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Current and Contemporary Trends in Roofing Materials

Having a roof over one’s head is a basic and unchanging human need. While the need may stay the same, the roof itself keeps changing. Current trends reflect both a revival of worthwhile older technologies and a willingness to adopt new materials to help keep out the rain, sleet and snow.

Green Roofing

It may seem strange to count sod among current trends, since sod roofs have been around for hundreds of years. In Scandinavia, sod roofs were ubiquitous through the 17th century and only buildings with roofs too steeply pitched for sod used wooden planks or shingles. The Scandinavian sod roof consisted of a substrate of wooden boards covered with several layers of birch bark to make the roof watertight, with sod used as the top layer to keep the bark in place.

Modern green roofs may use different materials, but the theory behind them is much the same. They use multiple layers of specially designed components to protect the underlying structure and to keep vegetation in place. While components vary from site to site, green roofs typically include a root barrier membrane, special fabric layers for water distribution and drainage, a stabilization system to protect the installation from the wind, and a special lightweight growth medium.

Green roofing is a growing part of the industry, at least partly because it has tapped into increased ecological awareness. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, a green roof can provide significant insulation value, help to control water runoff and, by shielding underlying roof components, materially extend the useful life of the roof.

Plastic Roofing

Plastics are not generally thought of as ecologically friendly materials, but recycling plastics into roofing materials is an excellent way to reuse a substance that would otherwise enter the environment and stay there for a very long time. In the past, however, plastic shingles made few inroads into the roofing market. The plastic simply looked too much like plastic, an artificial material with no aesthetic appeal. To achieve even a marginally natural look, roofers had to artfully mix shingles from different pallets. Without careful installation, the finished product was a patchy roof that looked fake and that detracted from a property’s curb appeal and resale potential.

Manufacturers have come a long way in an effort to produce a more natural-looking product, both by improving the look of individual shingles and by supplying pallets that are mixed at the factory. Despite greatly improved appearance, plastic’s high initial cost of materials remains an obstacle. Installation, however, is no more difficult or expensive than installing composite shingles. Once installed, plastic shingles have many virtues, including excellent impact and fire ratings and a useful life of several decades. That longevity ultimately makes a plastic roof a cost-effective option over the long term, especially when compared to the 15-year life expectancy of a roof sheathed in asphalt shingles.

Metal Roofing

Metal is yet another material that has been used in roofing in the past with mixed results. Previous generations of metal roofs involved panels that were caulked and screwed directly into the roof’s structural components, a recipe for disaster. Problems developed when the metal panels expanded and contracted in response to temperature changes, leading to leaks and splitting, especially in thin, light panels.

Manufacturers have addressed this problem with sophisticated systems for attaching panels, generally with concealed clips that allow panel movement without sacrificing tightness to the weather. With proper installation, metal roofing is more durable than asphalt shingles and should require little or no maintenance. Traditional materials like galvanized steel and copper are still very much in use, but they have been joined by stainless steel, aluminum and blends of zinc, aluminum and steel. At the same time, the development of durable ceramic coatings and long-lasting paints has helped to eliminate problems with rust and corrosion, while enhancing the energy efficiency of the roof and providing a wealth of options for the roof’s texture and color.

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Green Home Projects – Redo Your Home With Eco-Friendly Products

Are you contemplating home projects like new floors, wall painting, new appliances, bathroom fixtures, or maybe even a new roof? Then you may wish to consider using “green” home products or “eco-friendly” products and help the environment as well as your pocket. My husband and I have a huge list of home projects that need to be done on our old home. We are going to discuss our projects below and in the articles to follow. Here is what we plan to do in the future…

A New Roof — In the Meantime Fix the Leaks!

We have been slowly covering our old tar and gravel roof with Lanco White Seal. It has been an amazing process. The Lanco White Seal is white, therefore we are reaping an huge reduction in energy costs during the hot summer months. In addition, the roofing seal is allowing us breathing room so we can save for a new eco-friendly roof like a “cool roof.”

Wall Painting:

We have several rooms in our home that have not been painted for over 21 years! We finally painted one room using No VOC paint from Home Depot. We love it – it is not stinky! We plan to paint all the rooms and halls in the future with this type of paint (No VOC), researching the best deals and quality before we buy.

Redo All the Flooring:

Our wish is to redo the whole house’s flooring all at once using a “green” flooring product. We would love to use bamboo flooring, yet have been researching cork flooring and even natural linoleum. Then there is also the possibility of recycled flooring. This is a big project that will cost a lot of money, so we will be saving and researching our options.

Water Filtration:

My husband does not want to drink our city’s tap water that contains fluoride. I would prefer to drink water that has a higher PH content than what our tap water offers. We buy our water now and feel it is a huge cost as well as impact on the environment (although we do add the jugs to the recycle bin). So, a new water filtration system for our kitchen sink is really all we need. It would need to filter out impurities, fluoride and increase the PH, which is not too tall of an order. For our shower, we have been using a shower water filter unit which works fine. Although, we would like to add a water saver to it.

Even more Redo It Green Home Projects:

The above represents the “big” projects. We have a lot more on our list like buying energy saving appliances, new “green” lighting, tankless water heater system, energy saving windows and doors, and the list goes on. Yet, we did not mention the biggest home project on our list above…

Solar Panels and Wind Turbine

A dream of ours is to become “off the grid” — maybe even have the electric company pay us for a change. This would require solar panels and possibly a wind turbine added to our home. A huge project as well expense. We have to make sure we research all the possibilities and choose the best that will work for our home, climate and space.

Do you have a list of home projects? We hope you too will consider going “green” whenever possible. We know many people hesitate using green eco-friendly products because the expense seems much higher. So far, in our limited experience with these products, we have found that although the price is initially higher, we save money in the long run.

Green Roofs

A green roof is partially or fully covered with plant life (vegetation) and soil. It could be any growing medium planted over a waterproof membrane. The additional layers which could be included are a root barrier, irrigation system and drainage option.

A green roof can serve as a valuable and readily accessible recreational area and can also help improve the urban climate.

Green roofs, particularly, made of plants which are grown in absorbent substance helps reduce storm water overspill, reduce energy usage, cool the environment and lengthen the lifespan of the building and roof. Green roofs can offset the undesirable heating effect. They are now a big consideration for sustainable and accessible construction.

You can have green walls and roofs which will be alive with lush, weed-free lawn that can even put most of the suburban yards to shame. There are options where instead of grass a succulent called sedum can be used. Sedum is very drought-resistant, it stays green and doesn’t grow very fast so that the maintenance is less. Green roofs works as a non-intrusive, natural building material which creates a confined growing room for plants to flourish and interweave.

Green rooftops are becoming one of the best green living ideas for urban dwellers who long for communal sceneries for occasional entertainment, refuge and complete family relaxation. Green roofs absorb noise, trap dust, recycle carbon dioxide, absorb and break many gaseous pollutants and helps reduce the negative climatic effects of urbanization.

I Recently heard about a geography class that grows many vegetables like peas, beans, okra, broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce and potatoes on there green roof and donates all of it.

Especially in the densely populated cities there are very less opportunities to create new green areas. So, green roofs are an excellent method to improve the quality of life. In some countries and cities green roofs are almost compulsory for every building construction.

So, planting on roofs and walls is one of the most innovative and quickly acceptable ideas for eco green living in the worlds of horticulture and built environment.