Western Low-Slope Roofing Market Levels Out
by Marc Dodson, editor
With COVID-19 dominating the news, every aspect of our lives has been touched, and the roofing industry is no exception. While we recently reported that the steep-slope market has risen in the West due to remodeling, second homes, and home offices, the low-slope market hasn’t been so lucky.
Reports from around the West indicate that some areas are up, and some are down. The net result will be a flat commercial roofing market for 2020. The Associated General Contractors (AGC) recently reported that while 26,000 construction jobs were added last month, many commercial projects were being put on hold. On the plus side, we’ve also heard reports that many school districts have been using this down time for remodeling and repair projects. The same can be said for several, but not many, manufacturing facilities that have been put on hiatus.
With very few exceptions, the low-slope roofing contractors we contacted, as well as several manufacturers, shared the opinion that the final totals for the 2020 Western commercial market would be relatively flat this year. Additionally, figures compiled from our own survey, plus information derived from several industry sources, indicate the same for commercial and industrial roofing construction in the Western half of the United States.
Despite this bad news, the low-slope roofing market will still account for the major share of the total Western roofing market this year, with 55% of the total volume. This is due to the rise in the steep-slope market over the previous year.
Reroofing, as always, dominates the Western low-slope roofing market, taking a predicted 55%, up from last year as many new commercial construction projects have been put on hold. Repairs and maintenance account for 23%, with new construction picking up the remaining 22%.
As far as the popularity of commercial roofing products, we saw some changes again this year. All modifieds, including SBS, APP, and self-adhered, now account for 23.9% of the low-slope roofing market. All forms of single-ply products, such as TPO, EPDM, PVC, and CPE, have a combined share of 45.3% and are the number one material in the commercial roofing market in the West again this year. This is up slightly from the 44.5% last year.
Among single-ply products, TPO showed the biggest gains by once again claiming the number one spot with a 30.7% market share. SBS takes the number two spot with 10.7%, also up very slightly from last year.
As single-ply products increase, BUR continues its decline. It comes in this year with 5.3%, dropping from 6.1% last year. Liquid-applied products stay about the same with 9.5%. Metal roofing products, both architectural and structural, also saw a rise in their market shares over the past year.
Of course, nobody knows what will happen next year. All reports indicate that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon. Once distributed, we will see the light at the end of the tunnel for this global pandemic. The construction industry should rebound with a vengeance. Building and facility owners will once again be spending money as the economy grows, and roofing contractors will reap the benefits.