Innovation is happening across all segments of the roofing industry. From manufacturers trying to help stem the workforce shortage with product innovations, to new services and technologies designed to help roofing contractors improve accuracy and efficiency, there’s a lot for industry stakeholders to be excited about.
Just by taking a walk around the IRE 2019 show floor in Nashville, it was clear that high-tech tools are changing not only how roofers are doing their jobs, but they’re also enhancing the overall customer experience to make roofing choices less cumbersome and, frankly, painful. The editors at RC took note of the best the industry has to offer and compared our findings to showcase the new products and services that we feel could play an important role in making 2019 a successful and profitable year.
True, the following choices are subjective, but we select the nominees from the host of products released and featured in RC within the past year. The companies featured below, and many others industry-wide, debuted worthy products over the past 12 months. Assigning value to them is open to debate, and we encourage your feedback. When done, there should be little doubt we recognize some of the most interesting, innovative and progressive products on the market.
Here are our Editor’s Choice honorees for 2019.
V-Flex Safety Harness • MSA Safety Co.
The V-FLEX full body harness is a premium member of the V-Series family of fall protection. This racing style harness achieves exceptional comfort and fit for long days on the job so workers can focus on the task at hand. The patent-pending RaceFLEX connection reduces the feeling of restriction and need for harness adjustment for improved worker mobility. With additional features such as contoured, breathable shoulder padding and horizontal leg straps, this harness will keep you comfortable all day, every day.
Kee Walk with Guardrail • Kee Safety
Designed to provide a secure, anti-slip walking surface on all roof types including metal profile and standing seam roofs, Kee Walk with Guardrail accommodates steps, traverses, and sloped roofs with pitches up to 35 degrees, according to the company.
In short, it presents a clear demarcation route for personnel accessing the roof.
The corrosion-resistant walkway-railing system is also compatible with other Kee Safety fall protection products to deliver a complete rooftop safety solution, according to the company.
Kee Walk with Guardrail is available with aluminum or nylon modules that feature anti-slip treads. These are supplied in 5-foot and 10-foot pre-assembled sections that are easy to install and do not require onsite fabrication. The guardrail uses Kee Klamp fittings and can be set up as either a single or dual-sided handrail system. The durable, corrosion-resistant system also installs without penetrating the roof. With a modular design, Kee Walk with Guardrail can be customized for layouts of new buildings or retrofitted onto existing structures. The walkway and guardrails combine to enhance worker safety even in wet and windy conditions, noted Kee Safety.
Kee Safety products are designed for new-build and renovated or upgraded commercial, institutional, industrial, and municipal buildings and facilities.
KneeBlades • Milescraft
Roofing obviously is an arduous job that puts strain and stress on many parts of the body, and roofers know that knees are among them.
Milescraft has come up with an interesting solution with its KneeBlades.
KneeBlades allow for more balance, flexibility, and mobility. The three-wheeled mobile base allows for full 360-degree turning capability, without lifting from the surface. The close-to-the-ground knee roller design minimizes back stress. With the push of a button, users can go from KneeBlade to knee pad.
KneeBlades are easy to put on and take off, made of nylon for the most demanding project and weigh less than 4 pounds each.
Firestone FullForce EPDM
As the workforce issue continues to dominate the conversation industry-wide, manufacturers are responding with either new or enhanced products that offer the roofing contractor greater versatility and time flexibility on the rooftop.
Nashville-based Firestone Building Products used the “home-field advantage” of the 2019 IRE to introduce its FullForce EPDM. It’s the latest enhancement of Firestone’s Secure Bond systems, and is the only fully-coated, seam-to-seam EPDM SA membrane with the patented pressure sensitive adhesive on the market.
Company officials said they estimate roofing contractors can install the FullForce EPDM four times faster than standard EPDM, and do it temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Contractors also need not worry about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or any seam tape.
“(It) exemplifies the Firestone commitment to delivering innovative, reliable solutions that address the challenges our customers face every day,” said President Taylor Cole. “We are confident it will have an impact on how our customers do business, giving contractors higher labor utilization and significant time savings.”
