Best Roofing Options for a Rainwater Collection System

If you’re worried about the safety of your water supply, you may wonder whether supplementing your home’s public water system with purified or distilled rainwater can be a good way to ensure you always have a backup source of fresh water.

A close up of water splashing on the groundWhile installing a rainwater collection system can provide you with a great deal of water, the purity of your final product will largely depend upon the roofing material with which it will be in contact before being funneled to your filtration system. Read on to learn more about some of the best roofing types to have when it comes to installing a rainwater collection system, as well as what you’ll need to get started.

What Roofing Types Are Most Conducive to a Rainwater Collection System?

Unless you have lead or asbestos shingles or parts of your roof are in disrepair, your roof is likely a workable option for a rainwater collection system—regardless of whether it’s composed of rubber, asphalt shingles, cedar shake shingles, or sheets of aluminum or steel. However, if you’re already considering a new roof, it can make sense to focus on one of the few types of roofing material that pass along the lowest levels of contaminants to rainwater that flows over it.

Galvanized metal roofs, like aluminum or steel, tend to minimize the amount of contaminants that wind up in your final product. However, a metal roof that isn’t properly maintained or is only washed once every few years may have years of built-up particles from auto exhaust, fertilizer, and other airborne pollutants that can settle onto hard surfaces.

New asphalt shingles can also be a good option when it comes to rainwater collection—because the surface of these shingles is uneven, it can be more difficult for them to become coated in soot or dirt particles like flatter roofing surfaces. Any stray pieces of asphalt that wind up in your rainwater should be easily spotted and filtered out. Keep an eye out for wear and tear on these shingles, as the quality of water you’ll be able to retrieve can take a dive once your roof begins to show its age.

What Will You Need in Order to Install a Rainwater Collection System?

Rainwater collection can be as simple or complex as you like—from a rain barrel at the bottom of your downspout to a dedicated set of gutters and pipes designed to funnel fresh rainwater into a filtration or distillation system. In general, regardless of the type of system you use, you’ll want to discard the first few gallons you collect after each rain to ensure that any debris, chemicals, or other contaminants on your roof have been well-rinsed before you get to your usable water.

In most cases, you’ll want to purchase some galvanized aluminum gutters and downspouts to connect to your rainwater collection barrel, as this type of metal (as long as it’s regularly cleaned) is shown to have the lowest levels of fecal coliform bacteria as compared to other roofing materials. Even if you don’t already have a galvanized metal roof, making the other components of your system metal will reduce the amount of filtration and purification you’ll need to perform on your rainwater before drinking or cooking with it.

Regardless of whether you’ll likely need a new roof before installing your rainwater collection system or would simply like to install this system on your existing roof, contacting Burke’s Roofing to survey your needs and recommend your best options can ensure you’ll make the right decision for your needs and lifestyle. We’ll help you decide what to do next for the best quality rainwater collection.