Roofing Tips |4 min read

The Top Environmentally Friendly Roofing Materials

Bold North Roofing and Contracting Roof Replacement

As we move towards a more environmentally friendly world, we often look for ways to save energy and ultimately save money. Ways such as high efficiency appliances, water saving devices , even replacing windows.

Millions of homes need a new roof each year, which means old asphalt shingles are added to landfills. As a homeowner, it is important to know all of your roofing options when faced with a replacement.

Metal Roofs

Cars, cans, and even old appliances can be recycled into metal roofs, and some are warrantied up to 50 years. These roofs can withstand up to 140mph as well as damage from hail.

Metal roofs will not ignite flames and can withstand lightning strikes. The metal roofing materials we tend to see on the market now range from 25-95% recycled content and are 100% recyclable at the end of their life. Once the metal roof has reached its end of life, it too can be recycled. Metal roofs are also known for reflecting heat and driving down energy costs. As an added bonus, they can be added on top of existing shingles.

As a homeowner, you will need to consider the cost investment. Some metal roofs can be as much as 3 times the cost of traditional roofing materials.

Upsides and Downsides

Upsides Downsides
✔ Long-lasting ✘ Can possibly be dented
✔ Reflects heat and reduces energy bills ✘ Are noisy during rain and thunderstorms
✔ Are 100% recyclable

Cedar Shake Roof (Wood Shingles)

Raising in popularity over the last few years due to their “greenness”, this type of roofing material is desirable if you are trying to go the environmentally friendly route with your home.

Historically, wooden roofs have been durable and last about the same time frame as a traditional asphalt shingle. When the roof’s lifecycle is coming to an end, the shingles can be recycled and reused, also homeowners may choose a reclaimed wood roof extending the life cycle of the shingle.

Cedar shakes come from a sustainable forest, one that is certified by the Forest Steward Council or other forest organizations.

Additional concerns about wood roofing are noted as they are not a fire proof solution, which could impact your homeowner’s insurance coverage, which could raise interest rates or you could possibly be denied coverage. Cedar shakes have come a long way and some factories are providing B and C rated fire-resistant chemicals.

Upsides and Downsides

Upsides Downsides
✔ Aesthetic Appeal ✘ Higher up-front cost
✔ Cedar shakes provide natural insulation, helping to regulate the temperature inside your home ✘ Natural materials can be susceptible to rot, decay, and insect infestations if not properly maintained
✔ Cedar is a strong and durable wood that can withstand various weather conditions, including heavy rains and snow. ✘ The warranties for cedar shake roofs are often shorter than those for asphalt shingles or other roofing materials
✔ Renewable resource, and many cedar shake manufacturers use sustainably harvested wood ✘ Cedar shake roofs require skilled installation to ensure they are properly sealed and ventilated.
Cedar shake roofs require relatively low maintenance
✔ Are 100% recyclable


Clay Tiles

Clay tiles are one of the most recognizable roofs available with their earthy appeal, and they are 100% recyclable.

These roofs are commonly seen in desert climates because of their ability to redirect heat and they are durable. These tiles create air insulation against both heat and cold which often drive down electricity costs.

These roofs are known most for their durability. They can last for ages when installed and maintained properly.

Clay tiles are limited in terms of color, but there are a variety of designs that are available with several shapes, sizes, and patterns. Finally, it is naturally resistant to mold, fungus and bacterial growth.

Upsides and Downsides

Upsides Downsides
✔ Can last for a century ✘ Adds a lot of weight to your home
✔ Uses 100% natural materials ✘ Fragile material
✔ Adds a layer of upscale luxury to any home

Slate Tiles

Slate should be able to last a century – even 150 years is a reasonable expectation of a roof of that type. It is a great product for homeowner’s insurance as well as slate itself is fireproof.

Slate has long since been known as the highest quality and longest lasting roofs on the market. When considering slate as an option when choosing roofing materials, you are looking at a higher cost, more difficult installation and some fragility.

Due to its expense, it is a niche market. The weight of the slate can also be a downside. The weight of slate roofing tile averages out to be about 1400lbs, so you will need your home inspected to ensure it can withstand the weight.

Finding the right roofing material for you can be difficult. It is important to weigh in your geographical location and other restrictions an HOA may have in place. It is also extremely important to find a trusted, local roofing company to complete your roof replacement, and additionally a company with a workmanship guarantee.

Upsides and Downsides

Upsides Downsides
✔ Lasts for hundreds of years ✘ Requires professional installation
✔ Offers a natural, historic aesthetic ✘ Requires additional structural support
✔ Uses all-natural materials