In every eMagazine issue, Roofing Contractor editors highlight the new products entering the market. Some are hits – innovations that will no doubt make a roofer’s life easier – and some miss the mark. Each year, we try and objectively look at the new entries in the marketplace and determine which could play an important role in the roofing industry going forward with our Editor’s Choice.
Amid all the challenges the past year posed for roofing contractors around the country, the industry was still grappling with how to become more efficient and profitable on-the-job with persistent workforce shortages. Contractors continued to choose and rely on products that helped them do their jobs faster without compromising quality or long-term solutions for their customers.
Despite the lack of traditional means to introduce products into the market via trade shows or in-person pitches, the companies serving the roofing industry didn’t stop innovating or finding creative ways to get the word out. So we listened, watched webinars, participated in virtual demos and took Zoom meetings with just about any company that had something to introduce to the market.
The following products were released within the past year and while assigning value to them may be subjective, there’s little doubt roofing contractors of all sizes and specialties will want to know about them and determine if they can provide an edge. Here are our Editor’s Choice honorees for 2022.
Timberline Solar • GAF
Major industries from automotive to technology sectors are going more “green.” Building materials are following suit, and rapidly. GAF Energy, the spin-off of the shingle-producing giant, unveiled its Timberline Solar™ earlier this year to much fanfare. Touted as the only roof system to directly integrate solar technology into a traditional roofing process, it wowed audiences at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, taking home multiple awards. That included the blockbuster show’s highest honor, the Best of Innovation award for “Smart Cities,” and Innovation Award honorees in two categories.
Designers followed up that success by unveiling its other chief installation feature – being the world’s first nailable solar shingle – to attendees of the 2022 International Roofing Expo in New Orleans. It was a hit with contractors and varies from others in the marketplace because of its 17-inch by 64-inch nailable surface. It’s also available through GAF’s vast network of contractors. Timberline Solar also has UL’s 7103 certification, which authorizes GAF Energy to install the system on residential roofs as a roofing product and a solar energy product — the first of its kind to be recognized as both.
The company also recommitted to building in the United States, assembling the revolutionary shingles at GAF Energy’s manufacturing and R&D facility in San Jose, Calif.
“Solar roofs are the future of clean energy, and Timberline Solar is the game-changing innovation that will get us there,” GAF Energy President Martin DeBono told RC upon the product launch.
Timberline Solar Details
• First nailable solar shingle
• Directly integrates solar into traditional roofing process
• Achieved UL’s 7103 certification, authorizing GAF Energy to install as a roofing product and a solar energy product – the first of its kind.
• Built domestically at GAF Energy’s manufacturing and R&D facility in San Jose, Calif.
Falcon Measurement Tool • Metal-Era & Hickman Edge Systems MTL Holdings
With workforce shortages still impacting roofing contractors around the country, efficiency is at a premium on the rooftop. The designers at Metal-Era set out to impact the time a roofer needs to do the job at the planning stage. Using an innovative spatial-locating technology, the Falcon is designed to improve the time needed to take rooftop measurements while increasing the accuracy of the data for estimating purposes.
“(It) will change the industry’s approach to the roof perimeter,” said Tony Mallinger, CEO of MTL Holdings. “This will have an immediate impact on labor and cost savings at a time when contractors and owners need it most.”
The Falcon features a hybrid clamping device that measures all parapet surfaces to within thousandths of an inch and tenths of a degree. It also helps with the contractor’s practical job performance and organization. Measuring tough spots like miters, transitions, end walls and other unique roof features gets a little easier as details become part of a digital road map of the roof that is rendered in real-time to an app. To the contractor, the output reads much like a shop drawing with a bill of materials, designers said. The map can be color-coded and labeled to match product shipment. There’s also an opportunity to capture photos and images of details for quoting and fabrication purposes.
This product is the first major release since Metal-Era and Hickman Edge Systems combined in February 2021. But it’s hardly the last innovation, officials said.
"In terms of technology and innovation, this is only the beginning,” Mallinger added. “The impact of being able to spatially locate and map the roof to this level of accuracy with this speed will expand beyond the perimeter and positively change the industry.”
