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Metal roofing is projected to grow faster than any other roofing product overall.  In fact, it is gaining ground in high-end homes based on its longevity and durability as well as the ability to be designed to look like wood shakes or slate and despite its higher initial cost compared to asphalt shingles.

In commercial markets, metal roofing is used in a wide range of building types (retail, office, industrial) and is often utilized for steep slope accent sections in conjunction with low slope sections.  Standing seam roofing is the predominant type but curved panels are becoming more prevalent.  Lifecycle costs are particularly appealing to commercial property owners.

Metal roof manufacturers are expanding their lines to keep up with demand and even a few asphalt suppliers have stepped into the metal market. So, what does this optimism for the market mean?

1. Job-site roll-forming is expected to continue as a significant factor in the metal roofing

  • Principia estimates that roughly 25% of installed metal roofing is field formed, primarily by the contractor, whether independent or part of the metal roofing suppliers’ organization. The portable forming machines made by manufacturers such as New Tech and Roll Former Corp have improved over the last ten years, and are becoming less expensive so that more contractors have invested in them.
  • Field forming is helping stimulate industry growth by minimizing shipping and packaging costs, reducing damage from transit, and allowing for significantly longer panels lengths that are not feasible to ship. In addition, it can shorten the lead-time for a contractor to get panels so they are better able to meet customers’ needs and be more nimble in selling and installation process.
  • Some metal roofing manufacturers such as Englert and Drexel Metals have contractor programs where the manufacturer handles the engineering, profile design, testing, code compliance, quality assurance, training, and marketing programs, then sells or leases the portable roll-forming machines to contractors and supplies them with coils.
  • As appealing as on-site roll-forming may sound, there are still contractors who prefer to have pre-cut panels conveniently delivered and ready to install. There are also other inhibitors to contractor roll-forming such as the upcoming State of Florida’s requirement that each panel be marked with the manufacturer’s information, making it more difficult for field formers to comply with codes.

2. Suppliers have the capacity and raw materials to keep up with demand, but there isn’t enough installation capacity

  • Most roofers prefer installing asphalt shingle roofs; installation is easy to learn, fast to install, and simple to fix if there are issues. Consequently, it’s easy to get a new asphalt crew up and running compared to a metal roofing crew. Metal roofing installation involves more craftsmanship and expertise so there are fewer qualified installers.
  • However, misperceptions are rampant among contractors about the complexity and challenges of installing metal roofing. Installation is not as hard as they may think but can become complicated due to conflicting instructions from manufacturers providing system-specific instructions. There is demand for more training focused on the details of installation (where to place screws, how many screws to use) rather than just information about the benefits of the product. Often contractors must learn in the field as they go, which dampens contractor adoption overall, and can have detrimental impact on quality.

3. Metal roofing has caught the interest of the large asphalt manufacturers and commercial building materials manufacturers

  • Metal roofing supply has been highly fragmented with many family-owned, multi-generational businesses and few large public companies. As market growth has made the industry more attractive it has also stimulated a movement toward consolidation.  Some recent M&A activity includes Carlisle acquiring Drexel with whom they had had a standing seam private labeling arrangement.  Also this year, Boral acquired the Headwaters stone-coated metal roofing group. Previously there were several other acquisitions of metal roofing manufacturers by large publicly held corporations such as NCI, BlueScope, and Gibraltar.  In 2017, while the market is still regionalized, there is an increasing number of participants with a national foot print.
  • In addition to the recent acquisition activity, asphalt shingle manufacturer such as CertainTeed and TAMKO have their own metal roofing lines while some metal building manufacturers such as Butler Manufacturing and Varco Pruden offer stand-alone roofing lines.

Principia’s upcoming Metal Roofing 2018 industry report will provide detail around the metal roofing market including market size and growth forecast, voice of customer feedback, channel dynamics and trends, market share review and overall strategic insights into growth of metal roofing.  Contact Us today or download the report brochure to Learn More about the report.