A Green Roof

No, I’m not referring to a house with plants growing on the roof like a Hobbit house (although I would love to have such a thing, I’m a hobbit at heart!).
When we chose the company that we did to build our house, it was due in large part to the fact that their standard package included a steel roof, which is something that we’ve always wanted. Steel isn’t exactly the most “green” material in that it requires a fair amount of energy to be produced, but once it’s on there, a steel roof can last for up to 100 years or more, which results in far fewer materials being used over the lifetime of the roof. It also reflects a large percentage of the sun’s rays off it’s surface, resulting in less heat build up in the house and lower cooling bills. The house plan that we chose has a small curved roof over the doorway which, it turns out, was going to cause some trouble with the installation of the steel, requiring the rental of a special machine to customize it to the roof ($$$), and a different kind of steel roofing that was more “bendy”, but unfortunately also very industrial looking. Since the roof is such a focal point of this particular house (it comes down to within 5 feet of the ground at one point), we didn’t want something that was going to end up looking ugly and out of place. However, we weren’t too keen on using asphalt shingles for any reason other than price, (they would have saved us about $4000 – money we could use since we’ve already decided to upgrade our windows from vinyl to metal clad wood), and we especially wanted to avoid using them because they’re a petroleum based product and don’t have a very long life expectancy (especially with wind storms like the ones we had last year). Steel isn’t cheap initially, but because you never have to replace it, it ends up costing less in the long run.
So what to do? Go with the more expensive, more durable, but unattractive steel roof, or sacrifice our principles and use the cheaper option even though we know it’s an environmental disaster?

Fortunately, while mulling this over and researching our options yesterday, I came across a website for a product called Enviroshakes. They’re a Canadian made composite roofing product that looks just like cedar shingles. They’re made from 95% recycled materials (recycled tires, plastics, and hemp/flax), have a life expectancy as good as a steel roof, and best of all, they look fantastic! So after talking to our builder and calling for an estimate (the cost should be close to or slightly less than the steel) we decided to go with Enviroshakes for our roof. It’s ridiculous how excited I am about these things, but I can’t believe that we actually managed to find something so environmentally friendly, durable, and nice to look at!

To learn more about Enviroshakes click here.

12 thoughts on “A Green Roof”

  • it is how “ridiculously excited” you get over these sort of things that makes coming here so great! what a wonderful choice, yet again. πŸ˜‰

  • That is great. I am glad you found something you are happy with. We just got our roof done, when we were on our little trip. We got aluminum interlock tiles put on. It looks great, last forever, and was much more expensive than asphalt which we didn’t want, but we are happy with them and won’t have to replace them. If we do an addition, they will be able to match them.

    I updated on Okra.

  • I think they are gorgeous and will definitely keep them in mind when it comes time to reroof our home.

    I am learning so much from following your building and my husband and I have built two homes of our own, and he is a contractor–underground utilities, so a different line of construction, but still in the industry–he also does set up for manufactured homes around the county. I can’t wait to share some of these things with him!

  • I’ve just discovered this site – it’s great!

    I am getting an estimate for an Enviroshake roof tomorrow. Apparently, it’s more than 50% higher than asphalt.

    Does anyone know of other eco-friendly options. We have too steep a pitch for the really green, sod roof.

  • I got sad when I scrolled down the post and learned that you didn't go for the steel roof after all. I mean, that was quite an introduction you wrote for steel roofs. Ha ha! I agree with you, anyway. Here in Miami, many people choose metal for their roof over other materials because they recognize its high durability. I can attest to that because we haven't had any problems with our roof so far.

  • I am a contractor/ builder in Southern Ontario and have installed and sold many of these roofing tiles. The oldest we have installed is over 10 years and still looks identical today as it did the day they were installed, except weathered!! They look beautiful!! Regarding the price range, overall, it is less expensive int he long run to install Enviroshake than it is for any other roofing product. If interested in more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at chris.jackson777@gmail.com! Hope everybody has a great day!!

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