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Aluminum can shingle

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This seems like an idea from the 1970s, but I did not find it on my search. Durability and resistance to elements are necessary qualities of roof coverings. Asphalt and wood are used, but must be replaced every so often. Slate roofs are very durable but very expensive. Aluminum cans are durable and could theoretically persist in the environment for hundred of years. Why not use aluminum cans as shingles? I could see two ways of doing this: shear off top and bottom and roll can flat, then use square piece as shingle. A better plan: shear off top and bottom and then bisect can longitudinally. The roof would be covered with rows of U shaped can halves pointing up, directing water down off the roof. Overlapping each row would be row of can halves pointed down.

Linked is a site stating that one shingle costs 29 cans. If 1 can can be made into 2 shingles, this idea would be economical. I think that cans outside the US might be more suitable for this use, as US aluminum cans were made thinner sometime in the last 15 years - cans outside the US are still thick enough that you can stand on one.

bungston, Jul 24 2003

Can shingle conversion http://www.aluminum...Helping_Habitat.htm
[bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

"...took beer cans and flattened them into aluminum siding" http://www.roadside...ract/TXHOUbeer.html
Looks like maybe everything but the roof. [half, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Can Thickness http://www.psc.edu/...ce/ALCOA/ALCOA.html
[bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Aluminum buildings http://www.xtratrix...31/gehry/_index.htm
Link emailed to me by an HB lurker. The babelfish did a nice job translating. [bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Make shingles and siding out of aluminum cans http://www.instruct...-Aluminum-Cans-Bee/
instructable [Spacecoyote, Mar 09 2009]

[link]






       Brings to mind the craftsman of Africa (and now worldwide), who fashion wonderul masterpieces from cut-up cans.
DrCurry, Jul 24 2003
  

       Does anyone else remember those hats made from aluminum cans?   

       "cans outside the US are still thick enough that you can stand on one."
Huh! And they call *us* wasteful!
phoenix, Jul 24 2003
  

       I love this and have no idea why it's not baked (tried googling, to no avail). As an added bonus, aluminum is highly reflective and would help reflect heat on hot summer days.
Worldgineer, Jul 24 2003
  

       A bun for you, for a good idea.   

       One or two probles though... Have you ever sat under a corigated iron roof during a rain/hail storm? It's noisy.   

       You'd better build a lightning conductor into your plan somewhere.
nick3, Jul 24 2003
  

       Yes, an alternate title for this product might be "Suicide House"
DeathNinja, Jul 24 2003
  

       Ah, come on you toads. Suicide Schmuicide. Lots of buildings have metal roofs.
bungston, Jul 24 2003
  

       Lightning Rod. And maybe some recycled styrofoam peanuts for acoustic dampening.
feedmewithyourkids, Jul 24 2003
  

       Good idea. I’ve seen cans used in houses for solar heating, but never to build a roof.
Shz, Jul 28 2003
  

       >>cans outside the US are still thick enough that you can stand on one.   

       >Huh! And they call *us* wasteful!   

       Al. cans here (UK) I can often stand on without them collapsing - although I'm fairly light. However, they collapse pretty quickly if there is a little dint or anything.   

       I've not seen any American cans, so now I'm curious. I would have thought the thickness would be the absolute minimum they could get away with, since it would reduce the cost.
Perhaps a scientific experiment? I'll weigh a standard sized can and post its weight (in grams), and its reported volume. Would anyone in the USA care to do the same?
  

       Back on topic, I suppose you could do the same with ordinary steel cans, provided you painted them.
Loris, Jul 28 2003
  

       Ive been a number of places, and Coke cans at least are always as thin as possible (good). You can stand on a can so long as it hasn't been opened! But I do like this idea. Using the cylindrical section should work OK. I think I will actually put some on the roof of my shed as an experiment, see how it fares.   

       Reminds me of the WOBO (world bottle) where Heineken proposed making shanty town shacks from square bottles.
RusNash, Jul 28 2003
  

       Great link, [half]. I may use this line: "Pull tabs tinkle lightly in the breeze, but the only belches you'll hear are your own."
lintkeeper2, Jul 28 2003
  

       I remember learning a trick in high school where you carefully balance on an empty can. On tapping the side of the can with your foot the whole thing dramatically collapses. You can't do that trick any more in the US, but I think it can be done in Europe. I posted a link showing how can thickness has steadily declined since 1984. Loris, post your can weight. I will do the same.
bungston, Jul 28 2003
  

       // Does anyone else remember those hats made from aluminum cans? //   

       Yeah, I have a friend who's mad about them. He collects them and is almost always wearing one.
snarfyguy, Jul 28 2003
  

       Just weighed a Lemon Fanta can (330ml). I shook out the remaining drops of fluid but didn't dry it.
It was just under 14.8 grams. It actually feels a little sturdier than I was expecting, so perhaps different beverages have significantly different weights. I might experiment further with other types of can..
  

       bungston, I like the graph on the second link you posted. You mention that a shingle is made from 29 cans. Looking at your first link, I see the table, but are they actually saying that the cans are used to make shingles? If this is so, then what sort of insulation is made from aluminium? Perhaps it can be spun into some sort of wool? In the UK at least, as far as I know, insulation is made from glass fibre.
Loris, Jul 31 2003
  

       //compressed fibre cement sheeting// [UB] There might be asbestos in that; take care.
FarmerJohn, Jul 31 2003
  

       //Just weighed a Lemon Fanta can (330ml). I shook out the remaining drops of fluid but didn't dry it. It was just under 14.8 grams.//   

