The editors of Roofing Contractor see a lot of new products, so once a year after some of the big trade shows we put our heads together to
single out some of the industry’s most recent innovations.
Maybe they fill a pressing need. Maybe they make contractors’ lives easier and safer — and that includes impressing and satisfying their customers.
Here are some of the more interesting and innovative new products our editors came across in cyberspace and at industry trade shows, including the International Roofing Expo (IRE), METALCON and the International Builders Show (IBS). We put the spotlight on them here with Roofing Contractor’s annual Editor’s Choice awards.
Safety has been in the news a lot lately, and OSHA’s changes in residential fall protection directives have put safety under the microscope. The industry has responded with several innovative products, including passive fall restraint systems for residential roofing.
A few that stood out included the RoofZone Steep Slope Guardrail by Tie Down Engineering. The guardrail may also be used on rake or open roof edge and features adjustable rail brackets for easy and fast attachment of mid and upper rails. It has a unique one-piece design featuring a convenient handle for transporting with extra wing nuts and bolts.
The HUGS (Horizontal Under-eave Guard System) from HUGSafety is a passive, truss-mounted rooftop fall protection system. It is designed to be easily installed, removed and re-used and accommodates most wood or metal trusses. It is attached to roof truss and the rafter rails under the eave of the roof through the use of removable or throw-away brackets. The guardrail system has two-by-fours that are used to fill in as toe board, and two horizontal safety rails. Acro Building Systems developed a guardrail system that meets all of the OSHA requirements for residential fall protection and interleaves with shingles just like a roof bracket. According to the company, the 12075 rake-edge guardrail bracket supports the OSHA-required 200 pounds in both the outward and downward directions. It can be used in conjunction with two-by-fours and the 12070 steep-pitch guardrail bracket to form a complete full residential guardrail system. It allows guardrails to be put up early in the new construction process or even prior to shingle removal on a tear off; and easily moved without having to take the system down.
In the area of personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), one that definitely caught our eye is the Ultra-Vis Deluxe Harness from Super Anchor Safety. According to the company, the harness The Ultra-Vis complies with ANSI z359.1, CSA Z259.11.05 for fall protection and ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 and CSA Z96-02 for Class 1 High Visibility. It also doubles as a tool belt, allowing the weight of the tools to be spread over the mechanic’s shoulders and waist.
Some products not only make the jobs safer but more efficient as well. Metal Plus, LLC’s bracket designed specifically for standing seam metal roofs won first place in the Best New Product category at METALCON and IRE, and it’s easy to see why. Designed to enable metal roofers and solar providers to install their systems safely and efficiently, the Ultimate Bracket was designed by Mario Lallier, contractor with 30 years of experience installing metal roofs. He developed the product because he couldn’t find anything else that worked effectively without slowing him down. The Ultimate Bracket adjusts to accommodate slopes from 3:12 to 24:12 and works with two-by-eight and two-by-ten wooden planks. Rubber pads on its base prevent roof damage. It can be quickly and easily installed and removed, but it’s solidly constructed and locks into place securely. Here’s hoping that we never see another mechanic using a pair of vice grips to get around on a metal roof.
The MAXFLO Vent from Ridge Tech Innovations is an easy-to-clean soffit vent. It’s designed to work on the same concept as changing a furnace filter or the lint trap in a clothes dryer. The internal filter simply slides out for cleaning, keeping soffits free of debris and ensuring adequate intake ventilation. With the lack of adequate soffit ventilation a nagging problem in many parts of the country when it comes to re-roofing, this could become an excellent “add-on” product for the residential roofing contractor.
When it comes to re-roofing, sometimes exhaust ventilation options can be limited as well. Roof louvers usually aren’t very interesting, but there are some new ones that caught our eye. In some cases a large roof louver can be the optimal route, and the largest we’ve seen is the new SLP150 from Air Vent Inc., which provides 150 square inches of net free area. This means fewer units are required on the roof. Made of high-impact polypropylene material, the SLP150 features a slant-back design for a more desirable look and includes an integrated pest guard to keep small animals and insects out of the attic. It comes in four colors (black, brown, gray and weatherwood).
