Single-Ply & Fiberglass Shingles Continue to Grow in the West
by Marc Dodson, editor
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the roofing industry seems to be weathering the storm very nicely. While the low-slope market continues with its steady growth, the steep-slope side is going gangbusters. People continue to remodel, reroof, or move to new locations or larger abodes to accommodate the switch to working from home. What was thought to be a short-term phenomenon is likely to become the norm. With the pandemic waning, 67% of home-based workers stated they would rather not return to an office environment, and 40% of those stated they would switch jobs if required to go back to the office. Ever since computers became common in the home, working remotely has been discussed. Now because of COVID-19, it has become a reality.
2021 Projected Western Commercial Market
In our annual reader survey, the response was once again positive across the board. The only complaint heard frequently was not enough skilled, or even unskilled, labor. Roofing contractors were turning down jobs, or adding them to an ever-increasing backlog, all due to not enough boots on the roof to take on more work. This lack of labor is costing contractors money during a growing economy.
The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America recently reported that, compared to last year, while planned construction projects are up, so are material prices and availability. In some instances, materials costs shot up over 24% in just a couple of months. The AGC noted that this, coupled with the labor shortage, is severely hampering the growth of the construction market. AGC officials stated, “The Biden administration can provide immediate relief from some of the price pressures by ending tariffs on Canadian lumber, along with tariffs and quotas on steel and aluminum from numerous countries.” AGC officials added that, “The administration took a first step by announcing an agreement on a working group with the European Union that will aim to end tariffs on steel and aluminum from the EU by the end of 2021, but that much more tariff relief is needed.”
Steep-Slope & Low-Slope
Reroofing will again make up the majority of the steep-slope market this year. Several market indicators, including a rise in the resale of existing homes, as well as reports from construction material manufacturers, have shown an increase in new housing being built. Additionally, housing prices of existing homes continue to rise across the West as people adapt to home offices. As stated, this trend is expected to continue.
While new low-slope construction is also increasing steadily, reroofing and recover will account for the majority of growth this year. The low-slope market is expected to capture about 52% of the total this year with steep-slope taking about 48%, an increase for the steep-slope portion of the pie.
Overall, the projected 2021 market is 30% for new construction, 52% reroofing, and 18% repairs and maintenance. New construction rose by 4% this past year.
Western Product Mix
In the low-slope market, TPO continues to take the biggest cut of the roofing pie in the West with a 30.7% share, up again from the previous year. Metal roofing, both architectural and structural, also showed significant increases. Other materials remained steady with only minor fluctuations.
2021 Projected Western Residential Market
On the residential side, the top performer in the West for 2021 will once again be fiberglass shingles with a commanding 63.5% of the market. This figure is up from last year, as the majority of the sales of fiberglass/laminated shingles comes from the high-end. Major manufacturers continue to emphasize their premium product lines, the majority being applied on reroofing projects.
Slight increases were seen in metal roofing materials. These are all roofing products normally associated with new construction, which is a very good sign. The market shares are based on dollar volume of the jobs as reported by contractors answering our surveys.
The Road Ahead
What lies ahead for the remainder of this year? With the pandemic on its way out and the economy strong, Western roofing contractors state they expect both the commercial and residential roofing markets to continue to steadily increase. As in previous years, the biggest obstacle most Western roofing contractors are facing is finding, and keeping, qualified roof mechanics to do the work.
The Western construction industry continues its upswing with new construction starts. The consensus is that the Western roofing industry can expect the strong growth pattern to continue for this, and several years to come.