How Will Future Technology Revolutionise Roofing?
New technology is always being introduced in an effort to improve our lives. Roofing is no different, from newer green roofs to solar shingles our homes are being prepared to both help our environment and cut down on living costs.
Technology has altered just about every aspect of our lives, especially over the last couple of decades. It has changed the way we relax, the way live, and the way we work. The construction industry is no different, with contractors, tradespeople and construction workers all making use of new tech to improve how they manage their work.
But what about roofers? Roofing, no doubt, has certainly benefitted from technology. New and more convenient tools are making complex jobs quicker and more accessible. But if you take away the gadgets, roofing will start to look very much like it did a few decades ago.
However, in recent years, innovative minds have started to take greater and greater strides into rethinking roofing as a whole. We’re going to be looking at just some of these ideas below. We will also consider how important new technologies are to roofing and weigh up the pros and cons of incorporating newer technologies into your own project.
- Is Technology Important to Roofing?
- Will I Need to Utilise New Technology When Roofing?
- New Roofing Technologies
- Inspired Yet?
Technology is important to roofing, although not any one piece in particular. From handy tools to popular modern materials including synthetic tiles and solar panels, all technology is cumulative – the building of what came before to improve what comes next. At the core of this, is gradual advances in design and production techniques.
Take, for example, the stellar lithium-ion batteries found in a variety of power tools from drills to saws. These tools are very popular in the roofing trade, but the batteries that power them were only recently introduced, having been around for the last decade or so. Synthetic tiles are the same, despite being somewhat recent, they have surged in popularity over a short time.
And as time goes on, new technology will be even more vital. Not just because of the changing way we rely on certain tools, but also the changing world. As we’ll look more closely at below, green roofs are just one example of a recent technological innovation that allows roofers to be more sustainable in a world where protecting our environment is more important than ever.
Many roofers may well reject newer technology in favour of tried, tested, and traditional methods. Some are even very popular for this reason – after all if it isn’t broken, why fix it? However, there is something to be said for finding a middle ground.
Some tech is ideal for speeding up jobs. Advanced power tools and workflow apps, such as DeWALTS Tool Connect™, are just two examples that aid in planning, budgeting, and building.
What’s more, if you were to reject technology altogether, you will quickly find yourself falling behind the competition. Those who do use such modern tools and equipment may well be able to get the job done quicker and possibly cheaper.
However, like many industries, the market for these products and applications has become rather bloated. It helps to be able to separate the useful from the useless. Budgeting apps are all well and good, but do you really need multiple versions of an app that does the same thing?
Likewise, you should also be careful of falling prey to the ‘lustre’ of brand-new tech that perhaps hasn’t been developed enough to make it more practical than the tried and true. Solar tiles for example, as of 2022 at least, remain just as efficient (if not less so) than solar panels but require your roof to be replaced.
Below we look at some of the most popular new technologies that have taken the roofing market by storm.
Cool roofs are the perfect tools to combat high temperatures - which may well become a more frequent scenario with the increasingly warming climate.
Not only this, but the UK public is spending an increasing amount on keeping homes cool, a trend that is only set to worsen as the temperatures rise which, if the 2020 UK climate report is anything to go by, is more than likely. Cool roofs are an excellent way to keep down the resulting energy bills, which could even prove to be as expensive as our winter energy costs.
How do they work? Well, a normal roof tends to absorb heat from the sun, making it extremely hot on the inside of your home. Combine this with the fact that heat tends to rise, and it’s little wonder the rooms higher up in our homes and apartment buildings tend to get unbearably warm in the summer months.
Cool roofs utilise a recently designed reflective coating that is able to reflect that heat away from your roof. While this technology has been around for a while, only recently has it started to advance. The coating also works to prevent your roof from receiving various symptoms of sun damage.
A favourite amongst many fans of sustainability and modern architecture alike, green roofs allow the property owner to turn their roof into an entire self-sustaining ecosystem. Complete with flowers and grass that work together to form a fantastic environment for animal life that would otherwise struggle to eke out a living in urban areas.
Green roofs are mostly designed for flat roofs, bringing them life with vibrant greenery and an array of insect species that will be attracted to them. Though some very rare cases have seen experienced green roofers bring these systems to pitched roofs.
Green roofs have only become possible in recent years thanks to the designs of the trays and other accessories that have been produced to ensure that a green roof can thrive without threatening the structure of the roof itself.
Water control, weight support, and ease of maintenance have all been considered when designing these trays, making them products that could only exist in this more advanced era of technology and production.
Never before has roof inspection been simpler or safer thanks to the increasing variety and affordability of drones. Even cheaper models possess cameras that make it easier to explore a roof without having to venture up onto it, making it much easier to avoid problems and dangerous situations.
Drones can take some getting used to when it comes to operation, as you may find the controls a bit finicky at first, especially if you’ve never used a remote-controlled vehicle before.
It should also be noted that controls will vary from model to model, with mid-range drones usually offering the most intuitive experience for newcomers.
Drones can be used for a variety of projects, including exploring hard to reach areas of the roof for inspection. However, they mostly serve as a tool for observing and planning as opposed to aiding in work.
Please note that some areas have laws when it comes to drone operation, so whether you are a homeowner or a tradesperson, be sure to check these out before flying a drone around your property.
Recently developed integrations of building-integrated photovoltaics (also known as BIVPs) have allowed solar panels to be combined with other roofing materials. The results are known as solar shingles, and they’re yet another fantastic way to cut down your electricity costs.
Far removed from the typical image of a roof solar panel, these shingles are light in weight and highly efficient compared to their predecessors. Think of how large yet primitive mobile phones used to be compared to now, and you get an idea of the path solar panels have taken to change with the times.
There are different types of solar shingles. Some are quite obvious up on your roof, but others are able to blend in incredibly well with the rest of your roof shingles, and yet remain efficient enough to perform as a viable backup source of power.
However, it should be kept in mind that this technology is still developing, and these shingles still require a lot of sunlight in order to perform well.
Apps are everywhere in roofing. From helping you visualise the appearance of your roof to the calculators you can find on this very site, there are countless ways to use tech to speed up your jobs.
Some applications will be free to use, while others may require a one-off payment or subscription.
Some applications also make use of augmented reality. A fantastic way to get more immersed in your planning and design stages.
There is a difference between augmented reality (‘placing’ something from an app into the world around you via a camera, usually on your phone) and virtual reality (‘placing’ you in the world of the app, usually via a specialised headset), but both have been utilised to make the work of builders and architects more accessible.
See what your roof would look like with a different set of tiles or find yourself walking around a house that hasn’t even been built yet. The possibilities are endless with these different milestones in virtual world development, that combine surprisingly well with the needs of roofers and contractors alike.
Some of these innovations can be found right here, including our collection of green roof kits designed to aid you in creating some of the best green roof spaces possible. Designed specifically for flat roofs, you can add a touch of natural splendour to your extension, bungalow, apartment, or garage with ease.
If you have any questions about what we’ve explored here, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our award-winning customer services team either by phone at 01295 565 565 or using the chat below. They will do their best to answer any questions you may have, as well as guide you to the best product for your next big project.