The Falcon became available to roofing contractors in April and is planning to expand heavily over the summer peak season.
Falcon Measurement Details
• Designed to provide simple installation and labor savings
• Hybrid clamping device accurately measures all parapet surfaces
• Accuracy within thousandths of an inch and tenths of a degree
• Makes measuring difficult rooftop features easier
UNIROOF 700 with LQS • Leister
The product development team at Leister set out to create a product for roofing contractors that’s ideally suited for welding all types of single-ply thermoplastic roof membranes with the UNIROOF 700. It offers three one-of-a-kind features that company officials say sets a new standard in the roofing industry. They’re most excited about the Leister Quality System (LQS), an advanced technology that gives contractors complete control of key welding parameters like speed, temperature and air volume.
The other key aspect is a dramatic improvement in documentation and accountability through an auto-generated data report. This service records data from each welded seam and transfers it to a database that can be accessed through the myLeister app.
The machine’s heavier weight allows easy welding of even thick materials, and a closed-loop control of the temperature, speed, and air volume ensure reliable welds even in quickly-changing weather conditions. It also features a monitored welding assistant that ensures greater quality because it warns operators with an alarm and lit-up digital display if parameters are off. In addition, the UNIROOF 700 menu allows owners to implement factory pre-set parameters that create, store and transfer custom welding “recipes” within the myLeister app.
Long-term benefits were also built into the design. An ECO Mode feature can save up to 30% on energy consumption on the job, and there are software updates to make it a long-term investment for roofers.
UNIROOF 700 with LQS Details
• Compact design and adjustable transport axle
• One-of-a-kind features like Leister Quality System (LQS), Monitored Welding Assistant, and Recipe Management
• Share welding data reports in real-time
• A stop-device-on-alert feature.
UltraPly TPO Flex SA • Firestone Building Products
Firestone Building Products celebrated the 25th anniversary of one of its leading TPO products and enhanced it in 2022. The UltraPly™ TPO Flex SA launched in late 2021 and is an evolution of two products: UltraPly TPO SA (self-adhered) and UltraPly TPO Flex Adhered, which Firestone calls the most flexible TPO on the market.
More than 5 billion square feet of the membrane have been manufactured globally since it was introduced in 1996. The membrane itself remains unchanged from its original; however, Firestone added features that make it easier to install and safer to work with overall.
“Essentially, two great technologies have become one,” said David Martiny, director of product development. “We have a great understanding of how our contractors’ needs are evolving, and this is yet another example of delivering products that meet those needs.”
UltraPly TPO Flex SA Details
• Touted as most-flexible TPO on the market
• Streamlined installation makes it easier to work with
• Odorless and non-VOC, meaning buildings can stay open during installation
• Reflective properties that drive energy savings.
Cool-Sil Silicone Membrane • Garland
At a time when facility owners are looking for options – and roofing contractors are hunting for scarce materials – Garland unveiled Cool-Sil, its newest fluid-applied membrane system. It is designed to extend the roof life of aging surfaces, whether they’re single-ply, modified bitumen or metal roofs.
The silicone rubber-based system is solvent-free with a high solids content that provides a thick and durable covering that’s mold and mildew resistant. It’s made to outlast harsh weather conditions, and provides an enhanced, watertight rooftop that can slow down the need for a full roof replacement. That can be a major selling point to cost-conscious building owners and managers still trying to overcome a sluggish COVID-19 economic recovery, said Matt McDermott, president of Garland’s U.S. roofing division.
“We know that each building, each roof, each situation is unique," said McDermott. "That’s why we are thrilled to add Cool-Sil to our fluid-applied restoration systems portfolio. It gives our customers yet another option to meet their specific objectives for budget, building performance, and sustainability.”
Cool-Sil also has multiple environmentally-friendly benefits that contractors may note to help sell jobs. In addition to being solvent free, it offers strong UV protection and is highly reflective – meaning it can help reduce cooling costs in most environments. The product received P151 certification by NSF International for not contaminating runoff, ground water and waterways.
