Q: In the October 1999 issue of This Old House, there was an article about the new products used on Dick Silvas TV project house in Billerica, Massachusetts. At the time, Dick said he really liked the recycled-rubber shingles on his roof—the ones that look like slate. I'm thinking about installing them on my house and wonder how his are holding up.
—George, Rainier, Wash.
A: Tom Silva replies: Dickie still likes his "rubber" shingles and says he'd use them again. (They were actually made of a recycled synthetic rubber called EPDM, and plastics.) "Next time, though," he says, "I'll install snow guards." Like slate, the surface of his shingles is relatively smooth, so snow slides off suddenly in great clumps, clobbering gutters, porch roofs, and unsuspecting passersby. Pad-type or rail-type guards will hold the snow in place, away from the eaves, so it can slowly melt. You can add them to almost any kind of roof, including asphalt shingles, but they're much easier to install during the roofing process. Just so you know, the manufacturer now makes these shingles out of recycled TPO (thermoplastic olefin), a material that is more durable and stable and has more UV inhibitors than the old formulation. These new shingles are also available in five colors.