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5 of the Most Unusual Recycled Roofing Materials

Most homeowners have to re-tile their roofs at some point. Exposure to light, heat and unpredictable weather conditions means that asphalt roofs only really last around about 20 years. When it comes to replacing your roof, there are some environmentally friendly options available to you which could prove more durable. Furthermore, using recycled materials can make your home more energy efficient and cut the cost of having a new roof! With this trend growing in popularity, we’re taking a look at some of the most unusual ways you can re-tile your home.

Milk Jugs

Using recycled milk jugs is a great alternative to wood or metal materials. The plastic is resistant to moisture and chemicals so doesn’t weather damage or provide a breeding ground for bacteria in the way that a wooden option would. The plastic is also malleable so can be moulded into any shape for your roof tiles.


recycled roofing - tyres

Recycled tyres are the best option if you’re looking for something that looks most like a normal roof. The tyre wall is removed and the tread is cut into large pieces which is buffed out and covered in slate dust or sawdust. The pieces are moulded into shape and a plastic tab is added to each individual shingle to make nailing the pieces down easier. The steel belting from the tyre is left in tact so the finished product benefits from being stronger and more long-lasting than a typical asphalt roof.


In 1922, Elis Stenman built a house out of newspapers rolled up and varnished, to highlight how much wastage our society produces. In 2003, NewspaperWood was produced. This idea comes from Norway, where over 1 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are recycled every year. The process sees newspapers and solvent-free glue rolled up to create a log, which is then cut into planks as a real wooden log would be. The produce is completely waterproof and flame-retardant and can be used to build anything you would use wood for.

Aluminium Cans

Richard Van Os Keuls came up with a rather clever way to tile his house using aluminium cans. Whilst this technique is used by many people for chicken coops or sheds, Van Os Keuls has shown that this can be transferred to your own home on a much larger scale. Van Os Keuls flattened the cans and rounded the corners before nailing 30-40 overlapping cans down with a long aluminium nail. The cans, which are easily collected from dumps and tips, provided a cheap and durable alternative to a traditional material, but are aesthetically very different. Van Os Keuls has also noted that the ink on the cans has significantly slowed down the oxidation that normally occurs on aluminium.

Green Roofing

Green roofing, otherwise known as the ‘living roof’, is a great way to lower the cost of heating and cooling your home whilst also providing a habitat for wildlife. This method sees a layer of vegetation placed on top of all the necessary functional layers, such as growing medium, drainage, waterproofing, vapor control and structural support. Having a green roof improves air quality by mitigating air pollution and greenhouse gases, especially in urban areas. However, green roofing is much more expensive than a traditional roof and can be difficult to have installed, so this option is only beneficial if you are very conscious of environmental conservation.

Recycled roof materials can be the most practical way to make your home more eco-friendly whilst saving you money and replacing the need to create new materials. If you do decide to go down the eco-roofing route, remember that your old asphalt tiles can also be recycled into paving for streets and highways, so don’t just throw them away!

Abbey Roofing have been installing, repairing and maintaining roofs for over 20 years and offer a 10 year guarantee on any roof we install. For more information on our services, head over to our contact page.

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