I know I should be grateful to have a roof over my head, but I didn't really give it much thought until I noticed some cedar shakes in our yard, after a storm. We started looking into options for replacing our twenty-year-old roof and when I came upon rubber shingles made from recycled tires, I wondered about them.
Back in the seventies, at least one Do-It-Yourselfer in Germany cut away the sidewalls and applied strips of tread to his roof directly. If this is your kind of thing, here is a more detailed description for cutting old racing car tires into shingles to cover a chicken coop.
Hi-Tek Rubber used pieces of tire in a compression mould with sawdust or slate dust to impersonate wood shakes or slate shingles. They seem to have been swallowed up by Rubber Research Inc and I don't know if they are still operating. Two other companies making rubber singles are Ecostar in the eastern United States and Euroshield, based in Calgary. They both seem to grind up the recycled rubber, remove the steel and nylon and combine it with other ingredients to make shingles, but they don't give out a lot of details about their secret ingredients.
Ecostar says that much of their recycled material includes leftovers from making diapers. Euroshield products include 70% recycled rubber tire and are 95% recycled material overall. They are themselves recyclable. Roofing an average-sized house would divert more than 600 tires. In 2012, they added the Eurolite series made of the same material but thinner, less expensive, yet still durable. They are about 65% the weight of the original, leading to a diversion of about 370 tires per average home. They are sold in Vancouver as Ecoroof rubber shingles.
These shingles resemble cedar shakes or slate shingles instead of rubber tires. Ecostar makes them in a variety of shapes and colours. Euroshield makes them in black, brown and grey. The colouring is uniform but may eventually change over time with exposure to UV light.
These rubber shingles are expected to last a long time. They don't melt, crack or crumble in extreme weather. They are resistant to mold and mildew. Although you hear of tire fires being a problem, the shingles have additives that are supposed to make them more fireproof. They are supposed to be low maintenance. They are lighter than asphalt or slate shingles, making them easier to transport and install.
Rubber shingles cost more than basic shingles, but not twice as much. So even if you don't care about the environmental benefits, it would be cheaper than having to redo your roof, since cheaper ones won't last as long. They are designed to be easier to install, which lowers the cost. For now, they are only made in particular plants so, depending on where you are, there's transportation costs, which may limit their availability in some places.
Other than that, the main concern about them seems to be that they smell like tires at first, but this is supposed to go away after a few weeks.
Do you have any experience with tire shingles? Share below.