If you are designing your own earth home, you may spend countless hours considering materials, techniques, and layouts. However, the roof is often left out of your calculations until the end and many home builders find they face issues when looking for an eco-friendly, durable roof. One solution you should definitely consider is cedar.
Insulating Properties Add To Passive Solar Heating
If you are building an earth home, then you are probably well aware of the thermal properties of various materials that you will use for your walls. From adding thermal mass to finding appropriate natural insulation, many builders of earth homes are at the forefront of green building. If you take the time and effort to integrate either passive solar heating or geothermal heating into your earth home, you do not want your efforts to escape through your roof.
Wood shingles have nearly twice the R-value of asphalt shingles, and although you will need to add additional insulating material, depending on your location, it is a good start.
Aesthetically Congruent With Other Natural Materials
If you build a cob home or use earthen plaster over your earth bags, you will be creating a very natural, organic look. If you have followed permaculture principles and integrated your building into the surrounding land by either partially burying your home or strategically placing it among trees and hills on your property, then you know how difficult it can be to make a home look like it is part of the earth around it while still retaining your own aesthetic style.
Cedar shakes allow you to continue a rustic, organic feel with your roofing material. Shakes come in natural red and honey colors, and overtime mature to a silver-grey color that can compliment your attempts at emphasizing your natural materials.
Can Be Used On Round and Dome Roofs
If you have built a dome or a round roof, you may be debating your best options for water proofing your home. The many angles and seals involved in geodesic domes and round roofs can give you a roofing headache, and the wrong choice often results in a leaky roof that can destroy your interior over time. Many dome owners choose to use spray foam insulation as their roofing material, but they lose the natural appearance of their home.
Cedar shingles or shakes are both appropriate roofing material on abnormally shaped roofs. They can be cut on site to fit awkward spaces, and their overlapping design creates a waterproof seal on your home. However, if you do not have extensive roofing experience, you will need to hire a professional to waste the least amount of material and get a proper seal to prevent leaking.
Strength and Durability Make It a Solid Investment
Many people get interested in earth building techniques because they are literally dirt cheap. However, you will soon learn that to build a sustainable, eco-friendly home you will need to invest quite a bit of money. Your roof is one area that you will end up spending more on if you choose to use natural materials, such as cedar, but they will save you money in the long run.
Most cedar roofs are installed with a warranty that lasts 20-25 years. However, the actual roof often long outlives its warranty. This means that you will save money by repairing and replacing your roof less often. Also, your roof will be more environmentally friendly than synthetic roofs that have to be replaced more often. Finally, the extra insulation that it provides will save you money on your heating and cooling bills over the years.
Cedar roofing can be your eco-friendly, durable choice for roofing that will top your earth home with the perfect aesthetic accent.