Ingenuity Never Ceases When it Comes to Roofing
North American ingenuity is a marvelous thing. From Mexico to Canada and throughout the good ol’ U-S-of-A, there is an unrivaled determination to constantly advance the quality, appearance, and sustainability of products, from running shoes to roofing materials. Roofing professionals in particular are driven to satisfy property owners and outshine competitors by constantly improving their installation methods, equipment, customer communications, staying up-to-date on roofing trends, and by using roofing software.
Innovations in roofing are unfolding constantly as homeownership and the economy flourishes. We’ll look at just a few of the new methods and mechanisms that exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit, customer dedication, observance of roofing trends, and pride in quality workmanship among men and women in the roofing industry.
Recently, Tesla and its leader Elon Musk created a buzz with their sleek, glass tile photovoltaic shingles, introduced in 2018. This new, attractive-looking, energy-generating roof solution isn’t the only innovation in solar roofing. Certainteed, GAF, Luma, SunTegra, and GAF also make roof-integrated solar roofing products, and these modern systems are a far cry from conventional, raised solar panels which buyers are reluctant to install due to their overly conspicuous appearance. Great strides are in play with solar roofing technology, and these manufacturers are at the forefront.
ClearoofTM – High-Resolution Aerial Images
Thousands of successful roofing contractors are using technology to access overhead imagery, mostly from satellite transmissions. Google Earth is well known for enabling device users to view overhead images by simply entering an address in Google Maps or Google Earth. However, Google Earth has not been among roofing trends because advanced roofing software is really the only means of producing a professional roof measurement report from satellite images. With its ClearoofTM feature introduced in 2019, iRoofing – the world’s leading DIY roofing software – has added new high-definition aerial images to its platform and satellite image database.
Now, roofing professionals can seamlessly switch from a satellite image to an aerial view of a roof. They can select from a variety of past months or seasons when, for example, leafy tree branches weren’t obscuring sections of the roof image, thus making it difficult to perform an exact measurement with the iRoofing app’s DIY digital measurement tool. Acquired from companies operating land surveillance aircraft, Clearoof images can be sharper than satellite images, though in most cases a satellite image will get the job done.
With natural products such as slate and cedar shake still in high demand but often very costly and difficult to obtain, modern composite roofing material really does the trick as an alternative. Mind you, high-quality composite roofing isn’t inexpensive, but it’s not the premium cost of mined slate or harvested cedar shake. Manufacturers like Boral produce exquisite roof coverings which look exactly like slate and shake while offering a sustainable, low-maintenance substitution to natural stone and wood. No doubt, the popularity of composite roofing will continue to grow in appeal as property owners get on board with greener solutions to all their building and roofing needs.
Canada’s Enviroshake® also provides the rich, natural look of taper-sawn cedar shake in a roofing product that’s created with 95% sustainable materials. Enviroshake®, EnviroSlate®, and many other composite roofing products also tend to be more resistant to the formation of fungus, mildew, mold, and insect infestation, as compared to natural, untreated shake.
Commercial Roof Coatings – A Major Roofing Trend
Roof coatings have caught on with commercial property owners and managers relatively recently, thanks to companies like Conklin Roof Coatings which have created a vast network of trained and certified roofing contractors. Property owners can forgo a long and costly tear-off and new roof installation, instead opting for a much less costly roof coating application, adding years of added, leak-proof performance to a flat roof. These coatings come in a few different varieties; fluid-applied asphaltic rubber membrane systems, sprayed-on polyurethane foam (SPF), acrylic coatings, and silicone coatings.
Commercial roof coatings have proven to do a great job extending the life of an existing roof, sealing and reinforcing the seams, reducing maintenance costs, and increasing energy efficiency to lower utility costs.
The epitome of working smarter rather than harder, this mean machine is another innovation that’s fairly new to the roofing scene! The Equipter RB4000 lift (and other models) is the brainchild of Aaron Beiler, an entrepreneurial roofer and contractor like a lot of the people reading this article. Easily transported to any job site, the Equipter is tailored for roofing tear-offs and installation work. It’s like a cross between a dump truck and a cherry picker, but it’s designed to carry a heavy load of roofing material. With this brilliant example of 4-wheeled engineering, contractors can complete jobs faster and with a smaller crew in many cases.
Considering the clever inventions of the roofing industry, like The Equipter, Clearoof HD aerial imagery, sustainable composite roofing that replicates real slate and shake, and nifty little drones, few industries have taken bigger strides than the roofing industry! Speaking of drones…
More and more roofers are using drones to examine roofs and even produce precise measurements with the overhead images taken by camera-equipped models. iRoofing, the leading DIY roofing software, pairs with many types of drones, and currently recommends the DJI Mini SE.
Why? To start with, the Mini SE produces camera and video quality of 12 megapixels and 2.7K frames per second, respectively. It’s virtually palm-sized at only 140mm X 82mm X 57mm (millimeters) and weighs only 249 grams. Best of all, fly it for a full 30 minutes – plenty of time to get the images and video you need to assess roof conditions and obtain photos to upload to your roof measurement software.
Roofing contractors can purchase this drone for about $300 retail. Get it even cheaper with one of iRoofing’s annual combo packages, which includes the drone and a 1-year subscription to the only software that affords contractors unlimited DIY roof measurements, estimating tools, simulation tools, the most comprehensive digital roof products catalog in the business, and impressive customer communication and sales presentation features.
Modern Roofer Safety Gear
Roofing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. The market for safety equipment is enormous. Ropes, safety goggles, scaffolding, special roofing ladders, and garments designed to keep workers safe while working on sloped roofs are not only essential but often required by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Smart footwear and clothing are basic to performing work with a good grip on roofing shingles, tiles, metal panels, etc. As a roofing contractor, you know how hazardous the job gets when you’re on a sloped roof and you’re not properly equipped. One of the newest yet simplest innovations in roofer wear is SteepGear’s non-slip shorts. SteepGear’s specially-engineered shorts have a seat area of non-latex rubber that grips to almost any surface. Whether it’s metal, wood, composition or tile roof material, underlayment, or plywood, SteepGear reduces the chance of accidents – for instance, a roofer “hydroplaning” down a slope on a surface made worse by loose shingle granules.
They’re New. They’re Effective. They’re in High Demand
These are just a few of the remarkable and relatively new innovations and roofing trends that help propel the $50+ billion roofing industry forward. Roofing contractors who invest their profits into operational improvements and high-tech gain a huge advantage over other companies in the highly competitive world of roofing.