Market Overview: New construction starts in residential and commercial sectors, as well as increased investment into improving existing properties, have created steady economic growth in the roofing industry over the past several years. In 2015, residential building grew by 18 percent and is projected to grow another 16 percent in 2016.
However, the majority of growth in the residential sector has been due to replacement roofing with steep-slope asphalt being the primary product used as it is inexpensive, easy to install and durable.
Although small in comparison to asphalt and clay- or concrete-based tiles, the use of metal roofing with cooling coatings as a more environmentally friendly, long-lasting and energy efficient option is growing in residential settings. It has a higher initial cost than asphalt but homeowners are starting to make the investment. The same is true with insulated metal roof panels, which offer additional energy saving benefits.
Synthetic or polymer based roofing is still a niche market, but may gain popularity to replace natural shake and slate roofing that can be high maintenance. These products create little waste in the installation process compared to natural alternatives, last much longer and can contain recycled content.
In the commercial sector, demand for built-up (or tar and gravel) roofing is shrinking as single-ply is growing. Single-ply refers to the class of roofing membranes used on low slope roofs that are made from compounded sheets of synthetic materials, which includes modified bitumen, thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and PVC. TPO has the highest growth rate, but PVC is growing quickly.
Roofing products are mostly manufactured and used domestically. The database profiles 200 unique roofing companies who operate some 500 manufacturing locations in theU.S., with California, Ohio, Florida, Georgia and Texas boasting the highest number of roofing product manufacturing locations in the country.
Tile roofs are manufactured regionally in the markets where they are most used: California, Florida and the Southwest. Tiles, shingles and metal panels are predominantly made in the United States with most manufacturers operating multiple U.S. production facilities. Roofing products made overseas include reflective coatings, adhesives and paints, but the U.S. market is still dominated by domestically manufactured products.
Policy changes have impacted roofing product selection recently as states are passing more regulations related to low VOC (volatile organic compounds, or toxins that get into the air) sealants and mandating the use of cold-applied adhesives and self-adhering roofing.
Additionally, the current workforce of experienced roofers is aging and the industry is having a hard time attracting younger workers. Manufacturers are trying to be part of the solution by offering prefabricated products that ease installation and allow crews to get more accomplished with less material in less time.