Roofing industry looks for recovery

September 01, 2003 |

Reflective of the slowly rebounding economy, roofing contractors reported a slight increase in upper sales volume brackets in 2002, and expect to record similar increases this year.

According to the National Roofing Contractors Association Annual Market Survey, 53% of the member and non-member roofing contractors surveyed posted sales of $1.7 million and above. This year, 42% of respondents expect higher sales, 42% expect comparable sales, and only 16% anticipate a decline in sales.

Contractors in the Pacific and Mountain regions of the country were the most optimistic about this year, due to increases in the number of retirees and related service industries. Other regional factors, such as weather resulting in storm-damaged buildings, were expected to fuel sales. However, the lingering effects of the economic downturn and corporate downsizing were cited as reasons for the cautiously optimistic outlook.

For the fourth consecutive year, the survey revealed a near-steady ratio of low- to steep-slope sales: 64% to 35%, with an expectation for the more of the same in 2003. Respondents in the Pacific region of the country report the highest percentage of steep-slope work, 50.4%.

Roofing materials

In terms of materials, fiberglass asphalt shingles dominated the steep-slope materials market in 2002, accounting for 44.2% of sales for new construction and 53.3% for reroofing. Architectural metal, the second most widely used roofing material, accounted for 21.7% of new construction and 13.2% of reroofing in 2002. The most popular low-slope roofing materials in 2002 were EPDM, BUR-asphalt, and SBS-modified bitumen.

Decisions, decisions

As in previous NRCA surveys, in the 2002 study, architects and specifiers were most likely to influence the roofing system decision for new construction.

In the East South Central and Mountain regions of the country, architects and specifiers influenced the selection of the roof systems over 90% of the time, while in the Pacific and South Atlantic regions of the country, architects and specifiers had input 75% of the time. Roofing contractors were involved in the decision making about 55% of the time.

Re-roofing projects are a different story. Contractors determined the type of roofing system 81% of the time, followed by architects and specifiers, who were each involved in 50% of the decisions.

Over 2,000 NRCA members and 2,000 non-members were surveyed, yielding an 11% response rate (447 repondents) a slight increase from last year's survey. For more information, visit:

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