Last week, Boston was a host to hordes of roofing sales people, roof manufacturers’ reps and local roofing contractors from all over Massachusetts and New England. It was the NERCA (North East Roofing Contractors Association) annual convention, where most roofing materials, tools and equipment manufacturers were present, promoting their new products and services.
After being to a few of these shows already, I have found that they don’t get any more exciting, but it’s always nice that NERCA sets up up open bars with semi-decent wine, and cheese / crackers / fresh veggies & berries tables. I think that for roof sales professionals, these roofing conventions have become a boring necessity, as all they do is schmooze with each other and talk about competition. As for me and other roofing contractors, we can always find some new and exciting roofing materials, tools, equipment and services, such as infra-red roof scanners, roof lifts, a hydraulic-powered dumpster, which can be lifted to the roof level to speed up roof tear-off and clean up process.
As a Flat Roof contractor we were there supporting IB Roofs, which had a booth there, and I got to meet IB’s new Regional Manager, Dana Spurgeon, as well as IB’s local reps in Massachusetts – Jerry Lang and Kevin Laprte (whom I already know of course).
Roofing Equipment Presented at the Show
Besides the obvious and now ritualistic visit to the IB Roofs stand, I wanted to find as many cool, interesting and innovative roofing products at this show, and quickly wondered off, to explore the unknown. My first find was an excellent new automatic hot-air welder by Leister – the new Varimat V2.
This new auto welder, unlike the original Varimat V, has an increased and elongated nozzle, and a much more powerful fan built into its heat gun, which allows a significant increase in the welding speed from 15 feet per minute for the Varimat V to a maximum 39 feet per minute and realistic 30 feet per minute for the new Varimat V2!
The new Varimat also has a new computer controller, which lets you save your setting into profiles of various welding speeds and temperature, which can be used for winter and summer roof installations and different roofing membranes, such as TPO roofs and IB single-ply PVC roofing. This new Leister automatic welder is the most advanced tool in its class, and can dramatically speed up roof installation time on large commercial projects. However, it comes at a premium price-tag of about $8000 before taxes, requires a more powerful, 6800 watts generator, and of course heavy gauge 240V extension cords, which can easily make the total price for this unit to be over $11000-12000.
Another interesting piece of equipment I found is the hydraulic-powered dumpster lift, which can be driven right up to the roof line and will let a roofing contractor dump old shingles or other roofing materials right off the roof, eliminating clean up, and the need to use tarps to cover the exterior walls of the hows and the grass, as well as roofing nails all over your yard at the end of the day.
Another really interesting piece of roofing equipment is the automatic plates and fastener driver from OMG Roofing. Last year, at the roofing show held at Foxwoods in Connecticut, OMG Roofing demonstrated such a unit for flat insulation plates, but did not have one that would quickly fasten the barbed plates used to hold down single ply membranes.
Bellow you can see a video of this plates and fasteners driver in action, attaching a piece of PVC membrane to an ISO insulation over wooden deck roof assembly: Once again, this unit uses barbed plates that are 2 3/8″ in diameter and are made to mechanically attach single ply systems to the roof deck.
Solar Roofing Products Presented at the Convention
Soprema Roofing also had a pretty nice stand where they displayed new Modified Bitumen roofing systems with a cool roof reflective layer on top, and SopraSolar roof integrated solar systems. This solar system, just like the IB’s Solar Wise solar roofing system, uses the UniSolar thin film Solar PV panels, adhered to the membrane.
This new SopraSolar system is a much cleaner installation than Soprema’s original roof-integrated solar systems. The roof integrated solar PV systems are more expensive than regular solar systems, but they offer completely water-tight installation of the roof and solar panels, and virtually eliminate leaks.
Solar Roofing Tiles
One more cool roofing product made in Pennsylvania, which also uses UniSolar thin-film solar panels, is a Spanish roofing tile product. It is made to be easily installed with clay tiles and provides roof integrated solar panes without any roof penetration or solar mounting racks:
Other Interesting Roofing Materials and Products
Soprema also had a demonstration stand showcasing its PVC roofing systems coated with natural copper, which would actually turn green as the patina process begins. This system also comes with PVC made ribs, so it imitates Copper Standing Seam metal roof at a fraction of the cost.
Another interesting product, this time for a sloped roof, is a vent, which can be installed along the eaves, when your roof does not have soffit vents. It will improve the ventilation of your roof, which will increase its longevity, make your roof deck last longer, and help prevent Ice Dams.
Ultimate Car For the Roofing Industry
There was also a rather unconventional vendor present at this year’s convention, who designed a vehicle especially for roofing sales professionals. This new hybrid concept car features high gas mileage, wide wheel base and extra cargo space for all your roofing samples, brochures and equipment. Unfortunately, there is no roof rack on this car, so you won’t be able to take a normal ladder with you, but you can always use a folding telescopic ladder, or as most roofing sales people do – measure the roof off the ground 🙂
This new hybrid car is rumored to be a replacement for Toyota Prius, which recently has had a lot of problems with it’s brakes systems and sudden acceleration. This new “bucket” car is supposed to eliminate most problems of a Prius and provide many additional benefits, together with great gas mileage.