VacuSeal Vent Secured Roofing System • Carlisle SynTec
Carlisle SynTec Systems’ VacuSeal Vent Secured Roofing System takes advantage of one thing all roofs deal with — wind.
The assembly uses special vents that harness the power of the wind to lock roof membranes in place.
The design offers quick and easy installation, as well as cost and labor savings through reduced use of glue, ballast, or fasteners.
Other benefits of the VacuSeal Vent Secured Roofing System include: negative pressure venting that pulls air and moisture out from under the membrane to maintain insulation dryness and R-value; no cold-weather limitations for installation; and no VOCs or odors.
VacuSeal V2T Vents are made from UV-resistant PVC, contain no moving parts, require no penetrations, provide effective performance regardless of wind direction, and are UL-certified with uplift certification at 195 psf negative pressure.
Sarnafil Self-Adhered Wall Flashing • Sika Sarnafil
Sika Sarnafil recently released its Sarnafil Self-Adhered Wall Flashing, the roofing industry’s first PVC peel-and-stick wall flashing option.
Boasting the same benefits as the Sarnafil G 410 Self-Adhered field membrane, Self-Adhered Wall Flashing allows for increased productivity and a time-saving installation without VOCs and odors.
The Self-Adhered Wall Flashing does not require primer and may be installed with any adhered or mechanically attached Sika roof system. With the introduction of SA Wall Flashing, Sika Sarnafil becomes the only manufacturer to now offer a completely self-adhered system.
AquaBarrier Vapour Permeable Tapes • IKO
IKO recently introduced its new AquaBarrier Vapour Permeable Tapes (VP Tapes), a durable, primeless, user-friendly solution ready to go to work — providing unmatched moisture protection — for any building envelope project.
VP Tapes are made from a polyolefin synthetic polymer, making them resistant to rain, wind and outdoor air that can find a way into walls around windows and doors. This moisture can condense and cause building materials to rot or grow mold, compromising structural integrity. When the IKO VP Tapes are installed in conjunction with IKO AquaBarrier Vapour Permeable full rolls, they provide superior performance in vulnerable flashing areas ensuring that outside elements stay outside, while maintaining continuity as an air barrier, with vapour breathability.
AquaBarrier VP Tapes’ self-adhering membrane is available in a variety of sizes and can be used on multiple commercial substrates such as gypsum, CMU, concrete or wood — without adhesives — in addition to specialized detail areas such as windows, doors, skylights, metal cladding systems and under siding at inside and outside corners.
VP Tapes’ lightweight design means easy installation, with no mechanical attachments or primer required for standard application. Coated with a proprietary acrylic adhesive on the back surface, IKO’s AquaBarrier Vapour Permeable Tapes offer high-performance for common wall applications, while still withstanding the rigors of a job site. The AquaBarrier Vapour Permeable Tapes are part of a full range of accessory products designed to fulfill contractors’ building envelope needs.
MetalSeal Underlayment • Boral Roofing
Boral Roofing’s MetalSeal Underlayment is a high temperature self-adhered underlayment designed especially for metal roofing but suitable for any roof material in any climate.
A high-performance waterproofing material, Boral MetalSeal underlayment provides all season durable protection, protecting the structure against wind, rain, snow and ice dams by bonding to the base sheet or directly to the roof deck and self-sealing around every fastener penetration.
Boasting easy installation, Boral MetalSeal eliminates the need for an excessive number of nails, reducing installation time and cost. Great surface traction also enables safer, faster and easier installation for the entire roof. The high strength woven polyester surface remains intact under high foot traffic and provides UV resistance up to six months.
TranzVolt Cordless Lift • Tie Down Engineering
No gas or power outlet? No problem with the new TranzVolt Powered Platform Hoist.
Powered by two 20-volt batteries, it aims to be the fastest, safest, most reliable and cost effective powered platform hoist in the roofing and solar panel installation markets.