• Extends the life of aging roof surfaces across multiple systems: single-ply, modified bitumen, or metal
• Silicone rubber-based system is an easy-to-install, one-part product
• Mold and mildew resistant roof covering for proven protection in harsh weather
• High reflectivity can reduce energy consumption.
Ozbee Team Software • Ozbee
Making its debut on the 2022 IRE show floor was a new comprehensive software for contractors developed by roofing contractors.
For years after attending the IRE, Brad Beldon, CEO of Beldon Roofing Co. in San Antonio, added different elements to improve operations. Some didn’t take, or weren’t quite the right fit for his commercial roofing company, a perennial member of RC’s Top 100 list. But the majority of them were working. Still, it became apparent that teams were working in between multiple programs and spending a lot of time trying to fill gaps.
“We couldn’t find a one-stop solution that connects all aspects of a contracting business, so we spent three years creating our own,” said Beldon, also Ozbee’s CEO.
The Ozbee app integrates existing platforms, including Leap Digital for proposals, Salesforce CRM tools, CompanyCam for photo storage, and other apps available on the Salesforce AppExchange, so contractors don’t have to cobble together and manage multiple apps that don’t communicate with each other.
The real purpose is to provide a better overall user experience for roofers and their customers, Beldon explained. The belief is that with all essential documentation and project information in one place where multiple stakeholders can communicate, roof production becomes easier and more effective.
That means applications well beyond roofing. The cloud-based platform is customizable for home builders, commercial builders, plumbers, electricians, etc.
• Cloud-based software solution utilizing Salesforce
• A one-stop solution that connects all aspects of a contracting business
• Developed by roofing contractors, and certified trainers are available to assist
• Transparency and easy accountability across multiple departments.
Advanced Imagery Solutions with Optelos • Imagine Technologies Group with Optelos
Roofing contractors have had a lot of experience and success with adding drone technology to their service, safety and marketing efforts in recent years. The developers of Optelos and Imagine Technologies Group believe the industry is ready for the next step.
Early adopters of drone technology with their commercial roofing business in Ohio, John Kiesel and Ryan Resides developed a new way of capturing and using drone images to measure and estimate roofs – and a whole lot more. Using cutting-edge, cloud-based software, they’re able to stitch together a consistent, realistic image of any roof and all its intricacies. Combining that with the latest in virtual reality imagery, users become fully immersed in the program and get to experience the real-time condition of their roof without ever having to climb a ladder.
Roofers benefit from time savings and more accurate estimates that maximize materials. There’s also a tremendous impact on safety, and roofers can better connect with their customer with an interactive, educational experience.
“We’re really able to take the facility owner and move them atop the building and show them what needs repair, or what they should be worried about,” said John Kiesel, president of Imagine Technology Group. “It gives them an opportunity to say ‘I understand the issues happening on the roof and am willing to spend the money to fix it.’”
Advanced Imagery - Optelos Details
• Stitches together thousands of drone photo images to create 3-D model of rooftop
• Helps contractors improve safety, reduce man-hours, and earn more business
• Allows building owner to visualize roof condition and potential problems without safety, liability risk
• Enhanced accuracy of measurements and can help contractors make better decisions with materials.
Nano Shield Roof Coating • NanoTech
New products and roof installation techniques are a staple of the IRE every year, and the 2022 show in New Orleans didn’t disappoint. Among the new offerings making a splash on the show floor was Nano Shield. The new offering from NanoTech is an attempt by the designers to meet a growing global demand for high-performing, eco-friendly fireproofing solutions in the building materials space.
While not new – passive fire-protection systems and coatings have been available for years – they can be toxic and hard to apply. Houston-based NanoTech set out to elevate a unique molecule to meet those problems head-on. The molecule can be adapted to provide both fireproofing and insulating in a single coating.
Developed with the help of roofing contractors, the product is the first offering from NanoTech, which has a mission to fireproof buildings while significantly reducing global energy consumption. Representatives said they achieved that in this breakthrough product, boasting that just 5 millimeters of Nano Shield has the equivalent insulating properties of several inches of insulating spray foam.
