New Year’s celebrations are always closely followed by the tradeshow season in the construction and roofing industry. It is that time of year when the vagaries of winter weather slow or stop most of the productive work in our business so contractors can devote some attention to new products and trends. Most manufacturers of building and roofing products and equipment take this opportunity to announce and show their new offerings during the winter tradeshows.
The editors of Roofing Contractor have attended a number of these shows, including the International Roofing Expo (IRE) and the International Builders Show (IBS) to learn about new products, systems, and initiatives that will define the season to come.
Here is our report on the ones that grabbed our attention. We think some of these will be worthy of yours as well.
Moving Forward for the EnvironmentGreen, environmentally friendly and sustainability - the theme has been played out in the industry for several years now and was even more visible during this year’s tradeshow season as new players entered the mix. Not only did we see new players but also many of the industry’s stalwarts who proudly announced new garden roofing systems while touting the green and sustainable aspects of existing systems.
The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) (www.nrca.net) holds its annual convention in connection with the IRE each year. The NRCA recently announced the formation of a new organization, the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing (CEIR) (www.roofingcenter.org), a separate organization to promote the development and use of environmentally responsible, high-performance roof systems. During this, the 121st convention, NRCA announced that Firestone Building Products had made a financial commitment of $1 million to the CEIR.
Craig Silvertooth, the Executive Director of the CEIR, said the organization would be an advocate for the industry regarding legislation, regulation, and the development of science-based standards. “Our goal is to advance the knowledge base and encourage the development and adaptation of environmentally friendly, high-performance roof systems,” said Silvertooth.
There were a number of new products designed to capture energy from the sun. While still a challenge from the strict ROI perspective, government incentives and a very receptive public continue to drive interest in having the roof double as a wind/weather barrier and a platform for solar collection systems. Of the many manufacturers and distributors of new solar products, three in particular captured our collective imaginations: LUMA Resources, Firestone Building Products, and Open Energy Corporation.
Garnering a lot of attention at the IRE were the folks at Luma Resources (www.lumaresources.com), a newly formed sister company of Allen Brothers Inc., a multifaceted roofing contractor located in Rochester Hills, Mich. Their residential solar kit won the “Best New Product Award” at the IRE’s New Product Pavilion. Frustrated with the lack of solar systems compatible with residential roofs, Gary Allen tapped into his years of experience designing and installing metal roofs to invent his own solution: a system of interlocking horizontal panels covered with photovoltaic film sold in kit form. The kit can be applied to any roof system, and fits to/flashes with any residential roofing shingle. The standard LUMA Resources solar kit is about 400 square feet, fully U.L. tested and guaranteed not to leak. Custom solar kit sizes are also available.
The partnership between Firestone (www.firestonebpco.com) and SunPower (www.sunpowercorp.com) has resulted in a new solar electric power roofing system offering using SunPower’s high-efficiency solar power systems in conjunction with Firestone ISO 95+™ polyiso insulation and a solid roofing substrate. SunPower’s solar power systems maximize solar-energy output, while Firestone ISO 95+ offers high-energy efficiency that helps conserve fuel while heating and cooling the building. SunPower solar power systems offered by Firestone are durable, lightweight and do not require roof membrane penetration. SunPower systems are also uniquely flexible to adapt to virtually any flat rooftop.
Open Energy Corporation (www.openenergycorp.com) has put a new spin on their Solar Save Roofing Tile product by introducing it in three colors: Slate Gray, Earth Brown, and (coming soon) Terra Cotta. Solar collectors are black to blue-black in order to post the best numbers in terms of power generated. The problem with that is even with solar panels designed for installation on battens with the rest of a concrete tile roofing system, they stick out like a sore thumb. According to representatives we spoke with, there is not really much of a loss in efficiency with the different colors.
While these new solar panels are not a dead-perfect match for the many colors of tiles they are meant to match up with, we think this is a move in the right direction. Adding color options to the solar panels may prove to be the selling feature that may put many homeowners over the edge when faced with the choice to build or reroof “with or without” the solar system option.
MonierLifeTile (www.monierlifetile.com) has announced a new system for application of their popular concrete tile roofing products that leverages the air between the roof tile and the roof deck to come up with a more energy-efficient installation. Called the MonierLifeTile EER System, it consists of a combination of several patented products designed to increase cross-ventilation. Elevated battens raise the batten off the roof deck to permit airflow up the slope of the roof combined with a vented eaves riser and venting hip and ridge products to produce an enhanced ventilation system. Touting a study administered by The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (www.ornl.gov) and funded by the California Energy Commission (www.energy.ca.gov), MonierLifeTile says that regardless of the color of the roof, the air space created is an effective barrier against heat gain.