According to Tie Down Engineering, the Tranzvolt system saves time in setup and operation, enabling contractors to install more solar panels, roof more square feet, and lift more materials per day.
That’s because existing lifting hoists for roofers, solar installers, and general contractors either employ a gasoline-powered engine or a single speed, AC induction motor. The Tranzvolt system utilizes a modern, brushless motor system, allowing faster lift times, reduced weight, less maintenance, and quicker assembly.
The TranzVolt takes the standard concept of a platform hoist and drives it to the next level. Utilizing technology found in electric vehicles, Tie Down Engineering’s team harnessed the use of a brushless motor, an electromagnetic brake, and a lithium-ion battery pack. The result is a great step forward in ease-of-use, performance, and safety.
Chameleon Power Photo+Measure
Chameleon Power, a leading provider of visualization technology and tools in the roofing industry, showcased its next generation of photographic 2D, 3D, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) products at IRE in Nashville.
The star of the show in the Music City was the roofing industry’s first photographic visualization and measurement tool, Photo+Measure, which provides a combination of a photographic visualization experience and home measurements for quoting, based on Chameleon’s proprietary color-science technology.
Chameleon Power’s photographic visualization technology allows a website or desktop user to select a home photo, or load their own photo, and apply real roofing and complimentary materials, see the final outcome and save their finished project, all at your website or mobile devices.
EagleView App Update
In addition to a sweeping rebranding effort launched earlier this year, EagleView Technologies also showcased its latest addition to its app for roofing contractors.
According to the company, the update has the potential to completely change the way roofers present bids through the use of augmented reality. Applied in conjunction with 3-D visualization, the potential customer is able to get an entirely new perspective of how the finished product will look beyond the roof to include siding color and more.
Roofing contractors can use the app to order EagleView measurement reports in real time, at any time.
“It’s the type of innovation that our brand, which we recently refreshed, stands for,” said EagleView CEO Rishi Daga. “EagleView is all about providing customers accurate and actionable imagery and other insights to make their jobs as simple as possible.“
The EagleView App can be downloaded from the iOS App Store and Google Play.
Mavic Enterprise Dual • DJI
Drone technology keeps getting better thanks to innovations like DJI’s Mavic Enterprise Dual.
Engineered for businesses, the Mavic 2 Enterprise features an ultra-compact and foldable design with an array of advanced controls and accessories that extend users’ capabilities when conducting operations such as inspections.
“With the Mavic 2 Enterprise, DJI has created a drone that makes powerful technology accessible to every enterprise and revolutionizes how they do their work,” said DJI President Roger Luo. “Mavic 2 Enterprise is the world’s most capable commercial drone, purpose-built to serve the operational needs of our industry partners as well as companies that are just now preparing to embrace the benefits of drone technology.”
Among other things, Mavic 2 Enterprise carries a high-resolution, 12-megapixel camera that is stabilized by a three-axis gimbal for smooth, stable video and images. The camera extends the pilot’s sense of sight with a 2x optical and 3x digital zoom capability. This zoom technology improves the ability of drones to identify and inspect dangerous or difficult areas, as well as to help emergency services protect life and property.
Mavic 2 Enterprise also allows new DJI accessories (a spotlight, loudspeaker, and beacon light, for example) to be securely mounted to the drone’s body and is operated through the flight control app.
Digital Job Box • PCM Inc.
The Digital Job Box from PCM Inc. makes it a bit easier to take care of all that technology your company’s invested in.
It starts with a heavy-duty locking steel job site storage box, outfitted with marine-grade power outlets for connection to commercial power. Inside, the Job Box includes iPads with cellular connectivity (six- or 10-unit configurations) with magnetic mounted ruggedized cases that use powerful induction to charge, no cables to worry about, an uninterruptible power supply to keep you working, and a large 4K display for collaboration, powered by Apple TV. The Digital Job Box can also be enhanced with additional accessories such as printers, drones, safety sirens/strobes, and a mobile WiFi hotspot.
