Roofing materials that are recycled, better looking, and easier on your budget

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By: Rachel KramerCC BY 2.0
Our home needs a new roof. It’s been asphalt shingling, and it’s fine, but if I can manage to keep it in budget I’d much rather use a greener material. Or even just a cheaper material. Or something that looks nice! Really, I guess I want to jazz my roof UP!

Has anyone used an alternative roofing material that they’d recommend to us? I’ve seen stuff like steel shingles, clay, wood…it seems like there are a lot of alternatives out there, but I have a hard time judging which will fit us best. Thank you! -Fionna

Do you have experience with roof materials outside the mainstream? Do share!

Comments on Roofing materials that are recycled, better looking, and easier on your budget

  1. Alternatives will depend on budget, time and location. You could always use cedar shakes, clay tiles (if in a warm climate), green roofing, copper, metal, etc.

    In narrowing down options to what works best for you:

    Set down a budget first, know how much money you have and are willing to spend. Then start looking at options that appeal to you most. Look at pricing options for all the options that appeal to you. Also consider who will be doing the work, will it be you? a contractor? friends? family? What experience do you need to install the roof that you want. Will it cost more if the roofing material is special. Consider the climate you are in, do you get lots of rain, sun, snow, etc. What materials work well in this weather, what materials don’t.

    Once you answer these questions you will probably have a pretty good idea of what options will work for you.

    Some extra considerations:
    If you go with a green roof, you will need to assess the structure of your building to see if it can deal with the extra load (I always recommend a professional, but if you can get a hold of your local building code you could run the calculations yourself).

    • I’m interested big time in green roofs, but also the potential for wood pallets in roofing applications. I think wood pallets taken apart could make some killer roofing on the cheap. You would definitely need to make sure to finish them properly though. Also you should still be using something like Tarpaper underneath if you go a shake or wooden palette roof system.

  2. In addition to Jessica’s other suggestions for narrowing down your choices, you’ll want to consider the slope of your roof, number of angles, and how soon you want to replace it. For example, I have an old house, with an incredibly steep roof, and several ridiculous angles. Price and longevity were major considerations, when we had to re-roof it.

  3. Although it’s less common in the states than here in UK, thatch might be what you’re looking for. It’s expensive in the short term but can last for years and years and years and years, plus you can do allsorts of designs carved into it. It’s very green because it’s ultra-renewable because it grows! Might be worth a shot, but depends on your location and what you think works, and your own style.

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