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Like many industries, the roofing sector in the United States suffers from severe shortages of roofing materials, service availability, and significant pricing fluctuations. After researching the issue in-depth, the National Roofing Contractors Association recently issued an industry-wide statement to provide further guidance regarding these shortages to property owners, contractors, and commercial roofing companies.

Based on NRCA communication with affiliates and partners throughout Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere around the world, shortages of roofing materials and products, as well as price volatility, appear to be global problems at this time.

Historical Roofing Demands

The demand for roofing materials and services in the United States experienced a steady, moderate expansion over the past decade. As a result, the need for roofing materials and products has grown substantially. Many roofing companies responded to this surging demand by adding field staff and capacity to meet the increased business. However, despite persistent efforts to keep up with the additional projects, contractors in several parts of the United States continue to experience a significant shortage of trained workers, impacting labor pools.

Another factor impacting demand for roofing materials is incentive programs that help clients meet energy code requirements and increase energy efficiency and sustainability. Advanced roof systems help homeowners easily meet these objectives. Today’s roofing components are more comprehensive, adding efficiency, protection, and reduced indoor heat creation. In addition, using thicker insulation and insulating adhesive helps prevent indoor treated air from escaping, lowering energy bills for homeowners. All of these excellent features mean people want to upgrade and renovate whenever possible.

Outside Demands Events Impact Demand

The recent expansion in demand coincides with a commensurate increase in availability. In addition, in response to weather events, such as the extensive storms on the East Coast, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and severe drought conditions on the West Coast, were partly responsible for increased commodity prices for asphalt shingles and roofing insulation materials.

Shortages of roofing materials and products typically occur when demand for these commodities increases faster than their supply. Additionally, transportation infrastructure disruptions such as port closures and other disturbances in the supply chain have resulted in delays delivering necessary roofing equipment or supplies to specific areas.

Like other industries, the roofing sector faces a scarcity of delays and high pricing for transporting roofing materials and goods from manufacturers to suppliers and distributors. While the situation is fluid, product shortages, long lead times, and significant price variation could persist through 2022.

Price Increases

In addition to material and product shortages, there have been significant price increases in some commodity materials and products. As a result, roofing contractors contend with growing needs and long lead times for roofing materials and goods, resulting in high demand. Roof insulation, insulating, and membrane fasteners are just a few of the roofing supplies that remain in short supply.

Furthermore, material and product producers raise prices regularly, often without notice to roofing contractors. In some circumstances, the price roofing contractors charge for roofing materials and goods has changed as well. Traditionally, the price of a roof was determined at the time of quotation by a roofing contractor. In some cases, manufacturers offered project-specific pricing and kept to it for a set length of time. However, some firms recently introduced innovative pricing techniques that take effect at delivery rather than order placement.

Roofing contractors are put in a bind when they don’t have accurate material and pricing upfront when offering a proposal or bid and entering into a contract with a building owner. With prices continuing to rise, roofing contractors and property owners will face significant difficulties in the future due to potential advancements in roofing materials and products.

Manufacturers report anticipated lead times for fulfilling newly placed orders for some roofing materials and products to be 8-16 weeks. In addition, the scarcity of certain roofing materials and goods has led to price increases above 25%.

Material Availability

Manufacturers indicate that they are running their production lines at maximum capacity with limited ability to increase production until they can catch up with orders. Some manufacturers suggest that it will take at least 14 weeks to resolve supply chain issues for roofing materials and goods due to weather impacts, port closures, and increased global demand.

As roofing material levels and products on hand have significantly decreased, roofing material manufacturers and distributors reduced their inventories in synchronicity. In some cases, roofing materials and products are now being shipped on a job-specific basis at an increased rate since the pandemic’s start. This approach is especially valid for roof insulation and covering items and a few specialized products, such as fasteners and adhesives.

Distributors report that there is currently a shortage of delivery trucks getting loaded at their warehouses around the United States. This trend could potentially continue for the remainder of the year and beyond.

Unfortunately, there’s a possibility it could take months, if not years, to entirely correct supply shortages in roofing materials and products. During this time, roofing prices could increase, and industry professionals anticipate that the lack of some materials and products may persist or worsen.

Manufacturing capacity needs to increase through new equipment installations at manufacturers, additional shifts at manufacturers, and facility expansions. As a result, material and product shortages are expected to continue until new manufacturing capacity expands, potentially leading to extended high material and equipment prices.

General Overview of Roof Systems

The roofing industry is complex, with many different roof systems available for installation. The main roofing categories include built-up (BUR), modified bitumen, hot-applied self-adhering polymer-modified bitumen (SBS) single-ply roofing systems, such as thermoplastic or TPO, and rolled roofing materials like asphalt shingles.

The supply of roofing materials and products could continue to remain tight through the rest of the year and potentially into the new year. The severity of these material shortages could also impact other factors, including raw material suppliers, weather conditions, vessel schedules, transportation markets, and commodity prices.

In conclusion, along with rising prices for many commodities, there is the threat of an ongoing shortage of building materials, including roofing supplies such as fasteners, insulation, and other roofing components.

At Flynn Roofing, we are closely monitoring the situation in the roofing industry and will be active participants in resolving any material shortages. In addition, Flynn Roofing will continue to provide estimates for new roofs free of charge to clients in Newton, Wellesley, Dover, Hingham, Norwell, Needham, Cohasset, and Scituate while some materials remain in short supply. For more information, please feel free to contact us anytime.