Thursday, January 24, 2013

Are shingles eco-friendly?

Are shingles eco-friendly?

I recently had a comment on my blog from a reader stating that they would only be buying asphalt shingles and not any other kind of roofing such as cedarshakes, metal roofing or Enviroshakes because asphalt shingles were more eco-friendly.

They also mentioned that asphalt shingles were the most economical of all roofing solutions.

Let’s start with the last statement first, that asphalt shingles are the most economical of all roofing solutions;

 Asphalt shingles are the most economical of all roofing materials when you buy the standard 25 year shingle.
But when you start to buy the shingles rated for 40 to 50 years then the price of the shingles and the installation starts to climb.

So yes in the basic sense asphalt shingles are cheaper to buy, but a new asphalt roof raises the value of your home for only about 5 years, then the value that you gained from having a new shingled roof starts to decline. By the time the shingles are 10 years old the roof has no added value to your home. Typical 25 year shingles will only last you about 15 years before they need to be replaced, they start to show wear and age at about 7 years. If you were to install a steel roof or an Enviroshake roof then you would pay a lot of money up front, the value of your house would increase more than if you had shingled it. The value that your house would increase from your choice of expensive roofing would not be the same as what you paid for it. You would see the return on your roof later down the road.

10 years after installation your shingles have stopped increasing the value of your home, while your expensive roof (steel or enviroshake) will still be holding it’s value. When you are replacing the asphalt roof at year 15 the other products will still be functioning at the same level as the first year they were installed, plus they will still be creating that value in your home.

In conclusion; paying for a more expensive roofing option for your home will save you money in the long term and help raise the value of your home as well.

Let’s talk about the first statement, that it is more eco-friendly to use asphalt shingles then the other products;

Asphalt shingles in the past were entirely made from oil based products. Today’s shingles are said to be a composite of other materials. What you need to understand is that when they state that the shingle is a fibreglass shingle that doesn’t mean that the shingles isn’t made from oil. Actually the backing or what makes the shingle strong is made from fibreglass, the fibreglass is placed inside the shingle and the tar stuck to it. Tar is made from oil, so roughly 90% of the shingle is still made from oil. Asphalt shingles last only 10 to 15 years and can be damaged from high winds, flying debris or low hanging branches. Also the increasing amount of UV rays damage asphalt shingles and age them prematurely.

Roofing products such as steel roofing and Enviroshake are not made from oil and will be on your home for as long as you own the home. Steel roofing should last a lifetime on your home and Enviroshake has a minimum life span of fifty years. That means that you will have to re-shingle your roof 4 to 6 times before you have to think about changing the steel or Enviroshake on your roof. Think of the pile of shingles that will be created in a landfill somewhere.

Enviroshake is made from waste material in ethanol plants, that material is a plant base and the rest of the product is made from recycled tires and recycled rubber. Enviroshake is truly the ultimate environmental friendly green product. If you can afford the upfront cost then you will save yourself a pile of money in the future on re-roofing.

I hope this helps people make up their minds on what type of product they should be installing on their roof and why they should be installing them. Its hard to make a proper decision if you don't have all the facts.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.


  1. Yes shingles are eco friendly and your postings is so informative thanks for sharing. Roof coatings

  2. Great and interesting blog! The reality is an eco-friendly roofing is an exceptional means to save the ozone and money at the same time.

    Iko shingles