Available with the Digital Job Box is a fully managed service offering that includes integration, deployment, PCM-hosted mobile device management with Mobile Iron, monthly updates, help desk, and an advanced depot replacement service. The mobility experts at PCM will integrate all accessories and activate the devices, enrolling them in Apple’s Device Enrollment Program.
By utilizing a hosted and managed instance of Mobile Iron, PCM will configure all devices to adhere to a company’s corporate policies, and will push out apps, content, and updates to each device over the air. If support is needed or a device is damaged, PCM’s Apple-certified help desk is ready to assist with troubleshooting or setting up an advance replacement repair. At the project close, PCM offers a variety of options including warehousing, re-deployment to a new job site, or trade in.
Seek Shot and Seek ShotPRO • Seek Thermal
A previously cost-prohibitive technology, thermal imaging is becoming widely adopted by home and building professionals.
Seek Shot and Seek ShotPRO offer two powerful handheld thermal cameras built for commercial trade professionals.
Thermal imaging cameras detect heat, otherwise invisible to the human eye, which can be indicative of serious and costly problems and inefficiencies around a home or building. The technology allows professionals to identify leaks, electrical shorts, mechanical faults and energy loss as a way to assess the health of a structure in a non-destructive manner.
“Seek’s new line of thermal imaging cameras will become one of the most important tools in the toolbox by allowing users to quickly identify leaks, shorts, mechanical faults, radiant floor issues and other inefficiencies that cause lost energy, money and resources,” said Tim LeBeau of Seek Thermal.
New SeekFusion technology combines the diagnostic power of thermal imaging with the context and detail of a visible image. This allows the user to adjust the blend between thermal and visible images and quickly uncover hidden problems.
After capturing photos with Seek Shot, on-device analysis features and reporting templates help complete jobs faster by utilizing professional thermography tools. Users can add spot measurements, temperature boxes, adjust the SeekFusion blend and change color palettes right from the camera. That means post-processing of data can be done on the jobsite rather than back at the office, saving valuable time.
Other features include a large interactive 3.5” color touchscreen and the ability to stream video over WiFi to a smartphone or tablet for collaboration and remote viewing.
Last July, the 3M Industrial Mineral Products Division announced the availability of 3M Smog-reducing Granules that are aimed at removing smog pollution (nitrogen oxides or NOx) using roofing shingles.
Since then, Malarkey and Boral have said that they will use the granules in shingles. Further, Time magazine named the granules among its 50 Best Inventions of 2018.
Integrated throughout a shingle’s surface, 3M’s roofing granules are designed with a specialized photocatalytic coating applied to the base mineral.
The specialized coating on the granule is activated by the sun’s UV rays, while blending inconspicuously into various shingle color combinations. As sunlight hits the shingles containing the smog-reducing granules, radicals are generated and transform nitrogen oxide gases into water-soluble ions improving air quality. This smart solution for pollution mitigation can help communities contribute toward their NOx emission reduction efforts.
“The roofing granules are a first for residential asphalt shingles,” said Frank Klink, senior laboratory manager, 3M. “The new 3M granules will help roofing manufacturers develop high quality, aesthetically-pleasing shingles that can turn any roof into an active smog reducing catalyst, essentially becoming smog’s worst enemy.”
Perennial Porcelain Roofing • Daltile
With over seven decades of experience working with tile and stone, Daltile is now extending its product offerings into the roofing industry. Daltile’s new Perennial porcelain roofing tile officially launched at IRE in Nashville.
Perennial is designed to provide the ideal roofing solution for contractors and anyone else seeking beauty, durability and ease of installation in their roofing tiles. Available in six colors and designs, the new line realistically replicates the look of slate, timber and clay, but provides the strength of porcelain tile.
“Porcelain roofing tile will be a game-changer for the specialty roofing products segment — destined to soon outsell the current slate, clay, concrete and metal roofing options,” said Doug Pedersen, national director of roofing sales for Daltile.
Daltile said its Perennial tiles offer all of the inherent advantages of porcelain tile: resiliency, longevity, resistance to frost, high breaking strength, imperviousness to water, 110 mph wind rating, Class A fire rating (fire resistant), Class IV hail impact rating and walkability.
