Asphalt shingles in the U.S. and Canada saw massive increases in shipments in the last quarter of 2020 compared to the same time last year, though other products didn’t fare as well, according to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA).
ARMA’s fourth quarter (Q4) report on asphalt roofing product shipments shows that, despite the many difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the roofing industry persevered in 2020. With the exception of BUR material shipments, the overall year-to-date totals for 2020 were higher than 2019. Shingle shipments in the U.S. were up by 10.1%, modified bitumen by 1.3% and shingles in Canada up by 2.3%.
According to the report, U.S. asphalt shingle shipments in the final months of 2020 were at 41.2 million squares, which is 44.9% more than the same quarter in 2019. Similarly, shipments of shingles in Canada were up by an incredible 95.4% at 2.5 million.
Due in part to the pandemic forcing people to stay home and not go on vacations, homeowners around the country noticed problems with their roofs and acted accordingly, raising the demand for residential roofing. ARMA Executive Vice President Reed Hitchcock said as much in the the third quarter (Q3) of 2020.
“On the residential side we’re hearing a lot of positive activity and strong movement of material,” Hitchcock said.
ARMA doesn’t provide insights into the report’s data, though it’s clear that the pandemic, along with supply shortages, took their toll on the industry. When comparing the Q4 2020 numbers to Q3 2020, the effects reveal themselves. Shipments of shingles in the U.S. were down by 12% between the third and fourth quarters. In Canada, shingle shipments dropped by 31.2%.
Other materials didn’t perform any better. BUR shipments were down by 16.2% from Q3 to Q4, while modified bitumen decreased by 12.1%. Conversely, comparing shipment numbers for modified bitumen between Q4 2019 and Q4 2020 shows shipments were up by 21.5%. BUR shipments decreased by 20.9% between Q4 2019 and 2020.
Year-to-date totals for BUR and modified bitumen paint a slightly rosier picture. Modified bitumen shipments increased by a total of 1.3%, while BUR decreased by a total of 12.9%.