Quirks & Quarks

Keeping the rain off with a cardboard roof

Specially treated cardboard-based tiles can provide robust roofing for small dwellings

Specially treated cardboard-based tiles can provide robust roofing for small dwellings

Cardboard-based roof tiles installed on house in India (Susan Amrose/Hasit Ganatra)
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Cardboard might not strike you as the most practical material for roofing, especially in a country that sees monsoon rains, like India. But a team that includes Canadian chemist Dr Heather Buckley, the Associate Director of International Partnerships at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, at the University of California, Berkeley, may have found a way to make it work.

Dr. Buckley, working with entrepreneurs in India, has found a simple additive that can be added to cardboard-like panels made from a pulped cardboard mixture, that makes them sufficiently water-resistant that they can be used in roofing tiles for simple dwellings.

The tiles are robust, durable, and superior to the corrugated steel sheeting or asbestos-concrete panels that are most often used in many parts of India now.

Related Links

Paper in the Journal of Renewable Materials
Article on the original ModRoof product.
- Modroof website
- General article on green chemistry from Dr. Buckley