Crazy question about tires.

Pooh BearApril 5, 2006

How hard would it be to cut the sidewalls off of a tire.

So that only the cap is left (or whatever it is called).

Then how hard would it be to cut the cap into 18 inch sections.

You could then take these 18 inch long sections of tire cap,

and use then as roofing material for sheds and barns and such.

They would be installed in the same manner as cedar shakes roofing.

The roof would probably never need to be replaced.

This idea came to me one day as I was driving down an interstate highway

and I noticed a lot of tire caps from 18 wheelers on the side of the road.

Wouldn't it be great if they could be recycled.

And wouldn't it be great to have a roof that never needed replacing.

So how hard is it to cut up a tire.

What kind of machine would need to be designed to do this.

Pooh Bear

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The road kills would be of widely variable thicknesses and sizes. Also quite often they are in relatively small pieces. Seldom does the whole cap peel. Most highway tires anymore are steel belted and would be real tough to cut up - a tire recycler could show you what's involved. And don't forget the tires are curved so the pieces as you envision them may not lie flat.

I'm not sure about this but there might be environmental polution with rain runoff. An outfit near me had rip rapped a creek bank with tires and I believe may have had to replace them for just that reason.

I tried to make a pair of sandels from a non radial nylon cord tire oncet. Just once. Couldn't do it but at that time there was place in Wartrace TN that did make em so it was possible. I didn't ask how either. If you're a Yankee in rural TN yew lerna kee yer mou sha.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 12:11AM
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Tires are really tough and not easy to work with. If you have steel belts, there are tough, very tough. To cut across a tire, I'd try a high speed abrasive cut-off wheel, or carbide tools. Don't attempt to cut through the beads. It simply won't be worth the effort. You won't get far with a hacksaw blade before it is dulled.

I have a front door mat outside my front door. It was made from strips sliced from tire treads, and has lasted 30 years (still going). These were manufactured by the blind and sold door to door.

This mat was made by cutting the tread in narrow strips, drilling holes, then laying the strips on edge and assembling on rods with spacers. I note that there wasn't any steel showing in the tread.

One method for reducing old tires is to peel off the tread down to the steel belt, freeze the tread considerably below zero, then toss these pieces in a pulverizer. It simply breaks up when super cold.

I can think of other things for roofing material that is easier to work with. How about old aluminum license plates. But wait, these pieces are not big enough for roof shingles. We could use bigger pieces of aluminun. I'll bet if we looked around, we could find a farm aupply store selling corrogated aluminum sheets in 8ft lengths and these work just dandy for roofing (a little noisy when it sleets or hails). If you use the right nails, aluminum lasts a long time.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 3:38AM
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I helped my BIL cut up some tires NOT FUN, we tried using a sawzall, nope. ended up using small bolt cutters that worked pretty well.

my house is over 105 years old, the roof was covered with aluminum about 50 or so years ago, no leaks yet, and I never had any noise issues so farr.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 2:45PM
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On HGTV's "I Want That", they featured a company that makes rubber roofing shingles from recycled tires. They are made to look like old fashioned cedar shingles. They are supposed to last about thirty years, and cost about the same as premium roofing. (However much that is) I was telling a co-worker about it, and she said she would be worried about the rubber becoming dried, brittle, and turning up from the heat of the sun. I'm very curious about this product.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 3:29PM
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Pooh Bear

When I was a kid I needed a brake pad for a go cart I had.
I thought a piece of tire would be just the thing.
Took a jigsaw and cut thru the bead and sidewalls.
The cap was tough. broke the blade almost immediately.
Switched to a hacksaw. Took a long time but I cut out a piece.

So I know this can't be done by hand.

But there are machines that shred tires.
So surely something could be created to make controlled cuts in tires.
I'm thinking mount the tire in a machine to rotate it.
As it rotates cut the sidewalls off. What is left is the cap.
Then another machine to make crosscuts on the cap.
Maybe a sheering type machine for this operation.
There are machines that will sheer steel plate. Why not tires.

I have always wondered:
I have seen news segments about tires being ground up into small pellets.
And this material is used to cover playground surfaces.
It is supposed to be superior to sand or mulch.
When they grind up the tires, how do they remove the metal.

There is a cement manufacturing plant near here.
They burn ground up tires to generate heat for the manufacturing process.
They had to construct huge filtering systems to controll air pollution.
But the cost was more than offset by the energy savings.
Especially now with gas prices being so high.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 6:15AM
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Excellent idea which I am also looking into. If you did match all the tire patterns from the same make of tire the effect could be interesting. Although weight becomes a problem per sq foot. A roof is designed for x number of lbs per sq foot + snow load etc. You would have to build a test section of a couple of square ft and measure weight + nails + roofing felt + strapping etc then call your city inspector and tell them your roof and truss type, spans unsupported, supporting structure and size of beams. Then see if you can install the tire strips as shakes.

I would approach a couple of tire centres and look at using automobile tires, thinner and pick a type that is very popular in your area for consistency.

Cheers Doug

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 10:24PM
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Pooh Bear

Since there is no metal in the tread,
you could just plane it off and make the material for playgrounds.
That material is so popular but is in short supply so it costs a lot.
After grinding the tread off, all pieces would match in appearance and thickness.

I don't live in a heavy snow region.
Haven't seen enough snow to cover the grass in years.
So I don't think weight would be a problem.

I'm thinking more of commercial and agriculture buildings for this.
Would be perfect for barns and sheds and doghouses.

The problems remains, how to cut them up.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 10:00PM
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Use a laser to very quickly cut the rubber ??
Its all economics, the value of the finished product must exceed the cost of manufacture.
And with either freezing or using a laser, the cost will be high.
The labor intensive method is to pay the worker very little, but this can only be successful in the short term..

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 1:17PM
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I'm involved in a low cost playground project for a school in South America. Best idea we found for cutting across the steel tread is a video demonstration from that shows them cutting through steel belts with a cut off machete and a block of wood. Not difficult at all for a couple of young guys. Of course there are $1000+ setups that may do better and faster. I don't recommend a cut off wheel unless you want to smoke up the whole neighborhood. For sidewalls a sharp knife does just fine. See

Here is a link that might be useful: How to cut tires, CAVEMAN style!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 8:25PM
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