The past couple of years have certainly been bumpy ones—both for the roofing industry and for everyone else, too! How are things looking for 2023? We can’t speak to the rest of the world, but for roofers, there are a couple of bumps yet—and also quite a few bright spots, too. Let’s take a look.
Are Material Shortages Still a Problem?
The answer to that question is yes and no. If you’re looking for shingles—yes, it can be difficult to source them. This is partly due to rising prices, and partly due to supply chain issues leftover from shutdowns, Hurricane Ian, and more. Thus, not only will you need to place orders early, but expect to pay more, and see a more limited selection of colors.
With that in mind, if you expect delays, consider using something other than asphalt paper as your underlayment. Roofing paper needs to be covered immediately, which is not good if your roofing material doesn’t arrive on time. Instead, go with a synthetic underlayment like one of the products from Epilay’s Protectite line. In the event of a delay, these can be left exposed temporarily while you wait for shipments.
But back to material shortages. Elsewhere in the roofing industry, things are looking up. Lumber prices skyrocketed at the start of the pandemic—but they look to be stabilizing now.
With that, other materials—particularly metal roofing—are readily available, too. In fact, metal roofing is gaining in popularity not only because it’s readily available, but also because homeowners appreciate its durability against damaging storms and high winds.
Labor Shortages Become the Biggest Concern
While prices and supply chain problems are currently a mixed bag, labor shortages are something that appears to be affecting most roofers. The Associated General Contractors of America’s 2023 Construction Outlook Survey revealed that 80% of contractors are experiencing difficulty finding workers.
Why? Part of it continues to be the pandemic. Many construction firms are reporting higher levels of illness among their workers—even though we’re not seeing the mass absences that occurred earlier in the pandemic.
The bigger problem could very well be a lack of desire among job seekers. People are flooding toward employers who offer work-from-home positions or positions suited to expensive college degrees that they’ve paid for. There’s little demand among job seekers for trades like construction.
Builders Report High Optimism
Where homes are being built, there is always work for roofers—and according to Pro Builder’s 2023 Readers’ Forecast Survey, optimism is high among builders. A majority forecast more home sales in 2023 than in 2022—and 70% rate the health of their companies as good or very good. Half expect that 2023 will either be a very good year, or an excellent one.
While there are still some troubles ahead—namely continuing supply shortages for asphalt products and labor shortages—there are quite a few bright spots ahead, too. Overall, it looks like it’s going to be a great year for roofers everywhere to grow their businesses.