New products are always competing for the spotlight, and the Roofing Contractor editors make it a priority to check out the industry’s latest offerings. The first quarter of the year is always a popular time for product launches, and after the dust settles from the International Roofing Expo and other major trade shows in the spring, the editors compare notes and recognize some of the industry’s most promising recent innovations with our Editor’s Choice awards.

The nominees are limited to products introduced during the past year. In this article, we recognize some of the more interesting, innovative and unique offerings that grabbed our attention. Here are Roofing Contractor’s Editor’s Choice winners for 2014.

Steep-Slope Solutions

There were several noteworthy additions to the steep-slope market. Atlas Roofing introduced its Pinnacle® Pristine Pearl architectural shingle, the company’s first white laminate shingle that is 25 percent solar reflective and comes with a lifetime warranty against algae stains. White, copper-fortified granules are evenly distributed on each shingle to meet the Solar Reflective Index minimum rating of 0.25 and provide the algae protection of Scotchgard™ Protector.

Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt added to its product portfolio with its Devonshire™ Shingles, a high-performance slate-look shingle. Touted as an affordable alternative to other slate-look shingles, the product is available in four distinct colors across the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast regions of the United States.

IKO introduced a brand-new line of premium architectural laminated asphalt shingles with its Cambridge HD. The company states the product features one of the heaviest mats available, and its larger size means it takes fewer shingles and nails to install it, saving contractors time in the process.

InSpire Roofing Products, a division of The Tapco Group, introduced a composite shingle named Aledora Slate. It was designed to replicate the surface texture and appearance of quarried slate, and is available in an array of colors. The company notes that Aledora is much lighter and easier to install than natural slate, yet the product is extremely strong and impact resistant. It features a Class A fire rating, a 110-mph wind uplift rating, a Class 4 impact rating, and qualifies for a limited lifetime warranty.

MFM Building Products unveiled a self-adhering, high-temperature underlayment at the 2014 IRE: Ultra HT Wind & Water Seal™. According to the company, the underlayment is composed of a cool white, non-slip, cross-laminated, high-density polyethylene film laminated to a high-temperature adhesive system. Designed to be extremely durable, roll out flat and provide excellent waterproofing protection, Ultra HT is engineered as a whole-roof underlayment for use under asphalt shingles and metal roofing systems. The product is rated to 250 degrees Fahrenheit maximum, and it meets ASTM D 1970 and Florida Building Code FL 16562.

New Membrane Options

Carlisle SynTec Systems introduced its Sure-Flex™ KEE HP PVC Membrane, which took first place in the Best New Product category at the 2014 IRE. The “HP” in the name stands for “high performance,” which the company states is the result of the addition of a high molecular weight resin modifier named Elvaloy® KEE. Carlisle has added HP to the names of its KEE products to signify the upgrade. According to the company, Sure-Flex KEE HP membranes offer excellent chemical resistance, dimensional stability and flexibility in cold temperatures, as well as superior resistance to microbial growth and dirt pickup.

Polyglass U.S.A. Inc. used the IRE as the site to introduce Polyfresko G SA APP, its latest white roof system option. A highly reflective, self-adhered, granular-surfaced modified bitumen cap sheet, it features the company’s patent-pending CURE Technology® — a thin film that is applied during the manufacturing process to make the roof surface resistant to granule loss and discoloration. Long-term warranties are available when Polyfresko G SA membrane is part of a multi-ply roof system. The product took second place in the Best Sustainable Product category at the IRE.

Duro-Last was turning heads in the trade show aisles with new color options for its Duro-Tuff® and Duro-Fleece® membranes. New colors include Light Tan, Copper, Patina, Green, Blue, Light Gray and Charcoal. Membrane and vinyl rib accessories are also available. The company also used the IRE to announce the availability of 80-mil Duro-Tuff and 80-mil Duro-Fleece rolled goods.

Commercial Breakthroughs

National Gypsum announced the launch of DEXcell™, a family of commercial roof boards. The line includes two mold-resistant gypsum boards designed for use as a cover board and/or thermal barrier in commercial roofing applications: DEXcell Glass Mat Roof Board, designed for use with mechanically fastened roof systems, and DEXcell FA Glass Mat Roof Board, designed for use in fully adhered systems. The third product in the line is the Cement Roof Board, a lightweight moisture- and mold-resistant cement board designed for use as a cover board in all commercial roofing applications. According to the manufacturer, the cement board provides a fire barrier and a thermal barrier.

OMG Roofing Products introduced a drain that can be installed without the use of tools. According to the company, the RedLine AFR Roof Drain is designed to perform at specific GPM levels based on plumbing recommendations, and it exceeds ANSI/SPRI RD1. The patent-pending RedLine AFR Backflow Mechanical Seal can be installed by hand, speeding up installation and preventing over-tightening and under-tightening during installation.

ER Systems & Elastek’s ER OneStep coating took first place in the Best Sustainable Product category at the IRE. As the name implies, OneStep is a moisture-cured, liquid elastomeric coating designed to be applied in one coat, reducing installation time. According to the manufacturer, it is made up of 97 percent solids, provides excellent adhesion on a number of substrates and offers superior reflectivity. It also has low odor and low VOCs.

Making Life Easier on  Metal and Tile Roofs

D.I. Roof Seamers showcased its Universal Kit, a versatile seaming tool for metal roofs that comes with conversion kits to fit 1-inch, 1.5-inch and 2-inch roof panels. It can accommodate 90-degree or 180-degree seam profiles. According to the company, the tooling can be easily changed on the jobsite, and the self-propelled machine offers hands-free operation. It features a durable electric motor and is equipped with a quick-disconnect plug for added safety. It is recommended for use with 24-gauge panels only. The kit comes with a 6-month manufacturer’s limited warranty. 