Duraflo offers a new vent with a patented baffle system specially designed for steep pitches. The company’s WeatherPro SlantBack is made of UV resistant polypropylene can be used on roofs with pitches from 2:12 to 14:12. It provides 50 square inches of net free area.
MaxiFlo’s MAXI-Pro is a new commercial flat roof ventilator offered in a highly reflective white color to save energy and complement highly reflective systems. The company states its patented, triangular design increases the chimney effect as well as providing aesthetic appeal. Made of impact-resistant polypropylene, it is designed to be easy to install on all flat roofs.
MetalForming, Inc. continues to wow contractors with advances in roll-forming machinery and techniques. At the IRE, Geoff Stone was showcasing a remote interface called TrimSpec that utilizes a tablet PC to enter as-built dimensions for metal parts at the jobsite which may then be transmitted wirelessly or via flash stick directly to the metal fabricating machines in the shop. Using the wireless interface, personnel at the jobsite can send in orders from the job that can be made ready to go instantly in a safe and secure environment. TrimSpec is the first system to let users draw, dimension, and order trim products from the field, helping contractors increase productivity, eliminate error and save on travel costs. It can automatically place your order to a Schechtl IFold or you can e-mail the order for scheduling.
Firestone Building Products Company recently announced the availability of a new iPad app that gives contractors, building owners, facility managers, and others a new way to explore the products and systems that the company offers. The Firestone BP iPad app is available for free online from the App Store, and it provides details about everything from ground and storm water management solutions, to complete wall panel and commercial roofing system applications. The Firestone BP iPad app offers multiple views from different angles and in a variety of real world settings with high definition graphics and videos. It’s an impressive and easy-to-use setup that could become standard operating procedure in the not-too-distant future.
The Home Front
It’s not a brand-new development, but algae-resistant shingles featuring the Scotchgard™ Protector by 3M have been getting a lot of attention in the past few months. Atlas, Malarkey, and PABCO offer the 3M algae-resistant technology, which promises to end streaking over the life of the shingle. Atlas used the IRE for the national roll-out of its Pristine Architectural Shingle featuring the Scotchgard Protector by 3M, and the company was the first to offer a lifetime limited warranty against algae growth. With algae discoloration a problem in much of the country, this is an issue that could open up a lot of discussions with homeowners in the years ahead.
Architectural shingles continue to evolve and explore an ever-increasing range of profiles. Two new offerings from GAF capture the dramatic look of European-style wood shingle and tile roofs. The company’s Woodland™ Lifetime Designer Shingles are designed to resemble hand-cut European shingles, while the Monaco™ is touted as the industry’s first true tile-look asphalt shingle. The tile look-alike is deceptive when you look at it on a sample board, but on the roof it takes on the look of old-world terra-cotta tile. IKO recently launched its Royal Estate limited lifetime architectural shingles, which evokes the look of natural slate.
Owens Corning’s SureNail Technology features a tough, woven engineered reinforcing fabric in the nailing area. It’s designed to promote easy, fast and consistent nail gun fastening by serving as a target, but it improves the holding power and durability of the shingle as well. The company’s TruDefinition® Duration® Series shingles also feature wide adhesive bands that help keep the shingle layers laminated together. According to the company, the result is exceptional wind resistance resulting in a 130 mph wind warranty using only four nails.
Hand tools can get the blood pumping at a trade show, and some new cutting tools were garnering a lot of attention at the IRE. The Saiz Tool Company’s pneumatic-powered, hand-held shingle cutting tool quickly cuts all asphalt composition shingles, including the thick multi-layered shingles that are growing in popularity. It can also be used to cut many other related roofing materials. The cutting tool has a quick blade release to easily change the newly designed hook and straight blades.
P & P Power unveiled a versatile electric metal roofing cutter it named VING. The name is derived from an acronym for “versatile, innovative non-galling cutter,” and the company s likens it to a “can opener on steroids.” According to the company, it cuts more easily than shears or nibblers and without the noise or heat of saw blades.