As severe and unpredictable weather events continue to worsen across the country, manufacturers are finding ways to create products that will withstand the test of time and climate change while also providing homeowners a sense of style and charm.
Bolder, Brighter Colors
“Darker colors are still very much in demand,” explains Ann Iten, director of marketing for Westlake Royal Roofing Solutions. “You’re still seeing the kind of monochromatic homes—dark roof and very light paint. You’re seeing less of the multiple colors on the home since it’s like a sensory overload if you see too much color.”
“You’re also seeing in parts of Florida and the South a lot of white roofs and more cooling roofs,” Iten adds. “Our metal roofs are coming out with lighter colors and because of the reflectivity of the roof, because of the lighter color, could pass what we call our CRRC (Cooling Roof Rating Council). So, you see dark colors and you see light colors, and of course the legacy colors of the reds and traditional clay colors still exist; but you’re seeing a lot more of a transition to the very dark or very light colors.”
Amy Hawkins, content marketing manager at Cornerstone Building Brands, adds that for metal roofing, dark colors prevail among metal roofs as well. “In 2023, we’ve seen that homeowners are selecting darker metal color palettes that really enhance their homes’ curb appeal and performance. And since metal roofs reflect heat up and away from the buildings, they’re considered to be one of the most energy-efficient roofing materials on the market.”
“It’s most common to see wider panels with lower seam heights,” adds Rob Heselbarth, director of communications at Petersen Aluminum Corporation, of metal roofing. “The aesthetic is more subtle this way compared to nonresidential metal roof systems.”
On the topic of darker colors still being the most popular, Scott Campbell, vice president of sales for IKO, concurs. “Our biggest moving colors are weather, wood and black—darker colors. But people are looking for more; you can’t just have a flat black roof. It’s not, to coin a phrase, sexy. You have to have pop to it. People are looking for ways to stand out from their neighbors, especially if they’re spending that much money on a roof.”
IKO offers high-definition blends in their performance line with a “four color drop,” as opposed to the standard “three color drop,” Campbell says. “You’ll get more pops of color in a shingle. If you’re getting a brown, you might get something that has a pop of green in one of the shingles.”
Though Campbell and Jack Gottesman, marketing services director for IKO, don’t see the bright orange tones of the 1970s returning any time soon, Gottesman did point out that IKO recently introduced as part of its Dynasty line an Arctic blue, a Monaco red and an Emerald green shingle—subtle colors that add depth to the roof.
Sue Burkett, roofing strategic marketing leader for Owens Corning, has a different take on colored roofing. During the early days of the pandemic, when many companies were limiting SKUs, especially colors, Owens Corning did the opposite. “We introduced a new color, our 2022 shingle color of the year called Bourbon. We really have carved out some space in the market for being really good at color. We talk to women, we watch trends, we make some pretty bold moves without color choices. So, while you could say, ‘Wow, we don’t have any new widgets on our shingles or new shingle shapes or anything,’ what we worked on was color.”
Specific to the Oak Ridge and Duration lines, Owens Corning took out some colors the data showed weren’t popular colors, with input from contractors, its sales force and distributors, and re-adjusted others so the colors “popped.” “That’s a trend that’s been out there for a while,” Burkett says. “People are moving away from these flat, muddy, mushy colors into bright colors, and a lot of color and color pops. They want their roof to play a more active role than this passive thing that just sits on top of their house.” Owens Corning’s 2023 color of the year is Midnight Plum—a deep purple-gray.
Updating the Old
Vincent Kiteley, regional sales manager for Cornerstone Building Brands, says despite there being a perception of metal roofs primarily being the corrugated kind meant for chicken coops and shelters, “We’re really seeing it trending towards fashion. Aesthetically, a lot of new roof panels and such have been created that are metal that have a different look than the old, corrugated roofs. Now people are seeing a variety of colors and profiles.”
Heselbarth adds that while most metal roofs on the market are still the standard grays, blacks and whites, they also have many simulated wood grain colors that are being used in accent areas.
“From an asphalt roofing standpoint, the products have changed so much over the past 15 years,” Campbell explains. “It used to be you’d see a lot of three-tabs on the roof, which was a very economical choice, but not what consumers are looking for today. It needs to be replaced more often. It doesn’t do well in storms or high winds and doesn’t perform well in hail.”
“What you’re seeing in the remodeling industry is more laminate shingles, which used to be your upgrade,” he adds. “And the laminate shingles have now become really the base entry product. The cost difference is so minimal that, unless you’re trying to match a current aesthetic for some HOA reason, there’d be no reason to put [three-tab] on that this point.”
Gottesman agrees, saying, “In terms of design aesthetic trends, the laminated shingle looks better. It comes in stronger, bolder, more high-definition colors, and it performs better on the roof.”
Architectural shingles with the “dragon’s tooth” style are the most common design choice, according to Alex Pecora, director of product management for CertainTeed Roofing. “However, for customers looking for a different design, there are many options to choose from that replicate the look of shake and slate.”
Long-Lived and Well Maintained
As one of the most expensive investments to make on a house, homeowners want their roofs to last as long as possible with as little maintenance needed as possible.
