Asphalt Roofing Product Trends: Above All Else

by Kacey Larsen

According to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), asphalt as a petroleum byproduct is a naturally occurring part of the environment, and asphalt shingle recycling—from roof tear-offs, for example—is available in most major U.S. markets, making asphalt products environmentally friendly. Did you know that? While there are likely many things you do know about asphalt roofing, considering it was discovered more than 5,000 years ago, the goal of this article is to focus on the possible “unknows” about asphalt roofing products and the possible benefits to your business through warranties and contractor or loyalty programs.

On Top of Trends

It may be safe to say consumers know and understand the basic need and role of a roof, but there is still a lot of education that is necessary when it comes to selecting a roof. Leslie Franklin, executive director of residential marketing for GAF, notes that because a roof is a large purchase—and one that is not made every day—homeowners may require some extra assurances for what will keep their home protected and looking its best. “The roof makes up at least 40 percent of the curb appeal of the home. With people staying in their homes longer and wanting to enjoy their homes, or even if they’re thinking about selling their homes, they want to make their homes look the best they can and realize a roof is a big part of that. People are worried about what color roof or style shingle goes with their homes. What we’ve tried to do is create tools, like the Virtual Home Remodeler, that are available online




for homeowners to go and play around with different shingle styles and colors on home styles similar to their own, or they can upload a photo of their own home and have products applied to their own roof,” Franklin says. “What we’re trying to do is eliminate or reduce the hesitancy that some homeowners may feel because a roof purchase is a big decision by helping them feel more confident in their choices.”

Part of that confidence is the design flexibility that asphalt roofing allows. “There are so many different ways an asphaltic shingle can look,” Franklin says. “With such a wide range of options, we try to provide styles that fits homeowner’s taste and sensibility.” The company’s offerings include shingles that look like slate and shake, fit a range of form factors and also a range of price points.

Regional and weather concerns can also impact needs, so GAF offers its Cool Series for those seeking reflectivity, the Timberline HD Reflector Series for those in California needing to meet Title 24; and the ArmorShield II line of shingles, which offer impact resistance.

The focus for IKO in 2017 is on aesthetics, premium designs, energy-efficient options and weather performance, reports Mark Okland, product development manager for IKO North America. With the introductions of the IKO Ultra HP High Profile Ridge Cap Shingle and IKO Cambridge IR with ArmourZone, the company reinforces its commitment to meeting homeowner and contractor demand in terms of aesthetics, as well as meeting codes and legislation.

“Many remodelers and contractors can agree that one of homeowners’ top priorities in selecting a new roof is aesthetics and, more specifically, the color and style,” Okland says. “Homeowners demand customization through a variety of color options and shingle styles. As such, IKO offers color choices ranging from cool, calming tones to warm inviting hues that are all engineered using advanced color blending technology. IKO also provides distinct style choices in three shingle categories—Architectural, Performance and Premium—with looks that mimic natural cedar shakes, and even those that

TAMKO Building Products

TAMKO Building Products


have the appearance of natural slate.”

TAMKO Building Products’ Director of Communications Ron Cook echoes that consumers are more interested in a designed exterior than ever before, and one of the company’s solutions that supports design and color flexibility is its asphalt shingle offerings in America’s Natural Colors. “Today’s architectural shingles and steeper roof slopes make the color of the roof even more important to the overall design effect of the home,” he says. “The colors found in the America’s Natural Colors line have a more varied and dramatic color pattern than standard colors, and enable a homeowner to have their roof complement today’s trends of mixed materials in their exteriors, like horizontal and vertical materials, stone veneer and designer window colors and grille patterns.”

Atlas Roofing takes a slightly different approach to the discussion about curb appeal, and Paul Casseri, shingle and underlayment products manager, emphasizes the company’s tagline: “The color you choose is the color you keep.” The company puts 3M Scotchgard granules into its shingles to prevent

Atlas Roofing

Atlas Roofing


the black staining and streaking from algae.

“One of the biggest black eyes in the market is the way the roof looks. Depending on where you live in the country, because of environmental conditions and how shingles are made, algae is much more prevalent now,” he explains. “We partnered with 3M, using their technology and licensing, and thought it would be a good brand strategy and value to launch a shingle with Scotchgard. We recognized a big problem in the industry and we’re trying to solve it.” The company includes a lifetime warranty against stains and streaks.

Casseri also notes the company qualified two shingles in 2016 for an Energy Star rating and will be qualifying another shingle color later in 2017. “We’re certainly paying attention to the cool roof trend,” he adds.

Bobby Lambrix, communications coordinator for Malarkey Roofing Products, notes the company’s devotion to innovating and improving its building materials, as evidenced in its Vista AR shingle. “These shingles are constructed with durable layers and provide a clean, uniform look to home façades. Furthermore, the Vista AR shingle uses Malarkey’s Nexgen polymer modified asphalt made from quality, reclaimed polymers. Utilizing these polymers closely follows our company mission of promoting the use of sustainable roofing materials,” Lambrix says. “The Vista AR shingle is UL 2218 Class 3 certified, and this asphalt is an excellent shingle foundation because of its protection against harsh weather conditions and superior granule retention strength.” The AR stands for algae resistance, and the granules within the shingles prevent mold growth and black streaks. Additionally, the company offers its Cool Roofing Granules developed by 3M for areas in the Southwest that seek products to keep the house cool and reduce energy costs.