New Roofing Materials and AccessoriesNew and improved products were everywhere you turned around at the winter trade shows. While it may not take the roofing industry by storm, I know many roof maintenance mechanics will appreciate the new Geocel Minute Patch Kit (www.geocelusa.com). Often the initial leak inspection reveals a rather small problem that can be repaired with a very small amount of material. The Geocel Minute Patch Kit provides enough material to repair a small hole or split along with a disposable application tool. The mechanic can fit the kit in his pocket and often complete the repair without having to retreat to the truck for more tools or materials. Geocel is suitable for patching a wide variety of roofing membranes and flashing types.
Always inventive, the folks at Chem Link (www.chemlinkinc.com) have cooked up a creative solution to flashing the smaller (up to 1-inch) penetrations with their new Mini Curb. This is like their popular ChemCurb, but much smaller and using much less adhesive and pourable sealant to fill. The flanged bottom allows for external flashing with the appropriate membrane.
Roofmaster Products Company (www.roofmaster.com) introduced the Commdeck Dish Mounting System for properly attaching and flashing a satellite dish onto an asphalt shingle or tile roofing system. Typical installations are made by non-roofers who frequently employ poor flashing details resulting in leaks and damage to the roof deck system. The Commdeck Dish Mounting System comes in three colors and provides a clean appearance with not exterior wiring.
GAF-Elk (www.gaf.com) put the spotlight on its Deck Armor™ breathable underlayment at the IRE, touting its increased durability as well as it’s ability to prevent wind-driven rain or other water from infiltrating under the shingles and allow moisture from inside the attic to escape, which can help prevent structural mold, mildew and decay.
Energy savings and environmental concerns were clearly a driving forces behind several of the new products we saw at the winter trade shows. OMG Inc. unveiled a new environmentally friendly insulation adhesive: OlyBond500Green (www.olybond500green.com), which provides the same user-friendly packaging as OlyBond500 and OlyBond500 SpotShot, but uses rapidly renewable resources to replace petroleum based ingredients in its composition.
New from Polyglass USA Inc. (www.polyglass.com) was PolyFresKo, a modified bitumen product used for low or steep slope applications. PolyFresKo uses fine, extra white mineral granules that encompass a Title 24 compliant coating. The coating is treated onto the granule itself and therefore locks the properties of the coating into the granule. The granules are further unique by incorporating an acid resistant and waterproofing capability that will cause the rain water to shed from the roof and protect the surface.
The Garland Company Inc. (www.garlandco.com) recently expanded its environmentally responsible Green-Lock™ product family with two new products: Green-Lock Membrane Adhesive and Green-Lock Flashing Adhesive. The Green-Lock product family encompasses a variety of adhesive solutions that are VOC-free and odor-free. Unlike solvent-based products, these Green-Lock adhesives are moisture cured. They provide a strong bond in one to five days, adhering securely to both the wall/flashing and the underlying roof system.
Johns Manville (www.jm.com) has rolled out a product for steep-slope applications; the first we have seen from them in some time. JM’s DuraBase is an asphalt-synthetic underlayment that combines the look and feel of conventional roofing felt with the benefits of the performance of synthetic materials. This underlayment is said to unroll and lay flat in warm and cold climates; provides excellent slip resistance; has superior puncture resistance and can stand up to long-term exposure without sacrificing performance.
Marketing InitiativesOne way to get more for your dollar during tough economic times is through strategic alliances with another company, and that’s what we found when Englert Inc. (www.englertinc.com) and SOPREMA Inc. (USA) (www.soprema.us) shook hands at the IRE show in February. The two companies announced they’ve joined forces in a strategic alliance to cross sell each other’s product lines and to offer a single-source warranty that will cover all roofing systems sold and distributed by both companies.
Englert is an innovator of onsite roofing and gutter systems, while SOPREMA is one of the world’s largest producers of roofing and waterproofing products, including SBS modified and liquid roof membranes. The two companies agreed to jointly market and promote their respective product lines, particularly to contractors, architects and building owners who are incorporating metal and membrane as the roofing systems for a single project. The alliance is supported by a single-source weather tightness warranty backed by both companies that will protect both metal and membrane systems up to 20 years.
We also noted a number of a new style of broker who will cooperate with insurance companies to deal with storm-damaged homes. Most operate by establishing a relationship with roofing contractors well in advance of the storm hitting. When disaster strikes, the contractor is pre-qualified to bid on retrofit roofing work. This type of alliance may serve to save the insurance companies some money while speeding the claims process. It should also save the contractor time and assist the homeowners with locating a quality contractor.
