Thursday, June 25, 2009

Invent New Roofing Technology to Replace Asphalt Shingles?

In working on a couple of traditional asphalt shingle roofing jobs this year I was struck by the extravagantly wasteful process of materials consumption suitable to maybe the 1940s before envirronmental enlightenment began to emerge in the United States. I thought I should try to invent a better replacement system of a general nature that would work on flat as well as steeply sloped roof pitches, and in areas of high wind as well as blistering desert sun. The characteristic needed over time built up, a little like a third layer of asphalt shingles, yet I resolved to take it all down to the basic principles, or plywood and rethink the criteria of roofing.


Roofing shingles weigh a lot. There are about 20 in a package that weighs maybe 60 lbs. They are made of oil products and cover millions and millions of roofs. They require lots of cheap labor for installation, need to g oover some tar paper or a more advanced product, require staple and roofing nails, nail guns and razor knives and tubes of construction adhesive. A large truck must transport the shingles from a supplier, a fork lift commonly lifts up the shingles to the roof and maybe thousands of pounds of dead weight are piled onto the home.

Asphalt shingles basically are not supposed to be torn up in order to make roof for special tech items placed on the roof, and sometimes allow water leakage because of improper installation not rarely. One can imagine replacing those satellite dishes screws through the shingles with a better complete roof grid antena able to make some kind of deep astronomy contribution wired into a network of roof space-data collectors via the Internet.

A better, faster cheaper material and technology should be invented to replace the venerable yet very old technology.


Metal roofing exists and its good yet costly,easy to install yet not so good on level pitches and tend to get quite warm. An elastomeric roof is good enough on flat roofs but ineffective on slopes because it runs off during application. A new material and technology is needed for roofing that will be modern and forward looking regarding solar voltaic collection techniques.

Some criteria for the new roofing technology would be a simple house wrap equivalent adapted for the new chemical composition of the roofing material. It would be rolled on and held down with nail strips with 12 volt conducting wire inside. The one inch wide nailing strips are of heavier material and have snap in tie places for bracket supporting bolts through the two additional layers in order to support optional solar and panels and so forth.

Atop layer one needs to be placed some kind of a grid to contain a spray or roll in top layer of foam or some other moderate viscous, drying material that is lightweight and hardens to complete water resistance. The new lightweight roofing system should require far less time to install and far fewer materials while remaining effective for much greater periods of time with complete effectiveness.


The advanced roofing technology ought to survive any hurricane without suffering significant damage, and if damage should be simple enough to effectively repair. It should be designed to sustain simple cut-outs of sections and replacement of underlying basic layer, reconnected nailing strip, base grid and top layer. The top layer material should be sold in spray on cans for easy repair when needed for whatever reason.

The advantage of an advanced roofing technology should be many and able to cohere with further advances in roofing technology energy efficiency increases. The grid could become a better insulator honeycomb for building temperature purposes. More panels could be retrofitted without increasing roofing repair costs, and the roof should be albedo neutral so far as possible and mimic the albedo index rating of the natural, but displaced environment. In fact the advanced roofing technology should be lightweight, strong and water resistant with a variety of colors and optional additives able to serve as an efficient water barrier for working rooftop plantings of green vegetables and so forth; the weight savings from not using the asphalt shingles could be given over to food production in container adapted to snap-lock on to the bracket-bolts.

Functionally the roof space should not add to global warming as do asphalt roofs and highways with their heating and cooling cycles, and should not be an ineffective insulator as asphalt shingle roofs. The roofing technology should be simple and low cost, replace all existing asphalt shingle roof applications for a fraction of the price, and support home electric power production from solar and wind generation seamlessly.

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