The show floor was bustling at NRCA.
SAN FRANCISCO - There was enough energy released in this City by the Bay in February to cure any of this golden state's utility woes.

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) blew into town for its 114th annual convention here February 14-17, with a successful trade show, speakers and educational sessions.

Evidence of metal roofing was abundant. This is an area that continues to grow, and is taking the industry by storm. As Geoff Stone, Metalworking Inc. said, the demand is enormous, but now the manufacturers have to step up with enough new products to keep up, from press brakes to hand tools, to support it. His company has turned to Europe to import two new lines of hand tools for metal roofing professionals, as some of this technology has long been available overseas.

"This type of roofing started out only on the high end in residential, but now it's moving into other areas as well," Stone said.

You can get a metal roof now that looks like cedar shakes, or slate. Owens Corning showed several new colors for its MiraVista metal shingles and other colors can be custom ordered. Copper is also very popular. It comes in 16 oz. from Owens Corning, heavier than from some suppliers, with a patented folded design rather than stamped. The overall effect is much more aesthetically pleasing, three dimensional rather than flat.

MiraVista Slate is available now in Sequoia (red) and Sage (green). Two new sizes have also been added, 5 inches and 8 inches, to break up the roof and provide a more random look. The entire MiraVista Specialty Roofing Line is now available nationwide, including shake, slate, metal and copper.

AEP-Span and Pac-Clad were just a couple of the others showing off some of the progress that has been made in metal roofing systems. No longer are metal roofs condemned to having that "fast food" establishment look.

Concealed fasteners

AEP-Span has Span-Lok and SpanSeam roofing systems for both architectural and structural applications. The latter is a concealed fastener system with the aesthetics of a traditional standing seam panel. It also comes in a structural batten version. The batten cap attaches securely to the panel rib with a concealed clip without penetrating the panel or compromising the panel's weathertightness.

Pac-Clad, Petersen Aluminum, has panels available in 30 standard Kynar colors, made with a leveling process for better flatness with reduced oil-canning.

IMSA Building Products showed its "Duratech" architectural metal finishes, with tips on matching metallic coatings and avoiding "metallic color flip" which occurs when there is a difference in alignment in the planes of metallic pigments. Oil canning, it pointed out, is a natural phenomena and not a defect or cause for panel rejection.

RAS Systems showed "the first intelligent swaging systems" in its RAS 12.35. According to the company, an "AutoTeach" feature memorizes when, and how, you set the upper wheel and repeats it for the next workpiece. The operator has only to lead the workpiece, and regulate its speed via a footswitch. It can also "remember" the position in regard to where a bead has to end if it's in advance of the straight edge. It reduces the speed automatically before reaching the end of the bead, changes the rotation and accelerates the wheels in the opposite direction.

Zimmerman Metals Inc. showed its Twin Pan Former for residential, light commercial and commercial panels, which handles steel to 24 ga., aluminum to .032-in. and copper to 20 oz. Its roll formers and roof panel machines can be easily taken to the job site.

NRCA notes that it is a misnomer that its members are all large, commercial type contractors. Among the last 1,000 new members, 900 are performing residential work.

Overall, contractors were and remain optimistic about the nation's economy. Most reported good financial results for 2000. The same can't necessarily be said for the manufacturers. Number of booths was held in check by unspectacular profit margins, and the number of manufacturer-sponsored hospitality suites also was down somewhat from previous years. Firestone Building Products Co. pulled out all the stops in a lavish gala held at the Marriott Hotel.

New manual out

Big news from NRCA is release of the fifth edition of its new Roofing and Waterproofing Manual, more than 1,500 pages in four three-ring binders. It includes several revised sections, new reroofing and architectural sheet metal sections and more than 400 details in both isometric and section views. It is also available on CD-ROM.

In other news, NRCA has obtained an approval listing for wind resistances of select contractor-fabricated edge metal flashing details. The research provides quantitative data regarding wind resistances of specific contractor-fabricated edge metal flashings and a basis for comparison of contractor-fabricated flashings and proprietary flashing systems. A chart of the testing results was published in the association's newsletter, Professional Roofing, in February.

Another hot topic at this convention was energy savings. The EPA has come out with Energy Star ratings for reflective roof surfaces and coatings. Energy conservation, not just in California, is once more a driving force, as was seen at the previous month's AHR Show and ASHRAE Winter Meeting held in Atlanta. But it doesn't just apply to hvac equipment or lighting. Reflectivity in roofing can greatly enhance a building's ability to shed heat load, thereby lowering cooling costs.

But use caution here, contractors were advised. Don't oversell or promise energy savings to building owners or you could wind up in court if those savings don't materialize. For instance, what happens if a white, reflective coating becomes dirty or discolors over time?

At the NRCA Membership Breakfast, Jackie Cunningham was presented with the Charlie Raymond Award for recruiting 13 new members in 2000. She is with Standard Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., Jackson, Miss.

Next year's convention is in San Antonio, Texas.