Now that the snow has thawed, it might just be time to replace your roof. But what to use?
Asphalt shingles have many draw-backs. They absorb heat in the summer, causing more energy to be used for cooling, and they don’t last long in the harsh climate in which I live; they may have to be replaced as often as once every 10 years. It is hardly surprising, then, that approximately 11 million tonnes of asphalt shingles are dumped in land fills every year in the US alone (recycling is possible, but not widespread). So there our petroleum-derived ex-roofs sit for centuries as we worry about what is going to protect us from the elements in the years to come.
We faced the roofing dilemma a couple of years ago and ended up using a product called Enviroshakes. This is a composite roofing material, 95%-derived from reprocessed post-industrial polymers. It comes in the form of separate shakes which have to be nailed on. This adds to the cost, for sure, but the product is warrantied for 50 years, so you could save money in the long term. An added bonus for us is that Enviroshakes are made here in Ontario.
I really like the way our roof looks – like weathered, grey-brown, cedar shakes – and we have had lots of compliments on it. You won’t get the cedar smell or that blonde look that cedar has when it is first installed, but you will get a fine-looking, long-lasting roof and the happy knowledge that you used recycled materials instead of virgin wood. We are only 2 years in, but the roof looks good as new and we have had no problems with leaks or shifting or anything like that.