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What Green Roofing Materials Are Available Today?

Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By josefkubes



At some point in your life, for any number of reasons, you’ll probably need to think about roofing. Maybe you’re looking to build a new home for yourself, or perhaps you’re looking to replace a damaged roof on your current house. Whatever the reason, you have a variety of different materials to consider.

Asphalt shingles are the most common choice for roofing, but they are not your only option. There are many materials available today that are not only attractive and durable, but also eco-friendly.

Why Go Green With Your Roof?

Eco-friendly roofs are friendly to more than just the environment. Sustainable roofing can lead to a higher property value, which will come in handy if you ever sell your home. But you don’t need to move to feel the advantages of a green roof.

Some eco-friendly materials like metal or slate can last upwards of 50 years, double the lifespan of an asphalt roof. Then there’s the benefit of sustainable living. Protecting the environment is a growing concern, and using green roofing materials is one way you can contribute to that cause.

Sustainable roofs have a lot to offer. But what specific materials can you use?


Metal roofs are some of the longest-lasting ones out there. Though metal roofing can be expensive, you will likely never have to replace it. These roofs are durable enough to withstand rain, snow, hail and wind for years to come.

Because of its slippery nature, metal roofing is ideal for collecting rainwater or preventing snow buildup. One possible downside is that some metals may rust over time. However, many alloys are resistant to corrosion. Even vulnerable metals can resist rusting if appropriately treated.


People have used clay as a roofing material for centuries. It has a proven track record of weathering the elements. Exceptional strength aside, these roofs are also notable for their beauty.

Not only are earthen tiles durable and aesthetically pleasing, but they are also easy to recycle. If that wasn’t enough, clay is also fireproof, making it pretty close to invincible. There is, however, a cost for all these advantages.

Clay tiles are heavy, and as such, you cannot install them yourself like you can with other materials. You will have to hire a professional roofer to apply them, which means you’ll have to spend more money.


Slate is a kind of rock made up of clay and volcanic ash. This material offers many of the same benefits as clay tile: It is durable, fireproof and attractive, often coming in sleek, dark colors. Unfortunately, it also shares clay’s downsides.

Slate roofing is heavy and requires strong supports and professional installment. It is also comparatively expensive. Artificial slate is an available, and cheaper, option, but some people can spot the difference in appearance between this and the real thing.


Wood never goes out of style. It’s natural, it’s attractive and it’s versatile. Wooden shingles and shakes look good on nearly every kind of house and alongside almost any building materials.

Like with metal, there are several different kinds of wood you can use as roofing, although cedar is the most popular. Various woods have different properties, but generally, wood roofing provides excellent insulation from temperatures in both extremes.

One unique aspect of wood is that it will change color as it ages, but this may be desirable, as many people believe it looks better over time. The major drawback of wooden roofing is that it’s flammable. To protect your home, if you go with a wood roof, you’ll want to get it treated with flame-resistant materials.

Recycled Shingles

Recycling is one of the best things you can do to help the environment. While asphalt may not be eco-friendly on its own, you can recycle asphalt shingles to find a second life as paving or even new roofing material.

Just as you can recycle shingles, you can buy ones made of recycled material. Many recycled shingles are either reused asphalt or rubber from old tires. This kind of roofing is durable, getting its strength from its combination of materials, and are one of the most environmentally friendly options.

Recycled shingles can sometimes resemble wood, making them aesthetically pleasing as well.

Choosing the Right Material

There are upsides and downsides to every material, so no one roofing option is better than the rest. To find what works best for you, consider your budget, your home and your environment.

If you live somewhere with more extreme weather, you’ll want something more durable, like metal or slate. If your hometown has a milder climate, you can safely opt for a more vulnerable material like wood.

You should also consider the structure and material of your house. Clay and slate roofs work best with stone or concrete houses, both for their looks and for their strength, which can support the weight of these materials.

Naturally, you have to think about your budget as well. Slate might be easier on the eyes, but it will put more of a strain on your wallet. A roof with increased durability might be expensive, but it also may be worth the price, since it will last longer.

Regardless of what your situation is, there is a material that will work for you. If you find yourself needing a new roof, consider one of the many green options available.

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