It’s undeniable that COVID-19 has had sweeping impacts on the roofing industry, some of which, we’ve talked about before. Early on, roofing contractors experienced material and inspection delays, canceled jobs, and layoffs. As things have progressed, prices have gone up on materials while contractors have continued to see yet more delays and canceled jobs. That’s on top of the changes that workers have had to undertake in order to safeguard themselves against the virus while on the job. It’s been a tough year for everyone, and the roofing industry is no exception.
Things are moving forward, however. Where does the roofing industry go from here? Read below to find out.
Materials Moving Forward
Experts from the National Roofing Contractors Association report that the costs of materials are still increasing. On top of that, shortages of construction materials will continue for at least the next several months.
What is happening to cause rising prices and delays? There are a few problems. Lockdowns severely disrupted supply chains, particularly sectors supplying raw materials for construction. Tariffs have gone up, too, which when paired with lowered supply and steady demand, drives prices up. Just about every manufactured component in the roofing business has been affected, which is why the NRCA recommends that roofing contractors stay on top of pricing trends and shipping times so that they can plan accordingly around increased prices and longer lead times.
A Rosy Picture for Roofing Contractors
Despite delays in material production and shipping times, and despite rising costs, the future looks quite bright for roofers. The NRCA recently published the results from their first-ever market index survey for roofing, and the results were surprising.
- 33% of respondents reported increasing customer inquiries in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, while 37% reported no change in activity, and 30% reported a decline in customer inquiries.
- Project contracts fared similarly, with 31% reporting increases while 32% reported decreases.
- 46% of roofing contractors reported project backlogs of one to two months, and 23% reported backlogs spanning three to four months.
This data reveals that the roofing industry hasn’t ground to a halt—and it has bounced back from initial shutdowns, too. What’s happening to cause this?
To put it simply, the roofing industry is resilient amid a struggling economy because roofing is essential. Weather will still take its toll on roofing systems, be it normal wear and tear or storm damage—and roofers must be there to replace and repair as necessary to protect their clients’ homes.
Some even speculate that the pandemic has been beneficial for roofers simply because more people are home more often. That, in turn, has led to people focusing more on the home. It could be that working from home means people are taking more notice of elements, like their roofs, that need repair or replacement, or it could be that with the renewed emphasis on homes, people simply want to make improvements to make their dwellings the best that they can be.
Either way, the way forward looks bright indeed for people in the roofing industry. Materials will continue to present challenges in the form of rising costs and long lead times, but pandemic or no, the demand for roof repairs and replacements will always exist.