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Total demand for weather resistant barriers in North America was valued at $4 billion based on manufacturers’ factory gate level in 2017. Residential construction, led by roofing applications, accounted for the majority of market demand. Principia Consulting’s recent report Weather Resistant Barriers – Residential & Commercial 2018 covers products with a primary or secondary function of providing air, water or vapor barrier properties and are applied either to an exterior wall behind exterior cladding or to a roof underneath the exposed roofing during construction. Over the next three years, the forecast for weather resistant barriers demand in North America is estimated to reach $4.4 billion, or nearly a 4% CAGR through 2020.

Capturing Market Share

Suppliers need to consider how to capture more share of this expected market growth. For roof underlayment, demand typically follows the repair and remodel market with over 55% of the roof underlayment replaced on a re-roofing project. However, only 10% of the time is the roof underlayment the same brand or manufacturer as the roofing materials selected. Many suppliers provide complete product lines, from base sheets to cap sheets, shingles, underlayment, accessories and flashing.

Figure 1 provides a look at how often the roof underlayment is the same as the roofing material, shown by respondent type for both residential and commercial projects.

Figure 1: Percent Roof Underlayment Match to Brand of Roof Materials Selected

Architects and builders typically are inclined to pay greater attention to warranty and be encouraged by the manufacturer to use the same brand of roof underlayment as the roofing materials selected. However, when contractors are involved in choosing the roof underlayment they are more likely to select the product they are most familiar with rather than the brand that matches the roof materials used. This preference is found to be similar for both residential and commercial projects.

Commercial builders also are the most likely to match the brand of roof underlayment product with the brand of roof materials. These builders are more brand and product sensitive regardless of whether specified or promoted as best practice.

Suppliers who sell to both residential and commercial markets and offer a full complement of products for roofing would benefit from targeted marketing and incentive programs. Such programs may entice contractors and residential builders to use the same brand of roof underlayment as the roof materials used. The benefits realized for a supplier could range from increased revenue and market share to less price competition and minimized technical risks.

For more insights on the market dynamics and growth for roof underlayment and other weather resistant barriers, contact Principia about its latest report Weather Resistant Barriers – Residential & Commercial 2018.

Learn more about our deeper coverage of weather resistant barriers in residential construction through our Principia BuilderSeries® data products at

Sue Ross
Industry Analyst