Tire Shingles

Tire Shingles
Tire Shingles

A reader wants to build entirely with recycled materials such as plastic bottles. She asked me for roofing ideas. There may be better information available. Please leave a comment if you have suggestions for better websites/information.

“After several failed attempts with radial tires, I spoke with a local tire dealer and found that Racing tires only have Steel belts in the side walls, not in the tread. He happened to have an old tire so I took it home to see what I could do. I drilled a hole in the tread and used a key hole saw to start cutting. It went rather smoothly but it did take two people and still took about 45 minutes to make 12 – 14 shingles. I knew these were the type of tires I needed but I needed a lot of them, it turns out the the guy at the local tire dealer knew someone who had a ton of old Racing tires. Before I went to the store to buy brand new hole saws, I tried a utility blade (box cutter) (just for laughs actually) and found that it cut through the tire like a hot knife through butter.

In all, the design worked just as I thought it would. It was put through the Northern California rain test and there were not any visible leaks, although, water always finds a way. I was happy that I only spent $10 to make the shingles, the $10 was the purchase of several razor blades and utility knives. The structure itself was a bit more, but the main focus was the tire shingles themselves. This was a successful project, but that depends on your definition of appropriate technology. At the beginning of this class I thought the definition was that all other technology is inappropriate. I then formulated my definition to “our best effort in leaving the smallest environmental impact”. I now know that what is good for one person will not be good for another, so my definition has changed again, “our best effort in leaving the smallest environmental footprint within the ways that we choose to live”.”

More at the source: Appropedia

4 thoughts on “Tire Shingles”

  1. Generally, I would steer away from anything based in petroleum (pun intended) for recycled roofing, particularly if you ever wanted to capture rain off that roof. Plastic is one thing, but I would be concerned that tire rubber would be just as capable as asphalt at tainting rain water. And in the summer, the black rubber will ensure that it’s hot as Hades under that roof. That said, tire rubber might make a good underlayment for a different roof, as I’m guessing it would be somewhat insulating.

    For a recycled roof I would have started with aluminum cans, which can be cut with a pair of scissors. It wouldn’t rust, it would be lightweight, you could collect rainwater off of it, and it would probably be free, save for the time it would take to cut and flatten enough cans to do the job.

    The other thing I would consider using is something that I have a lot of lying around, and that’s leftover slate flooring.

    Just ideas.

    • Agreed about tire shingles tainting the roofwater. Tire shingles were the best I could think of off the top of my head. I love your aluminum can idea. That’s probably the best way to go. I just sent your suggestion to them. This lady is building houses for poor people in Nicaragua and your suggestion will most likely be very helpful.


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