Considering the critical role the roof of our home plays in protecting us from the elements, it’s only right that we make sure that it’s made from the best materials we can find.

We can also go one step further when it’s time to replace our existing roof as part of a remodeling project, or when we begin construction of a new house. Instead of traditional roofing materials, how about going for innovative ones that are now readily available in the market?

These roofing materials bear the “innovative” tag not only because they are unique, but they also happen to be eco-friendly. And with professionals protected by roofers insurance taking care of their installation, you are assured of a sustainable roof that will last you for a long time.

Let’s take a look at some of these innovative roofing materials.

Clay and concrete tiles

With a lifespan of more than five decades, clay and concrete tiles are, without a doubt, one of the more durable roofing materials available today. It won’t decay, burn, or be at risk of infestation by insects. More importantly, clay and concrete tiles make for a recyclable and energy-efficient roof.

Aside from being some of the greenest roofing materials out there, clay and concrete tiles also lend a lot of elegance and texture to your roof, especially if you have a Mediterranean, Southwestern, or Spanish style home.

Metal roofing

Durability is also the mark of metal roofing, as it has the potential to last for 75 years or so. It’s capable of withstanding even the worst weather conditions and is fire resistant as well.

Lighter than clay and concrete tiles, metal roofing can keep your home cooler in the summer—and therefore more energy-efficient—by reflecting sunlight instead of absorbing it. The fact that metal roofing can be recycled also makes it a very environmentally-friendly roofing material.

Perfect for bungalows, contemporary homes, and cabins, metal roofing comes in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and colors.

Wood shingles or shakes

In Seattle and other areas of the Pacific Northwest, wood shingles and shakes are traditional roofing materials, and it’s easy to see why. Roofs made of wood shingles and shakes are quite charming and attractive. They are also very sustainable, as they are usually made from pine trees, cypress, redwood, and western red cedar. If you have a cabin or cottage, a roof made of wood shingles or shakes will look absolutely great.

Recycled rubber

This may sound surprising, but recycled rubber can actually be turned into shingles for an environmentally-friendly roof. Waterproof and resistant to harsh weather conditions and impacts from large hailstones, tree branches, and other types of debris, recycled rubber shingles are proving to be a very sturdy roofing material. They can be as heavy as traditional asphalt shingles, though.

Solar shingles

The word “innovative” is the most appropriate one to use when describing solar shingles. On top of being a durable roofing material, solar shingles also happen to be a unique alternative to traditional rooftop solar panels. Simply put, a roof made from solar shingles harnesses the power of the sun and creates free electricity for your home.

Unlike its earlier versions that used "thin-film" solar cells, the solar shingles available in the market today are made using tempered glass or other rigid materials, which give it an appearance and performance that are reminiscent of conventional shingles.

Of course, the single biggest asset of solar shingles is its ability to generate electricity. Each photovoltaic shingle produces up to 63 watts. With their power-generating capabilities, solar shingles are easily the only roofing material that gives you a return on the money you invested for their installation.

Green roof

If there’s one type of roof that will qualify as the most eco-friendly of all, then that distinction should go to a green roof.

A house with a green roof is easy to spot, as it’s the one that has plants, trees, or any kind of vegetation right on top of it. Aside from the fact that it’s always a potential wildlife sanctuary, a green roof can also help reduce your heating and cooling bills. The exceptional insulation it provides can help regulate the temperature inside your house, allowing you to set your thermostat at an optimal level even during days that are too hot or too cold.

When looking for the right roofing material for your home, it’s always wise to take all possible factors into consideration. Those factors could range from the overall look you want for your home to the climate in the area where it stands. Once you’ve made your choice, have professional roofers install the whole thing to make sure your new, innovative roof will be as perfect as you want it to be.

About the Author

Rachel Porter is the content specialist for Custom Contractors Insurance, LLC, an Arizona roofing and contractors insurance company. When not writing, she enjoys reading and mountain biking with her friends.

About Olga Lockhart

Olga Lockhart, Marketing Manager for Pathway Design & Construction, researches, analyzes, and writes about these key topics: Universal Design, Aging in Place, Northwest building & Seattle remodeling trends, air quality issues, and solutions, during construction. She's also willing to chat about travel and culture out of the office.