Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Shake or Heavy Metal?

Sometimes, on the journey to a simpler and more sustainable life, you're forced to make decisions that you don't want to make. I'm facing one of those decisions right now. The question is: do we replace our current roof with the eco-friendly metal roofing option, or do we go with an historically appropriate shake roof?

I'm sure there are people out there for whom one option or the other would seem obvious, but I'm really torn. I have a deep respect for history, which is one of the reasons we chose this house, despite the fact that it is at least an hour away from family, job, etc. Our little bungalow was built in 1927, and I knew immediately that I wanted to restore it to its former glory. This idea inevitably comes into conflict with my other dream to "go green." For example, there was no such thing as a composting toilet in 1927. Instead, they had toilets more like this or this. Do you have any idea how many gallons of water these use in flushing? LOTS.

But toilets aren't the issue here. I've already made that decision in our home for the time being. The issue now is the roof. We knew when we moved in a few years ago that the roof would need to be replaced soon. With each thunderstorm or heavy wind, more shingles come loose or off completely. Last year we had an issue with leaking around the chimney, which has been temporarily fixed, though the damage it caused has not. We're going to have to bite the bullet soon.

So, once more, do we go with the more sustainable metal roof or the historically accurate shake roof? I keep trying to rationalize each choice in my head, but ultimately the choice will probably be made with green in mind. And I ain't talkin' the environment.

We found a company here in Ohio that makes shake style metal roofing, so I'm going to call for a free estimate.

Here's a few of my requirements for the metal roof:

1. The metal shakes must be authentic looking. Yes, aesthetics are very important to me when it comes to something like a historical home, even if that home is not historically "important."

2. The metal must be coated with acrylic, NOT Teflon or PVC.

3. Must be Energy Star rated.

4. Must be drinking water safe. That water's going on my food crops, after all!

5. Must contain recycled content AND have end-of-life recyclability.

6. Must be LEED certified.

7. The color choices for the shakes must be varied and historically accurate.

8. The cleanliness of the manufacturing process will also be considered.

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