The developers also found the coating has a high emissivity, potentially reflecting more than 94% of the heat hitting on a roof.
The molecule can also be added to existing building materials to provide both insulation and fireproofing. Applications already include use in paints, resins, gypsum, cement, polymers, plastics, fiberglass and more.
Figuring out all of its potential uses is part of a “mad-scientist” approach to testing the product, which can be viewed in numerous YouTube videos and content streamed on its website.
“We’re willing to try just about anything because the molecule has proven so versatile, and we have a real passion from what we’re doing,” said David Bayler, executive director of roofing coatings applications at NanoTech, and co-owner of ParaTex Roofing & Construction in Katy, Texas.
Nano Shield Details
• Fireproof to 1,800 degrees (Celsius)
• Low density and low mass, but high emissivity
• Can be used as an additive for fireproofing and insulation in multiple products
• Spray-on application and eco-friendly composition.
SOPRANATURE • SOPREMA
Green roofing is estimated to become a $14-billion industry by 2026, with the formerly niche roofing system more popular than ever in an environmentally-conscious world. Building and facility owners are turning to roofing contractors for this solution thanks to the various social, economic and environmental benefits green roofs provide.
Thankfully, creating a green roof is not as complicated as it may seem. SOPREMA released its SOPRANATURE line of products to transform roofs into green and green amenity spaces while maintaining waterproof features. The SOPRANATURE vegetated system includes multiple products, including the SOPRANATURE TOUNDRA BOX, a pre-vegetated modular tray system composed of 100% recycled polypropylene and removable, recyclable white belts. The content of the boxes is customizable according to the hardiness zone and climatic conditions of the job.
The line also includes SOPRAFILTER, a fabric made of non-woven needle-punched polypropylene and polyester fibers used as filter cloth or as a separation sheet in protected membrane roofing systems and in SOPRANATURE green roofs, roof gardens and plaza decks. Lastly, there is the SOPRADRAIN™ ECOVENT, a geometric patterned core drainage mat designed to eliminate hydrostatic pressure on vegetated roofs, foundation walls, retaining walls, planter and plaza decks while providing a protection fabric for the waterproof membrane.
• TOUNDRA BOXES can be adapted according to the hardiness zone and climatic conditions to customize what plant life is used
• SOPRAFILTER acts as a separation sheet in protected membrane roofing systems and in SOPRANATURE green roofs
• SOPRADRAIN ECOVENT eliminates hydrostatic pressure while providing protection for the waterproof membrane
• The vegetated roof system reduces stormwater runoff, improves air quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
PVKONCEAL • S-5!
The desire for solar panels and metal roofing are on the rise among homeowners and businesses alike. Metal roofing’s ability to last for decades while being recyclable puts it at an advantage over other roofing systems. Meanwhile, solar is becoming more ubiquitous and, as a result, more cost effective.
To protect these investments, contractors can offer S-5!’s PVKONCEAL, a new addition to its PVKIT® direct-attach™ solar solution for metal roofs. The PVKONCEAL module skirt conceals the front face of the solar PV array, protecting all mechanical and electrical components underneath, as well as creating an attractive, finished look. PVKONCEAL also helps to minimize the intrusion of small animals, debris and unwanted objects under the solar array.
The PVKONCEAL will last as long as the metal roof it’s protecting thanks to is composition of corrosion-resistant aluminum with a prefinished high-quality polyvinylidene fluoride — the same premium paint finish used to coat metal roofs.
“We are excited to add the PVKONCEAL to our portfolio of products, offering an aesthetically pleasing solution that protects the solar PV system and the owner’s investment,” says Rob Haddock, CEO and founder of S-5!.
• The module skirt conceals the front of the solar array, protecting mechanical and electrical components while keeping debris and critters out
• Composed of corrosion-resistant aluminum and prefinished with polyvinylidene fluoride, making it last the life of the solar array and the metal roof
• Lightweight and can be used in two orientations to cover module frames from 30-46 millimeter thick
• Works with standing seam, exposed-fastened and corrugated metal roofing.