Roofing Trends: Above & Beyond

Amid COVID-19 supply-chain issues and labor shortages, roofing manufacturers take their product performance to another level.

by Kyle Clapham

A recent survey of roofing contractors and consultants indicates opportunities in the reroofing industry improved during the fourth quarter of 2021 when compared with the same quarter in 2020. Nearly half of the respondents said their customer inquiries grew, and 44 percent reported an increase in project contracts, according to the Quarterly Market Index Survey for Reroofing.

As consumers spend more time in their home during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are thinking of ways to enhance it, which includes roofing, says Scott Schumacher, vice president of strategic marketing at Owens Corning. The rise in unpredictable, inclement weather for more areas of the U.S. also has compelled many homeowners to reconsider the performance of their existing roof.

This heightened interest in roofing—coupled with supply-chain delays stemming from COVID-19—puts manufacturers in a difficult position. They must meet higher demand for their products while making continual investments to boost capacity as well as inventory. Otherwise, they run the risk of extending project timelines, upsetting their customers and missing out on future sales.

Under Development

Owens Corning

Most respondents for the Quarterly Market Index Survey for Reroofing reported they primarily work on low-slope roof systems (47 percent), or they provide low-slope and steep-slope roofing services (41 percent). As a result, some manufacturers have introduced synthetic underlayments that enable installers to walk on a roof safely and increase the performance of the roofing system.

Owens Corning, for example, is set to launch a reformulated DeckDefense, its high-performance synthetic roof underlayment, Schumacher notes. “I think manufacturers are being smarter about what creates a better roof for the homeowner and the role that underlayment ventilation, the hip and ridge starter, all that goes into having a better roof.”

Years ago, Owens Corning operated a small components business and recognized this trend, so the company made a large acquisition to get into synthetic underlayments, he adds. “It’s much safer for workers as well as increased performance with great benefits around tear resistance. It’s lighter weight and has wider rolls. It’s better about keeping out moisture compared to felt paper.”

Owens Corning introduces a reformulated DeckDefense, its high-performance synthetic roof underlayment.

Westlake Royal Roofing Solutions, a unit of Westlake Royal Building Products, unveiled its own synthetic roofing underlayment, SwiftGuard. This product benefits from an innovative, patented nail-gasketing technology that helps ensure steel, tile, shake and shingle roofing systems will be able to withstand elements in all climates and seasons. SwiftGuard may be left uncovered and exposed for up to six months or 180 days, says Eric Miller, vice president of sales and marketing.

“Typically, there was a 30-pound felt that had limited exposure. And when you go back and look at some of the roofs that have been put on the U.S., a lot of the failures with the roofs have been the underlayment,” he explains. “So we focus a lot of our attention on developing underlayments that work with the needs of different roofing contractors for a lot of different climate situations.”

SwiftGuard boasts a high-grip backing and a non-woven thermally embossed facer for increased deck grab and superior walkability. The underlayment is available in 10-square (1,000-foot) rolls weighing 35.5 pounds each, providing lightweight ease in transporting, loading, installation and storing. Clearly identifiable lay lines and fastening markers also allow swift and easy installation.

“A lot of [our focus] is to continue to invest in the right parts of our business, to grow and make our business more efficient,” Miller notes. “We certainly understand that some people may have a different timeframe than what we could deliver. But what we want to do is to be able to be as transparent and upfront as possible and make sure that they know exactly what that lead time is.”

Total Protection

Westlake Royal Roofing Solutions SwiftGuard synthetic roofing underlayment boasts a high-grip backing and non-woven thermally embossed facer for increased deck grab and superior walkability.

Manufacturers need to have reliable access to the raw materials used in the production of their roofing and accessories. To effectively manage the supply chain, companies should establish a degree of redundancy to ensure they can fulfill orders despite any changes in the availability of input materials. If not, their backlog will begin to outweigh the interest in their roofing products.

IKO has always prioritized vertical integration and makes most of the raw materials used in its products, says Jack Gottesman, contractor channel programs director for North America. “It has really paid off because when it comes to our performance shingle products, we are not bidding for granules. We make our own granules; we make much of our own fiberglass mat. This helps shield us from price increases and fluctuations from third-party vendors.

“Nobody’s really been able to totally avoid COVID-related issues,” he adds. “Any time you’re in a manufacturing environment, you’re subject to shutdowns if there’s a breakout at a plant or there is something going on that’s going to require you to stop work for a little while. Trucking is also a challenge—once we’re able to make the shingles, finding the people to drive to their next stop.”

Owens Corning is investing millions of dollars to increase capacity across its entire shingle plant network, Schumacher notes. “Basically, it’s going to add the equivalent of a full shingle line,” he says. “We’re really excited about that to help us meet demand. In addition to increasing capacity, we’re making significant investments in increasing our inventory levels, as well as warehousing.”

IKO announces its Dynasty laminate asphalt shingle will now carry a Class 3 impact resistance rating.

The manufacturer also has put money into expanding its fiberglass mat facility in Arkansas to aid total production capacity, he adds. “A fiberglass mat is fundamental to the shingle. It’s been very tough for our industry to get proper supply. So we’re looking to have increased shingle capacity and increased roofing accessory capacity, which goes into our Total Protection Roofing System.”

IKO promotes a high-performance system called the CodePlus Performance Program, Gottesman explains. “Everybody has to install to code; but, keeping volatile weather in mind, the CodePlus roofing system integrates IKO’s performance shingles and accessories. It goes above and beyond to help people feel more secure and sleep better. It also corresponds to the very best warranty that IKO offers.”

