MRA Update (Apr-May 2008)

Roofing demand in the United States is slated to reach 278 million squares in 2010, with value expected to rise to $14 billion. A recent study conducted by the Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm, reports renovation activity in the residential market will provide growth opportunities for roofing. Among the various roofing materials, plastic and metal will see the fastest growth in the U.S. through 2010.

According to the study, metal roofing, a key material in the industrial building segment, will see solid gains due to the recovery in construction spending in this market.

Metal roofing will continue to increase in popularity in commercial applications and in residential markets. Tiles, metal panels and shingles are being used as alternatives to roofing tile and asphalt shingles.
The study also indicated:

? Despite the weakness in new housing construction, opportunities for growth are expected in the residential roofing market.

? Products designed to mimic asphalt shingles, roofing tiles, wood shakes and shingles and slate will post gains.

? Environmentally friendly products such as recycled roofing materials and composite shingles will post gains.

From a regional perspective, the fastest growth in roofing product demand (in value terms) is expected to be in the West and South. These regions boast favorable construction spending, economic growth and population gains that will support these advances. The West will outpace all other U.S. regions through 2010, despite a less than favorable new housing outlook. Nonresidential construction spending will bolster gains as will residential renovation activity.

More good news was reported by the National Roofing Contractors Association. A survey of their members found architectural metal roofs in new home construction reached a projected 30 percent of the market in 2007 — this a 23 percent increase from 2004. Fiberglass asphalt shingles were used in a projected 44 percent of new residential projects in 2007 — this is down from 50 percent in 2004.

There are a number of reasons the metal roofing industry continues to flourish. The trend toward cool roofing and environmentally conscious energy codes has had a huge impact on our industry. Metal roofing is recognized as a sustainable building material as many metal roofs typically have a minimum of 25 percent recycled content. This level of recycled content allows metal roofing to be routinely included on listings for “green” and recycled content products. Metal roofing is 100 percent recyclable where other roofing materials are routinely removed and disposed of by the ton in landfills.

The secret to residential metal roofing’s energy savings is the variety of options in finishes. A basic unpainted metal roof will reflect much of the solar radiation usually absorbed in the attic and home with an asphalt roof.

However, for homes in warmer climates, pre-painted or granular coated metal roofing systems not only reflect solar energy, but they also cool the home by re-emitting most of the solar radiation absorbed. Where annual cooling loads dominate, a highly reflective and highly emissive painted or granular-coated metal roof is optimal for reducing energy consumption and can actually re-emit up to 90 percent of the absorbed solar radiation. This is extremely important given the EPA reports that $40 billion is spent annually in the United States to cool buildings which accounts for one-sixth of all electricity generated in a year.

As a result of its unique product offerings, the metal roofing industry is poised for growth in the booming energy-efficient, ecologically friendly marketplace.

Bill Hippard is the president of the Metal Roofing Alliance and vice president for sales at Precoat Metals.

To learn more about the Metal Roofing Alliance visit or call Tom Black at (360) 275-6164. For more information on residential metal roofing, please visit

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