of these tiles, which can be significant. To establish whether your frame is up to the task, you may need to contact with a structural expert or local building department.

Kenneth Hoag

author

Owner of Fleur De Roofs

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