Installation of Perennial takes about the same time and effort as concrete tiles do. It is simply nailed to the deck using traditional roofing installation methods. The low overall weight of Daltile’s Perennial porcelain roof system also adds to the speed of installation.
NEX Polymer Modified Asphalt • Malarkey Roofing Products
Earlier this year, Malarkey Roofing Products announced plans to offer NEX polymer modified asphalt in all roofing shingles — executing a plan to upcycle materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
NEX uses upcycled material diverted from the landfill to extract valuable polymers that improve shingle performance.
Malarkey said all of its products previously made with Flexor and Nexgen will now utilize NEX technology.
“Upcycling is a necessary reality for all manufacturers today,” said Rich Robbins, vice president of sales at Malarkey Roofing Products. “We are in a critical position to improve our products sustainably for our customers and the health of the planet. At our scale of production, we can make a demonstrable impact. For instance, each ton of upcycled material prevents seven-and-a-half cubic yards of material and several barrels of oil from entering the landfill.”
On an average-sized home, with a roof of roughly 3,000 square feet (30 roofing squares), that is covered in Malarkey roofing shingles with NEX polymer modified asphalt, the upcycled content is equivalent to more than five rubber tires and more than 350 plastic milk jugs.
Starting in 2003, the developers of Equipter lifted their way into the consciousness and projects of roofing contractors everywhere looking to help keep jobsites clean and safe in efficient manner.
They’ve now crossed into the digital frontier with Boostpoint, a digital ad solution system that allows roofers to create, post and measure digital ad campaigns on channels like Facebook and Instagram, and target them to specific audiences all from one dashboard.
The app uses proprietary algorithms to push digital ads to an audience comprised of people most likely to become customers. Whether you want to do business in a new neighborhood or grow your brand where you’re already doing a job, Boostpoint helps you grow faster by delivering digital impressions where they count, said Cofounder and CEO Sam Beiler.
“After creating and targeting ads to display in front of your most likely customers, hit submit and the campaign goes live on the ad platforms you’ve chosen,” Beiler said. “We recognized that if the contractors we worked with had access to a tool that built out and simplified that type of strategy, they could more easily create a strong brand local consumers would remember.”
The platform’s features also include customizable digital ad templates and real-time reporting. Boostpoint currently integrates with Facebook and Instagram; the addition of other popular ad platforms is in the pipeline.
Subscription Law Services • Cotney Construction Law
The folks at Cotney Construction Law say they recognize the difficulties roofers might face after getting smacked with an unexpected legal bill.
As a result, at IRE 2019, the firm announced the launch of the Cotney Construction Law Subscription Plan. The service aims to change how roofing contractors can reduce risk and budget for their legal spend.
Tailored to each client, the new service provides a predictable monthly billing plan for non-litigation matters.
“Whether you are a sole proprietor starting a new company or a multi-national contractor that is several generations old, budgeting for legal spend is essential to the maintenance of a profitable roofing business,” said Trent Cotney, CEO. “Every roofing project consists of several moving parts that must be coordinated and balanced in order to complete the project and ultimately turn a profit. Cotney Construction Law helps their clients achieve this goal by managing risks in their contractual agreements, advising clients on good business practices and, when necessary, vigorously representing their clients in disputes.”
Roofing companies that enroll in a subscription-based plan are able to realize the benefit of retaining general counsel, without the fees typically associated with doing so. Through the subscription plan, clients will have access to attorneys to assist with a variety of legal issues. Additionally, clients will be able to utilize law firm subscription-based services to ensure their companies follow laws and regulations that impact their businesses. In turn, clients will be able to better manage their risks and retain more of their hard-earned profits.
“Far too long the costs of legal services have presented a hurdle to businesses in need of legal assistance,” said Cotney. “However, times are changing, and by offering various subscription plan packages, our clients can not only budget for legal spend, but also take a proactive approach in protecting their businesses.”