Quickly and securely mounting solar racks on tile roofs can pose quite a challenge, but it’s one Quickmount PV has addressed in two different ways. The company’s Quick Hook® is designed for flat and S-shaped curved tiles that use roofing battens. It comes complete with preformed flashing and is designed for an easy, strong and waterproof installation that is also unobtrusive. The second option is the company’s QBase Universal Tile Mount, which uses the QBase foundation and two spun-aluminum cone flashings to install solar modules. The 18-by-18-inch secondary top flashing can be conformed on site to fit virtually any roof tile, flat or curved.

New Ventilation Products

GAF unveiled a ventilation solution for difficult-to-vent hip roof homes: the Cobra® Hip Vent. The injection molded vent features a dual filter to prevent weather infiltration through or under the vent. According to the company, the hip vent features a low-profile design and is easily installed with a nail gun and the included 1 ¾-inch coils. It is designed to provide effective exhaust ventilation on homes with little or no ridge line, and it is backed by GAF with up to a lifetime limited warranty when installed on the company’s Lifetime Shingle roofs.

CertainTeed announced the launch of seven new roofing ventilation products, including ridge vents, rolled ridge vents and an intake vent. The ridge vents are available in both filtered and unfiltered options. The CertainTeed Intake Vent is designed for easy installation on a shingled roof with or without overhangs, and can be used to supplement existing soffit or under-eave vents. According to the company, internal baffles, a drainage system and a filter provide three levels of weather protection. The new ventilation products qualify for a lifetime limited warranty and five-year SureStart™ Protection.

TAMKO Building Products introduced QuickVent™, a continuous ridge vent that can be installed with a pneumatic roofing nail gun. The vent is made from see-through material for easier centering over the ridge, and according to the company it requires no baffles, metal connectors, end caps or special filters, simplifying the installation process. The product comes with up to a 40-year limited warranty.

The Bilco Company showcased The Colt Group’s Coltlite natural louvered façade ventilator. This product is designed to provide buildings with ventilation as well as smoke control in the event of a fire. The façade ventilator is offered with a number of louver and control options to complement the building’s design and meet ventilation requirements.

Protecting Roof Assets

There were two noteworthy product launches in the area of moisture detection. Tramex unveiled its 2014 Dec Scanner, a non-destructive electrical impedance scanner designed for surveying moisture in roofing and waterproofing systems. According to the manufacturer, the battery powered unit operates by emitting low frequency electronic signals into the roofing system. When moisture is present, the electrical conductance increases. The greater the moisture content, the higher the reading. The scanner offers three ranges of sensitivity for varying insulation thicknesses. The company notes the system can be used in normal daylight hours and is safe and easy to use, with no regulatory restrictions or operating license required.

Leaks aren’t the only problem facing low-slope roofs. Snow and water buildup can lead to roofs collapsing before anyone is even aware of the problem. The Roof Monitor™ is an innovative system that uses wireless sensors and an Ethernet-based controller to monitor safety risks in real time. The goal is to prevent damage to buildings, as well as the disruptions to businesses and even injury or death to occupants that might result from a roof collapse. The system’s 8-inch, yellow, non-penetrating sensors are installed on the exterior surface of the roof to measure snow and water loads. The data is transmitted to a central control unit installed in the building, and a monitoring service alerts key contacts in the event of changes in the environment.

The product was the brainchild of Brad Beldon, president and CEO of Beldon Roofing Company in San Antonio. He enlisted the help of a team led by Dr. Cory Hallam of the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Innovation and Dr. Arturo Ayon, UTSA associate professor and dean of physics and astronomy. Together, the team developed the Roof Monitor system, which was officially introduced in March of 2014.

New Technology, Oranges and Grapes

At this year’s roofing industry trade shows, new developments in technology and aerial measurements shared the spotlight with products derived from oranges and grapes.

EagleView Technologies showcased two new offerings at the IRE: its GutterReport and QuickSquares™ Report. The GutterReport is a measurement report designed specifically to help contractors with the sales, marketing and installation of gutter systems. According to the company, the GutterReport will ensure accurate estimates and provide a professional presentation vehicle for customers. QuickSquares is a report designed to provide roofing contractors with the total squares and predominant pitch so they can quickly prepare an estimate for a residential roofing project. According to the company, the QuickSquares report is delivered on average in about one hour.

Freedom Supply showcased a tar, asphalt and adhesive remover designed specifically with roofers and pavers in mind. Roofer’s and Paver’s Edge is made from oranges and is formulated to remove tar, asphalt, tack oil, oil, grease, adhesives and mastic. The company states the product is biodegradable and safe to use on most painted surfaces, as well as masonry. It is available in aerosol cans and one-gallon containers, as well as 35-gallon and 55-gallon drums. The product took the third-place award in the Best Sustainable Product category at the IRE.

Last but certainly not least in the area of interesting new product launches was a wine from Hailstone Vineyards named Impact Cabernet Sauvignon. One look at the bottle, complete with graphics showing a hailstone appearing to shatter the glass, and you might suspect it was a roofer who founded the company. Chris Zazo, CEO of Aspenmark Roofing and Solar in Dallas, had always been fascinated by the wine business, and he teamed up with second-generation wine maker Garret Ahnfeldt of Napa, Calif., to create Hailstone. Zazo saw the potential of the brand and felt the wine would make a great gift for roofing contractors to express their appreciation for their customers. But he didn’t just want a gimmicky label; he wanted a top-quality Napa wine as well. In the future Zazo plans to add a Chardonnay named Restoration, as well as a Bloody Mary mix named What the Hail. You can look for those products along with other new developments in next year’s Editor’s Choice selections.