Technology in the roofing industry is constantly evolving. The implementation of drones, mapping technology and robots that can install parts of the roof have made working on roofs safer and easier than ever before. However, aerial surveillance and photography is no substitute for putting contractors on the roof for inspections.
Along with these technologies, estimation software has made quoting a client easy and efficient. Even with these new technologies, roofing contractors need to be aware of the limitations of these technologies and avoid using them as a crutch.
Technology, such as drones, has been a useful tool for our company, Overson Roofing. Drones have made the jobs of our roofers safer by allowing us to do inspections when the weather doesn’t allow our contractors on a roof.
The craft of roofing is mastered over years of hard work, and nothing hones that skill more than putting boots on the roof. There is no comparison to physically inspecting a roof. A drone cannot feel soft spots that will be an issue for water drainage. A drone will not catch dry rotting or detached underlayment. A drone can take measurements, but it can’t catch the nuances that go into repairing a roof. Drones can’t catch the small issues that will turn into major problems down the road if left untreated.
As roofers, we want to catch all the nuances of every roof we work on. We can’t find all these issues by simply taking aerial photos, quoting the client, and leaving. There is no better way to get the information we need than putting a ladder on the side of the house and climbing up to the roof. There isn’t a better way to work on a roof.
Good roofing contractors need to be up on roofs. However, that does not mean technology doesn’t have a place within the roofing industry. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we used many virtual systems to communicate with clients and send them photos and estimates virtually. This communication technology allowed us to continue working with customers while maintaining social distancing protocols. We use drones and aerial photography when it is unsafe to be on a roof, such as during monsoon season, and that technology has improved immensely over the last 10 years.
We are also always looking to implement new-age roofing materials such as underlays and special coatings. The biggest tech advancements we have implemented over the last few years are the underlays we use. We have transitioned to using rubberized fiberglass-reinforced based sheets. This has been a critical advancement in roofing technology for us since we are in Arizona where extreme temperatures are a consistent issue for our clients. Arizona roofs can reach temperatures of 150 degrees and this rubberized fiberglass material can expand without breaking.
Roofing contractors always need to consider the climate they are working in because roofing is very regional. What works in Florida or California does not necessarily work in Arizona. As Arizona roofing contractors, we have a very hot and dry climate, which poses different problems than a wet, humid, or cold climate. It is our job as professional roofing contractors to make sure we inform and educate the customer on what works best for their home and why.
We have also begun experimenting with solar reflective shingles. The granules have a coating that reflects more heat off the roof. These shingles help cool the roof, making it more energy efficient for the homeowner.
As roofing professionals, we are always experimenting with new technology, but widespread implementation is a slow process because we need to test the new tech and make sure it works. Just because there is new technology does not mean it is a good product or a good fit for our clients. Every roofing contractor should test and collect the necessary data to ensure they are providing the best materials and doing the best job for their clients.
Technology in roofing has advanced immensely over the years, but that does not mean you should instantly begin leaning on it to do the job. Roofing contractors need to put their boots on the roof whenever it is safe to do so. Doing this will guarantee roofing contractors are inspecting every inch of their client’s roof and giving them an accurate estimate and best repair or install possible.