The company announced its Dynasty laminate asphalt shingle will now carry a Class 3 impact resistance rating. Both the Dynasty and Nordic shingle, which features a Class 4 impact rating, offer a wider nailing zone, making them easier and quicker to install. The nailing zone features ArmourZone, a reinforced woven band that helps prevent tearing and blowoff from high winds.

Sustainable Movement

CertainTeed

CertainTeed has applied ClimateFlex, a technology that works at the molecular level to improve strength and pliability, to its Landmark asphalt shingles. Thanks to a new formula, ClimateFlex delivers increased impact resistance, cold-weather flexibility, granule adhesion, and superior UV protection and durability, says Alex Pecora, director of product management, residential roofing.

“With Landmark ClimateFlex, homeowners no longer have to pick and choose between strength and beauty—and with our wide variety of design and color options, there’s a solution to fit any design scheme. Today’s homeowners are much more aware of their space, both the interior and exterior, [so] larger projects such as roof restoration or replacement no longer seem as daunting.”

CertainTeed uses solar-reflective technology in Landmark Solaris, the cool-roof version of its Landmark shingle. Landmark Solaris shingles are rated by the Cool Roofing Rating Council (CRRC) as well as Energy Star.

The manufacturer introduced the CertainTeed Roofing Responsibility program to encourage both homeowners and contractors to recycle old roofing shingles at the end of their lifecycle. It makes sure these materials do not end up in landfills with an environmentally friendly option for shingle disposal by collecting, recycling and then transforming those shingles into road-paving materials.

Landmark Solaris, the cool-roof version of CertainTeed’s Landmark shingle, incorporates solar-reflective technology and is rated by the Cool Roofing Rating Council (CRRC) and Energy Star. Apollo II, a low-profile solar roofing system that packs sleek, powerful solar energy production with great design, provides clean energy without the bulky look of traditional racks and panels.

GAF recently enhanced its Timberline HDZ shingles with proprietary time-release algae-fighting technology that gives homeowners more comprehensive protection for their roof. The product is now standard on many of the shingles offered in GAF’s residential product line, including ridge cap and visible starter strip shingles, explains David Ellis, vice president, residential marketing.

The manufacturer’s sister company, GAF Energy, launched Timberline Solar, a roof system that directly integrates solar technology into traditional roofing processes and materials. The system incorporates the world’s first nailable solar shingle—the Timberline Solar Energy Shingle (ES). “One of the most important advances is the movement toward sustainability, keeping materials out of landfills, reducing waste and our carbon footprint, creating innovative products,” he says.

GAF

GAF established a new patented shingle recycling process that has successfully produced the industry’s first asphalt roofing shingles containing recycled material from post-consumer and post-manufacture waste shingles that may have otherwise been dumped into a landfill, he adds.

“We know sustainable building products are top of mind for many [customers and contractors], and that’s why one of our near-term goals is to refine and scale our patented shingle recycling process capability and begin making real steps in reducing the amount of shingles that end up in our landfills,” Ellis notes. “Our long-term goals are even more exciting and involve significantly reducing our carbon footprint, making strides toward becoming a green building market leader.”

Metal Complement

Cornerstone Building Brands has added a 7/8″ corrugated panel that is designed for commercial, industrial, residential and steel-framed building applications to its metal roofing solutions. The product offers architects and designers a corrugated profile option that can be installed as both a roof and wall panel. The 7/8″ corrugation height creates the structural integrity required to allow installation over a solid substrate or open framing, says John Darke, vice president of outside sales for Union Corrugating Company, which is part of the Cornerstone Building Brands family.

“Customers are asking more about product longevity, sustainability and energy efficiency. They want a roof that will last a long time because they are making a significant investment, [and they want] a product that can be recycled and add to the energy efficiency of their home. Metal roofs really hit the mark in all three of these areas—in many cases, they last a homeowner’s lifetime, and they are 100 percent recyclable, meaning they don’t end up in our landfills,” Darke explains.

“Metal roofs also make a big difference in a home’s energy efficiency. They work by reflecting a high percentage of the sun’s energy back into the atmosphere, lowering attic temperatures and subsequent cooling loads, making them very energy efficient. The energy savings are significant, and homeowners can potentially save between 20 to 40 percent on their cooling costs,” he adds.

Petersen offers weathered steel, weathered copper and 16 wood grain finishes in multiple widths and heights to blend with most architectural styles.

The PAC-150 roof panel system from Petersen would be the best possible choice for residential applications in the company’s lineup of metal roofing products, says Rob Heselbarth, director of communications for PAC-CLAD. “Homeowners typically want metal roofs with lower profiles, which is why the PAC-150 [roof panel system] is ideal with its lower seam height of 1-½ inches.

“To complement a metal roof, aluminum soffit panels are available in solid or vented styles and can be finished in a PVDF wood grain finish that won’t fade, chip or chalk for 30 years or more while providing the look of wood with the durability of metal,” he notes. “For rural homes with rustic or agricultural architectural styles, we’ve been observing designs that include metal roofs in simulated finishes such as weathered metals or even wood grains.”

Petersen offers weathered steel, weathered copper and 16 wood grain finishes in multiple widths and heights to blend with most architectural styles. “Owners of contemporary homes are using metal roof panels installed vertically as siding, which creates a high-end version of the shipping container look,” he adds.

“Keeping up with demand is a challenge as we work through supply chain issues that the rest of the country is also experiencing. We’ve been working with our suppliers to secure enough metal to meet customer demands, and material availability is finally approaching levels from two or three years ago. Our focus will be to work through them on our way to pre-pandemic normalcy.” QR

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