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Traditional still rules the roofing market

Traditional still rules the roofing market

BD&C study verifies that the industry workhorses — EPDM, metal, and built-up — continue to dominate roofing

By By Dave Barista, Associate Editor | August 11, 2010
This article first appeared in the 200302 issue of BD+C.

The roofing market is saturated with new materials and construction methods. It is the old standbys, however, that continue to dominate the roofing for nonresidential construction.

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), metal, and built-up roofing systems were used more than any other roofing systems in the last two years, according to a recent survey conducted by Building Design and Construction of 352 readers who are responsible for specifying, buying, or approving roofing systems.

More than half of respondents say they have used EPDM (52%) and metal (51%) roofing systems in the last two years, while built-up was specified, purchased, or approved by 42% of those surveyed.

In September 2002, questionnaires were mailed by BD&C to a randomly selected sample of 3,000 readers who buy, specify, or approve CSI Division 7 (Thermal and Moisture) materials, which includes roofing systems. A total of 357 usable surveys were returned for an overall response rate of 12%. Of the respondents, 47% were from design firms, 32% from build firms, and 20% from building owners. By job function, 37% are architects, 26% are engineers, 21% are contractors, and 16% are owners/facility managers.

A long way to go for white roofing

Although white, reflective roofing materials have been making gains in the nonresidential construction market (see related story on page 64), their market share remains slim compared to EPDM, built-up, metal, and modified bitumen. Only 14% of those surveyed say they have specified PVC membrane for a roofing project in the past two years. And just 7% chose thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO).

The consideration of "green" qualities when selecting a roofing system hardly makes a blip on the radar screen in the eyes of respondents, compared to other qualities considered. Just 14.6% of respondents rated "environmental impact/green qualities" as "extremely important," compared to product quality, which was rated as "extremely important" by 86.9% of respondents.

Other top considerations include manufacturer's reputation (53.5%); warranty (51.3%); product availability (41.3%); long-term thermal resistance (41%); manufacturer's technical support/information (39.7%); and price/value relationship (33.9%).

Ease of installation (22.6%) and knowledgeable/helpful sales people (24%) were rated as the least important considerations, ahead of green qualities.

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