       A diet coke can in the US weighed 15.45 gm. So there goes that theory.
bungston, Jul 31 2003
  

       There’s more gravity in the US.
Shz, Jul 31 2003
  

       Or lighter air.
Worldgineer, Jul 31 2003
  

       I was recently in Africa and the cans there seemed thick. Maybe in third world countries cans are still heavier. [UB], do you have the facilities to weigh a can?
bungston, Jul 31 2003
  

       //Maybe in third world countries cans are still heavier//
//[UB], do you have the facilities to weigh a can?//

<Senses [UB] backlash, moves away from [bungston]>
silverstormer, Jul 31 2003
  

       If only i had not recycled all of those moutain dew cans, I could roof all of north dakota.
sub_text, Aug 02 2003
  

       //I remember learning a trick in high school where you carefully balance on an empty can. On tapping the side of the can with your foot the whole thing dramatically collapses.// (bungston)   

       I did that this year for my auto mechanics students. They had heard of it but could not do the trick. I did it twice, but I balanced and tapped both sides with my fingers.   

       Steel roofing is becoming popular around here again. The reason it is not a lightning hazard is because it is a conductor. Insulators like wood on a roof or Kevlar in an airplane wing require a separate conductor to avoid heat damage in the structure.
moPuddin, Aug 02 2003
  

       //I live in a city with an incidence of violent electrical and hail storms second almost to no other place on the planet...Brisbane//   

       (Imagines UnaBubba in Richard Chamberlaine's role in Peter Weir's "The Last Wave" [even though that was set in Sydney]. Mythically heavy weather down under.)   

       I wonder if Peter Weir's from Brisbane.
snarfyguy, Aug 02 2003
  

       Sydney gets its fair share of rain also.   

       I'll try and weigh a can at work if I get the chance but [bungston] you'd better rethink that insinuation about Australia being a third world country... UnaBubba keeps his bonsai shears pretty sharp!
madradish, Aug 03 2003
  

       Metal roofs in California require fiberglass underneath so the wood underneath won't catch fire if a burning ember lands on the roof. Modern metal roofs are screwed on. I would suppose the screw would need to be aluminum or you would have dissimilar metals problem. Thicker shingles prevent metal shingles from bending up in a wind storm. Modern metal roofing systems are often shaped like a square bottom letter u covered by another u shaped metal nailed upside down over the edges of the shingles to prevent rain seeping under the edge of a shingle. Lightning rods are recommended on any building, regardless of roof material.
eengineer, Mar 28 2004
  

       I once saw a TV show, I think it was Extreme Homes. They used beer cans for shingle siding. They cut off the top and bottom, flattened them and nailed them on.
rovegratz, Oct 26 2004
  

       What I would propose is to save time by shredding cans so you dont have to individually cut the top and bottom off (industrial shredder). then you have a uniform pliable mesh of cans, then you pour fiberglass resin or similar over large areas of mesh forming rigid sheets. you wouldn't have to worry as much about cutting yourself with the cans razor sharpness. and I presume a faster installation. Corrections?
abadon, Nov 10 2007
  

       Along the same line of thinking, I don't see why you couldn't use tires for the same purpose. You can be PAID to take old tires. if you were to cut up a tire into maybe 8 inch sections, you could use the same arrangement of placing them vertically on the roof then using others inverted to stop rain from seeping in betwen them. Each segment would kind of be like a mini-trough. Of course, there would be a bit of curvature, but if you limited the pieces to short lengths, you could probably stretch the ends down a bit and make it usable.
marquisdenet, Mar 05 2009
  

       [m] post it.
FlyingToaster, Mar 05 2009
  

       This is a good idea however the aluminum shingles must be fastened Inside Up because the inside of cans is coated with some kind of polymer, this coating will help them weather longer.   

       Aluminum rusts and corrodes, have you ever walked through the woods and seen an old beer can or soda can kicking around for 5 to 10 years. Gets holes in it, it pits and erodes. Cans are not thick enough to last too long as roofing materials.   

       Also metal roofing material is typically galvanized or coated with something. Copper is not but does corrode, it turns green and also pits and errodes over time.
vfrackis, Mar 06 2009
  

       If I were a pop can and you cut my top and bottom off to re-purpose me as roof shingle I would pit and corrode on purpose! and i would tink unfriendly thoughts about the structure that i was fastened to as frequently as possible.   

       can feelings should be considered. surprised they have not been addressed here, last thing you want is a bunch of malcontent roof tiles formerly known as cans. Don't want to create a bunch of can'ts
vfrackis, Mar 06 2009
  

       If I have occasion to build a driftwood shack, beer-can shingles are all over it. Meanwhile, back at the ranch... house gets real roofing.
afinehowdoyoudo, Mar 09 2009
  

       I have been thinking that the original idea here is too fussy. Just mash the cans flat and put them on. That way there will be more than 1 layer, to better withstand pitting and corrosion. Less elegant, perhaps.
bungston, Mar 09 2009
  

       //Aluminum rusts //
I'm guessing you're not a chemist, [vfrackis].
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 09 2009
  

       This would make a roof that you could not walk on without damaging it. Otherwise, it's nice, especially if you use cans that are labeled using peelable stickers rather than direct printing, so you can peel them off and get nice shiny silver cans, without having to pressure-cook them and then wipe them with acetone (which is apparently the procedure for removing the printed labels).
notexactly, Apr 20 2019
  
      
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