I recently attended the International Roofing Expo (IRE) in downtown Dallas to learn more about the latest trends in the roofing industry. I did not leave disappointed.
I was impressed with the level of innovation on display by the manufacturers and the technology companies serving the industry. The roofing world is quickly responding to new customer and contractor demands.
Here’s a brief recap of some of the trends and innovations I noted as I walked the International Roofing Expo show floor:
1. Solar Roof Advancements
In an effort to enhance the curb appeal of solar roofing options, Certainteed and GAF have launched solar shingle products with lower profiles than typical solar panels. They also feature some additional performance and installation perks.
GAF's Timberline Solar product is the first nailable solar shingle on the market. It can be installed just as any regular shingle roof would be.
CertainTeed launched its first solar shingle at IRE 2023. The Solstice Shingle (pictured below) was designed to seamlessly integrate with asphalt shingles or concrete tiles. CertainTeed claims that Solstice Shingles can produce nearly as much energy as rack-mounted panels.
Each of the aforementioned products is walkable and comes in at a price point comparable to or slightly above that of traditional solar panels.
2. Sustainability & Environmental Efforts
All of the major asphalt shingle manufacturers I visited during my time on the show floor emphasized sustainability and environmental efforts in one form or another. With more millennial customers in the market for new roofs, this is a direction one would expect to see to attract that audience.
Malarkey Roofing Products–a division of Holcim Group–displayed marketing materials inside its booth claiming that it has already diverted 4.1 million tires from landfills by incorporating upcycled rubber into its shingles, and 2.8 billion plastic bags have been diverted from landfills by using upcycled plastic in its shingles.
Owens Corning touted its efforts to become a net-positive company. One example shared with me was a shingle recycling pilot that intends to divert two million tons of shingles from landfills annually by 2030.
3. Roofing Shingles Designed to Protect Against Hail Damage
One of the most common product highlights raised by roofing manufacturers was a shingle with a UL 2218 Class 4 impact rating designed to protect against hail damage. Class 4 is the highest impact rating on the market, and Owens Corning, GAF, CertainTeed, and IKO representatives all made it a point to show me a shingle with this rating.
According to information included on the Owens Corning website, to receive a Class 4 rating “a shingle must withstand having a 2-inch steel ball dropped multiple times from a height of 20 feet” without suffering any cracks or breaks that allow water to leak through.
4. Improved Roofing Installation Efficiency
If there is one positive thing roofing contractors can take away from the ongoing labor shortage, it’s the response of manufacturers to make products that can be installed faster. Multiple manufacturers were eager to discuss wide nailing areas on their shingles that were designed for nailing accuracy and a reduction in installation time.
One example is GAF’s Timberline HDZ Shingles. Under controlled laboratory conditions, Timberline HDZ Shingles were installed 30% faster than Timberline HD Shingles.
5. Roofing Technology Implementation
I caught up with Black Hills Exteriors CEO Chad Enger and PJ Fitzpatrick CEO James Freeman at the show and they both raved about Hover. Hover is an app that allows contractors to get measurements of exterior products, complete estimates, and order products all in one place. Enger said he first looked into Hover after realizing how difficult it was to teach new employees how to measure roofs, siding, and windows.
“After mistake after mistake and having too much material or missing low or high on a bid, I was looking for a solution,” Enger shared with me. “I realized I could use Hover to get all the measurements and I could process this out for all of my employees. It’s teachable and repeatable.”
While there are several visualization software products for contractors to use, Freeman feels Hover provides homeowners with a more thorough look, and using the app results in greater efficiency for his business.
“In addition to using it for measurements, we’re also using the direct order feature”, Freeman said. “We take the measurements and move them through to an order from our suppliers in some markets. When we move products directly through to an order in those markets, our people placing orders can do 40% more per day.”