Roofing our house.

Initially, we thought we might DIY this project. During this renovation, we’ve learned plumbing, wiring, structural support, flooring, drywall, how to replace windows, tiling, the list goes on. The roof seems like a simple project, but with all the rain we’ve been having lately there’s concern about being able to finish it in a timely manner, without soaking the inside of our house. Between those issues, and the lack of materials available at our local home improvement store, we ultimately decided this might be the one area where we’d REALLY appreciate a professional. Plus, they’ll take care of hauling off the debris, and will get it done in one day, with no guessing.

Ever since we moved in, I’ve been keeping an eye on roofing options, knowing it was going to be a juggling act to balance out eco-friendliness with price. Unfortunately, given the dip in home prices in our area in the last year, that juggling act has gotten even harder.
Because of budget, we’re basically having to eliminate an awful lot of choices right from the beginning.
I really wanted a tin roof. They’re recyclable (and sometimes made from recycled materials) they’re reflective, and I love the way they look. They also last forever.
That said, they’re way out of our budget.
Slate and even wood shake were also pretty much ruled out from the beginning due to cost. I found a slate-like product made from recycled rubber, which is amazing and a little less expensive. However, it’s still well over our budget. Oh well, maybe next house…

A living roof is another amazing option, but one that we’ll have to reserve for my garden shed. Our older house just wasn’t built to support that kind of weight. In the future, my dream would be to have this sort of roof on at least part of our home. Some estimates claim that a living roof can store up to 75% of rainwater, both reducing the load on local storm drains and helping cool the area via condensation and evaporation. Basically Green Roofs are the bee’s knees to me, and I’m definitely planning my garden shed with one in mind. I envision a rooftop full of succulents… ahh.

*SNAP* ok, back to reality, ahem.

So… basically, we’re down to traditional asphalt shingles. One way to make that choice more environmentally friendly (especially since we live in the “sunny south” ), is to choose a shingle that will be reflective. Not only might we see a nice decrease in our cooling bill, but some studies even indicate that a predominance of reflective roofs in an area can reduce the “Urban Heat Island” effect in cities, reducing area temps by up to 7 degrees.
More research shows that homeowners can even get a tax credit in 2010 by installing an Energy Star certified reflective roof. Cool!

However, as it turns out, those Energy Star reflective roof shingles are currently only available in the “lifetime” shingle type, which more than doubles our costs. Even factoring in the 30% rebate, we’d still have to come up with all that money up front, and it’s just way beyond our budget. Boo.

So I guess what we’re going to do is just get the lightest color grey we can find, and hope that helps somewhat, even if it isn’t technically Energy Star, and just forgo any chance of a rebate.
As my husband always reminds me, this isn’t going to be the last house.


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