What’s new?” That phrase, or something like it, might be the most commonly overheard question at a trade show booth. New products are always the center of attention, and the Roofing Contractoreditors make it a priority to seek out new and improved offerings. After some of the big trade shows in the first quarter of the year, we put our heads together to single out some of the industry’s most recent innovations for our Editor’s Choice feature.

We hope it wasn’t our collective imagination, but we sensed a genuine optimism about the outlook for the roofing market and the overall economy in the first quarter of 2013 — and that impression was bolstered by some noteworthy product launches. Here are some of the more interesting and innovative new products that grabbed our attention online, in print, and at key national and regional industry trade shows over the past year. The following products received Roofing Contractor’s annual Editor’s Choice awards for 2013.


Shingle Minded

The International Roofing Expo (IRE) in San Antonio was the site of several new product announcements in the laminate shingle category. TAMKO Building Products unveiled its Heritage® IR — an impact resistant shingle expanding its Heritage series of laminated asphalt shingles. According to the company, reinforced construction enables the Heritage IR shingles to meet the UL 2218 Class 4 impact resistance rating. The UL 2218 Class 4 impact resistance test involves dropping a 2-inch steel ball onto a shingle from a height of 20 feet. Heritage IR shingles feature a fiberglass mat and a non-woven polyester fabric reinforcement, with additional strength achieved by a fine pattern of thermally bonded polyester fibers throughout the fabric. Homeowners may qualify for a reduction in homeowner insurance in some states by installing IR shingles.

GAF launched a Class 4 impact-resistant shingle — Grand Sequoia® IR — as well as a diamond-shaped Lifetime Designer Shingle named Sienna. According to the company, its unique-looking shape was designed to provide a distinctive, dimensional look and evoke artisan-crafted shapes at a fraction of the cost of traditional slate or wood shakes. Siennais available in four custom colors and offers a Class A fire rating.

Owens Corning expanded its Oakridge® product line with a collection of new Artisan Colors. According to the company, the shades were chosen to help meet growing homeowner demand for more vibrant roof colors with bold color combinations that add contrast and depth for a dramatic view from the street. The Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt team gathered research on homeowner preferences and took direction from leading color experts and historical color trend data. The popular Oakridge traditional colors remain in the line, with five new colors added in each region, allowing contractors to present a wealth of aesthetic options.

Cool Angle LLC unveiled its patented asphalt roofing technology designed to make steep-slope roofs more energy efficient while maintaining their aesthetic beauty. Cool Angle’s directionally reflective shingles show the homeowners’ color preferences when viewed from the ground, but appear white in the direction facing the sun. This allows homeowners that are concerned about energy savings but don’t like the aesthetics of light-colored, energy-efficient shingles to have their cake and eat it, too. According to the company, this technology is expected to save about 25 percent of typical cooling costs and increase the life of the shingles by at least 10 percent. The product earned a third-place award in the Best New Product category at the 2013 IRE.


Commercial Breakthroughs

Reflective surfaces are a key focus in the commercial arena, too. Polyglass U.S.A., Inc., launched its Polyreflect® modified bitumen membrane at the IRE. This self-adhered, white, reflective cap sheet features a specialized surface which consists of a tri-laminate film resulting in a highly reflective, smooth surface. Polyreflect’s Energy Star® approved film surface is listed with the Cool Roof Rating Council with a Solar Reflectivity of 85 and total SRI of 105. According to the company, the membrane achieves a Class A fire rating for up to a 3-inch slope and demonstrates exceptional UV resistance and durability. It is manufactured with an environmentally friendly, solvent-free surface, meeting EPA standards.

When it comes to cover boards, DensDeck has more than 25 years of proven performance in commercial roofing. Its manufacturer, Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, introduced new features this year in its Enhanced DensDeck® Prime roof board.