CertainTeed Roofing (www.certainteed.com) is the first in the industry to introduce a unique shingle sample board that uses high-definition graphics in lieu of actual shingles. These sample boards are lighter in weight (a 11/2 pounds) and are guaranteed not to leave granules on the kitchen table during and after a presentation. CertainTeed credentialed contractors will even be able to order the boards customized to promote their own business and their CertainTeed credentials. The graphics are so realistic you are tempted to touch them. The swatch boards, as they are called, are made of 100 percent recyclable materials.
Carlisle, known primarily for its commercial EPDM roofing systems, has announced the formation of a new division: Carlisle Residential (www.carlisleresidential.com). Carlisle’s growing group of residential products will be marketed by way of the new division. These products include their EcoStar brand of composite shake, slate, and shingles; the WIP series of Water and Ice Protection underlayment membranes; the EZ Roof system, a self-adhered system for low-slope residential projects; the EZ Flash self-adhering flashing for window/door openings, sheathing joints, and for use with the EZ Roof system. Other residential products are on the drawing boards and will be introduced by the new Carlisle Residential division.
On the commercial side, Carlisle SynTec (www.carlisle-syntec.com) recently introduced DryLight - a skylight with fully encapsulated glazing that is designed to provide both enhanced energy savings and comes with a total-system warranty that will cover any incident of leakage in the skylight, the curb and the installation for up to 20 years.
We thought it interesting that TAMKO Building Products (www.tamko.com) prominently featured their decking and railing products along with their roofing products at the IBS. Certainly not the only roofing manufacturer to offer other building products, TAMKO began with and is predominantly a roofing manufacturer. Many TAMKO roofing applicators have grown their businesses by branching out as well.
New Roofing Tools, Equipment and GadgetsPeople watching the video of the RipCart (www.ripcart.com) in action at the WorkSavy booth at IRE were smacking their foreheads like the folks in a V-8 commercial. The RipCart is a wheeled platform for a circular saw that allows roofers to cut ridge vent openings and pieces of rotten decking while standing up and walking behind the saw. It can also be used to cut old shingles into neat sections to aid in tear-offs. It was invented by roofer Ken Collister, who came up with the idea when he got tired of crawling along beside his circular saw. He developed the product in conjunction with his partner, Brenden Jones.
American Master Gutters Inc. (www.copper-gutters.com/amg) is the U.S. agent for the German-made Freund line of hand tools. While the Freund line consists a wide variety of sheet metal tools, the one that captured our imagination is a new clay and concrete tile nibbler. We have seen any number of hand-held nibblers for tile, but this one has a unique spring-loaded jaw with an open-throat configuration that really does a nice job biting (accurately) through bits and edges of tile. The mechanical advantage gained coupled with the relatively small size of the teeth seem to be the secret here. At any rate, it sure seems to do the trick.
National Nail (www.nationalnail.com) has greatly improved on its Stinger capped stapler system with the introduction of their new CH38A Autofeed Cap Hammer. Perfect for nailing felt or house wrap (where code allows), the CH38A automatically feeds a 1-inch plastic cap just in time to have a staple driven through it “slap-hammer” style. The idea that you can quickly and easily throw down a capped staple with no power, no trigger, no cords, no air, and no other visible means of support is just so simple that it is sweet. An air-powered version (CS58 Cap Stapler) is available for higher production applications.
By far one of the most intriguing new products is so simple you want to say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Solving the age-old problem of the tough life the toes of a roofer’s shoe, Tuff Toe (www.tufftoe.com) is liquid-applied to the cover the toe of a work boot that cures to a durable yet flexible protective layer. The material forms a bond with any shoe material, new or used. A two-part material, it comes in a dual chamber-mixing cartridge that makes the application simple. Each cartridge coats one to two shoes. Tuff Toe comes in five colors to match your boots.
The Precision Placement Quik Drive® System by Simpson Strong-Tie (www.strongtie.com) is the first auto-feed screw driving system designed specifically for the standing-seam metal roofing installer. The PROPP150G2 tool drives fasteners into the pre-existing hole of a standing seam clip and in close proximity to the clip bend without interference by the tool. With one-handed driving, the time it takes to install clips is cut in half, according to Corey Clark of Simpson Strong-Tie.
In the “large equipment” category, we were very interested to learn that MetalForming (www.metalforming-usa.com) has launched a major initiative aimed at the owners of existing computerized sheet metal machinery. The first computerized folding machines have been in this country for some time now and are becoming good candidates for rehabilitation. The basic structural components of the aging machines, typical of quality sheet metal equipment, are generally still strong and in good shape. Also typical of sheet metal equipment, they are in need of the occasional tune-up and a touch by a professional. In addition to the routine maintenance, newer and more up-to-date electronic components can be added to make the old machines smarter than when they were born. With the entire buzz about environmental concerns, this is one great example of some serious recycling.