Ashley Alfonso, senior product manager for GAF, spoke of the newest product from GAF, launched in late February 2023: the Ultra HDZ shingle, which is 20 percent heavier than the standard HDZ shingle. “Of course, the big innovation that we launched was the time-release algae-fighting technology on the HDZ. That technology is also on the Ultra HDZ, but we loaded it with 10 percent more of that technology, so we can offer contractors a 30-year algae warranty, what we coined Stain Guard Plus Pro.”
Pecora pointed out the features of CertainTeed’s Landmark ClimateFlex series have a higher resistance to hail. “The rubber-like qualities of the ClimateFlex asphalt formula provides each shingle with an improved hail resistance, cold-weather flexibility and granule adhesion to protect a home year-round in any climate.”
People are doing more research to find durable products, Iten says. “So, that’s why people are like, ‘Well, OK, we’ll invest a little bit more money into a better, durable, sustainable roof,’ and metal has been the kind of trend for that moving forward.”
Searching for Sustainability
“We are seeing a trend where more homeowners are increasingly concerned with how roofing materials are made as well as the sustainability of the product,” explains Bobby Lambrix, communications coordinator for Malarkey Roofing Products. At Malarkey, shingles are made of rubberized asphalt for industry-leading tear strength, granule adhesion and wind and hail resistance. “Additionally, Malarkey shingles incorporate upcycled tires and plastic bags to reduce landfill waste and integrate smog-reducing granules that help actively clean the air of emission pollutants.”
Similarly, CertainTeed has developed an industry-first technology: cool roofs with solar reflective shingles, such as Landmark Solaris. “Solaris features a special granule surface blend that partially reflects solar energy, making your roof cooler than standard roofing shingles,” Pecora explains.
Phoebe Kwan, general manager for Saint-Gobain Solar Solutions, says, “New incentives such as the IRA and increasing consumer awareness on solar have created huge interest for roofing contractors. We see more roofing contractors adding solar to their offering, and we believe this trend will continue. Solar installation cost has fallen by more than 90 percent over the last 10 years while energy costs continue to rise.”
“The best way to reduce the impact of asphalt shingles on the industry is to make them last longer,” Campbell adds. “If you can make a roof last longer, that’s less landfill. If you can extend the life by one year, that’s a 7 percent increase—that’s 7 percent less landfill just by increasing the length by just one year. Those are huge numbers when you think about it.”
Recently, Saint-Gobain North America, through its building subsidiary CertainTeed Roofing, acquired the rights to technology from recycling partner Asphaltica that will allow the company to recycle asphalt shingle waste. This technology will allow them to divert both post-industrial and post-consumer shingle waste from landfills.
“By taking an innovative approach and embracing new technologies, Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Roofing are making strides to maximize our positive impact while minimizing our environmental footprint,” says Carmen Bodden, vice president of CertainTeed Roofing. “The Asphaltica technology will help us achieve our goal of keeping shingle manufacturing waste across our network out of landfills.”
IKO also recently started using larger format shingles as a way to reduce waste. “When you make your shingles bigger, you have less waste because you’re using less material on the actual roof. The bigger your product is, it will not only cover more area, but you need less of it to cover that area.”
Even with darker colors continuing to prevail as popular, metal roofs continue to be one of the most efficient and sustainable options for homeowners, as they reflect heat away from buildings and can save homeowners 40 percent in energy costs, Hawkins explains.
Finally, there is the underlayment to consider. “I’m seeing people really paying attention to making sure that houses are flashed correctly,” explains Zach Huth, national roofing channel leader for National Nail. “We want to do everything we can to keep water from entering into the house or minimize it the best way we can.”
Oftentimes homeowners are remodeling a roof after a disaster, such as a hailstorm or a fallen branch. With deadly, extreme weather more widespread and becoming commonplace across the country due to the effects of climate change, insurance companies are more interested than ever in the quality and durability of roofs.
“As severe weather is producing more costly storms, both insurance companies and state regulations are driving this preference,” says Kim Eckerman, corporate director of marketing and communications for TAMKO. “Ultimately, that is leading the homeowner to ask for products that perform better in high winds and hail—like TAMKO’s Titan XT shingles, which are offered with the industry-first WindGuard high-wind warranty up to 160 mph and are now UL 2218 Class 3 Impact Rated.”
Campbell agrees, “There’s a lot of technology going into figuring out ways to improve the impact resistance of shingles. At IKO we’ve done a lot of research development and improvement of our products, and anything that is outside of our base laminate shingle is now impact-rated, so we can get insurance premium discounts in a hail zone.”
“IKO’s performance shingle is also both wind uplift and impact resistant,” Gottesman adds. “And that is both a reaction to the roofing and weather trends over the past decade but also a preparing of ourselves to be in a position to solve the challenges of the future.”
“From just a longevity standpoint, a properly installed metal roof with minimal maintenance should get 50-plus years out of it,” Kiteley says. “In some states, homeowners can get insurance discounts by having a metal roof because of fire protection—it’s very fire-resistant—and most of our panels have a Class 4 hail rating. Up to a certain size or type of hailstorm, it won’t harm the roof, the understructure, nothing.” QR