New soy-based roof product promises sustainability, excites farmers

LINCOLN — A new roofing product is exciting those pushing for sustainability and Nebraska farm leaders.

University of Nebraska staff and Nebraska Soybean Board officials watched Thursday as technicians applied Roof Maxx to the shingles on top of UNL’s Brace Laboratory. Roof Maxx is the first soy-based, roof-rejuvenating spray treatment that restores a roof’s flexibility.

Jeremy Schafer owns Revolution Roof in Lincoln and says the spray can extend the life of a roof up to 15 years.

“Anything that dries out will need oil or conditioning to rejuvenate," Schafer said. "The soybean oil is perfect to bond with the asphalt.”

Organizers demonstrated Roof Maxx on Earth Day because it’s a green product made from 86 percent USDA biopreferred soybean oil. By restoring a roof instead of replacing it, the product also eases the strain on landfills. The EPA estimates about 13 million tons of asphalt shingles are discarded every year.

“If there’s an opportunity for recycling or sustainability, in my mind you should look into it," Schafer said. "In the past, it was a lot more expensive sometimes… but as time goes on it’s more prevalent, it’s a little easier to do.”

Schafer says the Roof Maxx treatment is 80 percent cheaper than replacing a roof.

Nebraska Soybean Board member Richard Bartek says the soy-based product also benefits farmers.

“What happens to a soybean after it leaves the farmers hands makes a difference on what we’re bid on our soybean prices," Bartek said. "Anytime a new product is developed, it’s very rewarding for soybean producers.”