December 6, 2016 | Filed under: Roofing Issues
Garbage Pile of Shingles
This fall I was working with our crew on an asphalt shingle tear-off, which is something we very seldom have to do. In fact in 10 years now, my best recollection is that we’ve torn off THREE asphalt shingle roofs. We usually install right over them.
At the time of this recent tear-off, the election was still looming and often on my mind. Looking at this tremendous pile of waste on the ground, I was reminded of the “cash for clunkers” program of the very early Obama administration in 2009. The program was designed to incentivize the purchase of new, fuel-efficient vehicle while getting older, less-efficient vehicles off the road permanently.
Roofing Destined for a Landfill
Without touching the politics of any of these things, it occurred to me immediately that this garbage pile of asphalt roofing shingles I was looking at (and carrying—oh! My back!) was a worse offender to the environment, and the economy, than the vilified cars of “cash for clunkers.” I wished that we could encourage all homeowners to consider the green impact of choosing a metal roof instead of these garbage asphalt shingles.
We’re seeing most of the asphalt roofs we replace being about 15 years old, in spite of being branded as 20, 30, or even 40-year shingles when they were installed. In order to stay cost-competitive, shingle makers have reduced their petroleum content. This results in early roof failures. And asphalt roofs are NOT to be installed in multiple layers, although some contractors don’t always follow this rule. (This typically voids the warranty on asphalt shingles.)
So purchasing an asphalt roof uses fossil fuels for a system that is bound to fail, and most are failing early, to be hauled to a landfill each time and replaced again.
A Greener Choice
Metal roofing, on the other hand, is generally made from recycled metals! Steel roofing could be 40-70% recycled content, whereas aluminum roofing is up to 99% recycled! (and most of our are a majority of post-consumer content, really “closing the loop” on consumer recycling efforts).
Metal also lasts 3-5 times (or more) longer than asphalt, and is fully recyclable at the end of its long service life! Add on top of that, most metal roofs are going to be considerably more energy-efficient than asphalt roofs as well, saving even more resources over their long life.
I think about the few metal roofs that we’ve replaced in comparison, and they’ve generally been in the range of 75-85 years old. What a difference! It really makes me appreciate the value of what we’re offering today when I see how well someone’s decision to go with metal roofing 80+ years ago really proved their money’s worth. I think as folks begin to stay in their homes longer, or find themselves in a home they want to stay in for the long-term, they’ll leave the “clunker” of asphalt roofing behind and appreciate the clean, green value of metal roofing.