Enhancements to the front and back facings are designed to provide better performance with all types of roofing adhesives, including traditional solvent-based adhesives, low-rise foam and low-VOC formulations. According to the company, the facer mat allows adhesives to be applied more evenly, resulting in a better bond with the membrane, while the stronger back mat provides a stronger bond with the insulation. The new mats also make the boards easier to cut and handle. The face overlaps onto the backside of the board, providing a cleaner joint and a smoother overall appearance when the membrane is laid over the cover board. The company cited single-ply membrane test results showing enhanced DensDeck Prime demonstrated an average of 24 percent better bond strength than the original product when adhered with solvent-based adhesives.

USG introduced SECUROCK® Cement Roof Board, a durable, sustainable and high-performance roof board designed for use in low-slope roofing systems. It can be used as a cover board and as a parapet, fire or thermal barrier roof board. According to the company, SECUROCK Cement Roof Board is the lightest cement board in the industry, and it is easy to score and snap either on the ground or on a pallet. Due to its cement base, the product provides superior compressive strength, water durability and mold resistance. As a cover board, it can be used with a variety of membranes and systems including fully adhered and mechanically attached systems, but is ideal for applications such as liquid-applied membranes and cold mastic modified bitumen.

Testing shows that the roof edge is the most vulnerable spot on the roof, and it’s no place to cut corners. Mule-Hide Products unveiled a new line of edge metal and accessories for single-ply roofing systems designed to make customized finishing touches on TPO, EPDM and PVC roofs fast and easy.

The product line includes a complete assortment of metal edge detail products, drainage systems, scuppers, collector boxes, pitch pans and roof accessories. Products are available in a wide array of colors, finishes and metal options. In addition to a wide selection of standard sizes, custom-fabricated products are available. According to the company, all products are designed for easy, efficient installation, increasing productivity and eliminating the need for on-site metal fabrication. They are delivered directly to the jobsite in specially designed protective packaging. Contractor-friendly features include pre-punched holes and pre-notched groves and lap joints. The products are compliant with ANSI/SPRI ES-1 and approved for coverage under the company’s warranties.


Safety Products

Safety should always be the highest priority on any jobsite, and OSHA’s recent changes in fall protection enforcement have increased the focus on the residential roofing market. Last year saw the introduction of several guardrail systems that earned the Editor’s Choice designation last year. Guardrail systems were also getting a lot of attention this year, and Roofing Contractorsafety columnist Chip Macdonald will be testing several of them for a feature on guardrails later in the year.

This year, one lightweight, low-cost fall arrest component caught our eye: The HitchClip®. It’s a low-profile anchoring unit designed to give the contractor multiple anchoring options during placement. According to the company, it can be used almost anywhere on the roof as long as there is a sufficient framing member to attach it to. It is compact (2 inches by 11 inches) and lightweight (4.4 ounces), so crew members can easily transport several clips on a work belt. It can be installed directly while still on the ladder, eliminating the need to first access the ridge to install an anchoring device. This will help eliminate falls during transitions from ladder to roof.

Theproduct is installed using four exterior screws, which affix it to the top chord or rafter. This can be done during the roof inspection, initial staging, and while work is being performed. The system is designed to allow workers to install their own personal fall arrest system and easily change between devices as needed for a particular task. Multiple anchor points allow workers to anchor to their own unit and can help eliminate hazardous crossing of lines.

 High-profile flood events including Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy have brought increased attention to attic spaces, which often have no point of egress. For those in flood-prone areas, the High Tide Escape Hatch (HTEH) might bring them some peace of mind. A residential emergency attic egress solution for rising water or other emergency situations, the HTH is mounted between standard rafters, where it becomes part of the decking. It is concealed from outward view as underlayment and shingles are installed directly into the HTEH. If it ever has to be used, turning the handle and opening the door inside the attic pulls in the shingles and allows the person to exit onto the roof. According to the company, it is easy to install, simple to deploy and maintenance free. It’s a safety feature that could add value to a roofing package in flood-prone areas.