On The Roof With...A Glimpse of the Future of Roofing

Sourced from the Living Architecture Monitor

Over the last two decades, the roofing industry has undergone some major changes, one of which is a growing recognition of the value of roof space other than keeping occupants warm and dry.   Two veteran roofing professionals share their thoughts on the changes that have been, and where they see the industry heading in this ‘black arts’ segment of On The Roof With…..John Robinson, Sika Sarnafil and Ed Jarger, American Hydrotech.

1. In your opinion, what do you think has been the most significant change to the roofing industry over the last two decades?

JR. The most significant change has been emergence of the single ply roof system as the most predominant system. Built up Roofing (BUR) and hot asphalt systems are losing market share due to environmental issues, cost factors and labor concerns. The combination of installation speed and efficiency and the movement away from high labor-based systems has accelerated the change. This will continue as manufacturers develop systems that are more labor efficient and more environmentally sensitive. Another more negative change has been the practice of accepting lower cost materials and systems versus performance, so called “value engineering”. This has led to more premature failures in all types of roofing systems.

EJ. There has been a marked shift in how roofs are viewed by building owners and developers over the last 20 years.  Besides its primary function, to keeping water out of a building, the rooftop is increasingly expected to provide more value and functionality.  A roof may become a building amenity, such as a podium deck or rooftop terrace for tenants to enjoy.  Or, perhaps assist in handling the stormwater challenges many urban areas must contend with by incorporating a vegetated roof or even a blue roof assembly in the overall roof design.  Resistance or concern regarding a roofs ability to perform multiple functions has given way to acceptance over the last few decades, as good roof design and the use of quality roofing products and assemblies have proven successful.

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