Market Survey: Low-Slope Roofing Market


Western Commercial Roofing Market: Slow But Steady

by Marc Dodson, editor


It’s been noted numerous times that the steep-slope market has risen in the West due to remodeling, second homes, and home offices, however the low-slope market hasn’t seen the same increases until recently. We’ve heard reports that demand for commercial and industrial roofing projects has been increasing steadily in the last half of the year.

But, while demand may be increasing, so are problems. While we hear of the ever-present labor shortages, there’s also a scarcity of supplies. If anyone has witnessed the armada of freighter ships anchored off the southern coast of California, you could see the problem. These ships contain both raw material and finished products. Manufacturers in all industries are left waiting and their plants are idle.

Despite these challenges, the Western roofing market has continued to grow. By all accounts, 2021 should finish a good year for the commercial roofing market. Of course, it may depend on your market as to just how big of an increase you may experience, but almost every roofing contractor involved with low-slope roofing in the West should see an improvement.

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. The Associated General Contractors noted that overall construction will be down nationwide, but the West has been bucking that trend.

The low-slope roofing market will account for the major share of the total Western roofing market this year, with 56% of the total volume. While the dollar volume, as well as the number of squares applied is up, the percentage is down slightly from 57% last year. This is due to the phenomenal rise in the steep-slope market over the previous year.

Reroofing, as expected, will continue to dominate the Western low-slope roofing market, taking a predicted 56%, about the same as last year. Repairs and maintenance account for 24%, with new construction picking up the remaining 20%.

As for the popularity of commercial roofing products, we saw some changes again this year. All modifieds, including SBS, APP, and self-adhered, now account for 21.9% of the low-slope roofing market. All forms of single-plys, such as TPO, EPDM, PVC, and CPE, have a combined share of 48.5% and are the number one material in the commercial roofing market in the West again this year. Among single-plys, TPO showed the biggest gains by once again claiming the number one spot with a 33.7% market share, an increase of 3.0% over last year. EPDM takes the number two spot with 9.8%, about the same as last year. Metal roofing products, both architectural and structural, saw a rise in their market shares over the past year. Liquid-applied products also continue to rise year after year.

Although nobody knows for sure what will happen next year, from all economic indicators, it looks like the national construction economy will continue to increase as building and facility owners spend some money to expand their businesses. The low-slope segment will again be leading the way, and the steady increase we saw during the last half of this year will hopefully continue.