CertainTeed Roofing

CertainTeed Roofing


The evolution of asphalt roofing indicates a shift away from the flat, standard Three-Tab shingle toward the architectural laminate products. “You saw this dramatic growth in the last 20 years of innovation in the asphalt industry to convert the mindset of the homeowner that a roof is more than just a cover—that a roof can be a dramatic design statement. Now you’ve got really great choices and opportunities to truly make a design statement with all these new innovations coming out,” says Mike Loughery, manager of contractor communications for CertainTeed Roofing. “We’re finding that remodelers and contractors are taking the Landmark—the laminated dimensional architectural shingle—as their base lines now in a good, better, best scenario, and they’re moving all the way up to these higher-end products.”

To that end, CertainTeed’s latest introduction is the Arcadia shingle (left), which is a heavy-weight wood shake replicate. Beyond the aesthetics of the product—available in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest—Arcadia is a bigger shingle than usual, so it should take less time to install. Loughery notes its size, along with how the shingle handles, came as a result of contractor feedback. 

Nailing Down

Manufacturers emphasize the primary goal of helping remodelers with their businesses on several fronts. In the case of CertainTeed, Loughery indicates the company offers its programs to provide confidence that the brand will support and help contractors. “A lot of our product development, the programs we develop for contractors—warranty enhancements and things—are really driven by the field. For 30-plus years, we’ve been talking to contractors and remodelers throughout North America about anything and everything,” Loughery says. “We have a whole catalog, called The Business Resources catalog, and it’s everything from selling tools and jobsite signs to lead generation programs to understanding warranties, truck decals and financing options for homeowners. [There are] two things homeowners worry about: Can I trust the contractor, and how am I going to pay for this? So we help them with the trust piece with credentials, professionalism, tips on how to run your business so [remodelers] can make the best possible impression when with a homeowner.”

Additionally, CertainTeed offers individual certifications—Shingle Quality Specialist and Master Shingle Applicator—that provide knowledge on how shingles are made and the proper installation, respectively. Loughery notes that contractors sought another option for differentiation, and credentials for whole companies were born: ShingleMaster and Select ShingleMaster. Participation in those programs, along with other benefits, includes the ability to offer three- and four-star coverage extended warranties as a Shingle Master and five-star coverage as a Select Shingle Master.

Atlas Roofing also sees value in offering in-person programming, whether attendees currently use its products or not. “We have an extensive go-to market program that is almost a one-on-one program where we have roadshows around the country to reach out to contractors in both areas where we have strength and areas where we need development. Our sales force communicates that out through our distributors and personally invites individuals,” says Diane Peoples, marketing communications manager at Atlas Roofing. “The more we get out to contractors and tell them our story, the more inclined they will be to try our product. We really feel like that personal touch is very, very important for our business, and one of the reasons [contractors] are loyal to us is because of our level of personal responsiveness.”

In addition to the road shows, Atlas Roofing offers its AtlasPRO contractor program, which is three tiers. Casseri says the company includes a lifetime

Malarkey Roofing Products

Malarkey Roofing Products


warranty for its asphalt roofing, as well as system warranties. “If you use our components, we’ll actually increase your premium protection,” he adds.

In addition to the resources Malarkey Building Products makes available on its website, blog and YouTube channel, the company recently hosted a training expo in Olympia, Washington. The expo featured presentations on product innovations and installation tips with guided demonstrations. “We plan on holding similar events throughout the country later this year as part of our Certified Contractor Program,” Lambrix says. The Certified Residential Contractor Program aims to provide a “shared value” concept, bringing together industry roofing application details coupled with factory-trained applicators using the company’s products.

IKO offers its ShieldPro plus+ Professional Roofing Program, which includes customized marketing tools; the Extended Iron Clad Warranty Protection; and an online contractor tool to manage warranties, order marketing materials, access training tips and more. Program members also receive perks and benefits on




HomeAdvisor, including discounts and rebates on real-time leads. Additionally,  IKO plans to extend its PRO4 Plus Promotion to encourage contractors to experience the benefits of working with a complete roofing component system and convey that value to homeowners. Rebate incentives, cash bonuses and the top-tier incentive of a pickup truck have engaged remodelers through education, Okland explains.

With multigenerational selling as a hot topic, GAF introduced its Lifetime Roofing System Easy Pro, which is a tri-fold, tabletop tool that includes high-def video footage, to showcase the company’s lifetime roofing system. This methodology also applies to the approach its CARE Group—a team that provides contractor training—takes to ensure training is available in a variety of modes to accommodate contractor needs and learning styles. All educational training is available to its Certified or Master Elite Contractors.

“We provide tools to engage with contractors on different levels. It’s not only multigenerational homeowners—it’s multigenerational contractors,” GAF’s Franklin says. “Our big focus is on helping our contractors be most successful and help them build their businesses.” QR

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