Roofing demand expected to climb

The demand for roofing materials, which contracted sharply in 2006 and 2007 primarily due to the downturn in new residential construction, is expected to grow nearly 2 percent per year through 2012, according to a study by Cleveland-based research firm the Freedonia Group.

The recovery of the residential construction market and an increase in commercial construction will both provide growth, along with residential reroofing, the study said. Through 2012, demand for roofing in nonresidential construction markets is projected to increase more than 1 percent per year, in line with its pace from 2002 to 2007. The office and commercial construction market will provide the greatest growth, driven by increased demand in new construction applications.

While new roofing applications are expected to grow faster through 2012, the majority of demand will continue to come from reroofing applications. In 2012, reroofing will account for three-quarters of total roofing, according to the researchers.

However, reroofing demand is expected to weaken through 2012, due to past construction cycles that reduced the number of buildings requiring routine reroofing over the forecast period.

Roofing tile and plastic roofing are anticipated to see the fastest gains through 2012. Demand for roofing tile will be driven by the recovery of the residential market, especially in the South and West, where roofing tile demand is greatest, according to the study. Demand for plastic roofing (such as thermoplastic polyolefin, PVC and spray polyurethane foam), which is primarily used in nonresidential construction, will increase as plastic materials supplant bituminous low-slope roofing products.

Asphalt shingles will remain the most popular roofing product, owing to their dominant position in the large residential roofing market. Demand for asphalt shingles is expected to accelerate markedly through 2012 as the new residential market recovers. Asphalt shingles are forecast to account for more than 80 percent of residential roofing demand through 2012.

On a regional basis, the West will provide the best prospects for roofing demand through 2012. The West experienced one of the sharpest declines in housing construction in 2006 and 2007 and will benefit the greatest from its recovery. Growth will be led by the Mountain subregion, which is expected to outpace the average in terms of growth in population and economic output.

The Freedonia study, available at, also contains profiles of the roofing industry’s manufacturers and an analysis of their market shares.

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