Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the conversation in the roofing industry. 2020 felt like one of the worst years yet, and many were looking forward to 2021 being better.

The universe, it seems, had other plans. Just as the roofing industry adjusted to the pandemic, new difficulties like a supply shortage crisis caused massive problems. However, it wasn’t all bad news, with companies announcing major acquisitions and new ways to reduce environmental impacts.

RC took a look back at the most-read stories to see which issues mattered to readers in this tough year.

10. Young Guns…and Growing

The pandemic caused RC to forgo its tradition of selecting new nominees for our annual Young Guns – some of the best and brightest individuals under 40 in the roofing industry – but it gave an opportunity to catch up with former Young Guns. Roofing contractors enjoyed seeing how Young Guns Randy Brothers, Cody Hayes, Matt Gutierrez, Bryan Herrera and Tamira Trujillo are doing since their nominations.

9. Tesla CEO Claims ‘Significant Mistakes’ Made with Solar Roof

Tesla made waves when it entered the solar roofing market with its Solar Roof, with roofing contractors praising and critiquing the product. It’s no wonder, then, that one of the most popular stories from 2021 was when Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted to making “significant mistakes” with certain aspects of its Solar Roof product during an earnings call.

8. Roofing Leaders Address Supply Chain Crisis During NRCA Town Hall

This year, the supply shortage arguably became the most pressing concern for roofing contractors, even overshadowing the pandemic at times. Roofing contractors wanting to know the status of the crisis checked out RC’s coverage of the National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA) Telephone Town Hall, where a leading group of industry manufacturers broke down the challenges they’re facing.

7. Dangerous Fall Shows Need for More Fall Safety in Roofing

Falls continue to remain the top cause of fatalities in the roofing industry and is the most cited OSHA violation in 2021. A rash of fall-related roofing incidents took place in the beginning of the year, including a death in Oregon and a critical injury in Ohio. The incidents point to a need for roofing contractors to ensure they’re being safe.

6. Impact of Attic Ventilation on Shingle Life

Roofing contractors know how important proper attic ventilation is and often have to communicate this with customers. To help drive the point home, Paul Scelsi, marketing communications manager at Air Vent Inc., took a deep dive into how attic ventilation affects shingle life with this article.

5. Tecta America Completes the Acquisition of Empire Roofing Inc.

In a major announcement, Tecta America announced that it acquired Texas-based Empire Roofing Inc. Consistent with Tecta's business model, the company and its related operations will operate going forward as Empire Roofing, a Tecta America Company. Empire employs over 700 professionals, and in 2020, was named RC's Commercial Contractor of the Year.

4. GAF Invests $100 Million into New Shingle Recycling Program

As more companies do their part to reduce their impact on the environment, GAF took a bold step by launching a new patented recycling process for asphalt shingles. GAF successfully produced the industry’s first asphalt roofing shingles containing recycled material from post-consumer and post-manufacture waste shingles that otherwise would have headed to a landfill. The company committed $100 million to bringing the project to commercial scale.

3. Roofing Industry Faces Unprecedented Supply Disruption

Unsurprisingly, the supply shortage crisis ended up being one of the most popular topics roofing contractors wanted more information on during 2021. In this article, RC caught up with experts from the NRCA following a webinar on the crisis to better understand what caused the shortage and what contractors can do.

2. Top 100 of 2021

Every year, RC tracks the top-performing roofing contractors across the country with its Top 100 list. The list is ranked by self-reported revenue from contractors, and has become an important marketing tool for contractors in both the residential and commercial sectors. This year marked the 13th consecutive year RC published its Top 100 list.

Those who want to make the list for 2022 can submit their company starting in January 2022.

1. Florida Senate Passes Bill Altering Property Insurance on Roof Damage Claims

Even beyond the pandemic and the supply shortage, one topic became one of the most popular and set off alarms in the roofing industry. Legislation in Florida targeted roof damage claims as well as litigation against insurance companies. The bill allows property insurers to only offer homeowner’s policies that adjust roof claims to actual cash value if the roof is older than 10 years. The bill also allows property insurers to offer homeowners the option of purchasing a stated value limit for roof coverage.

The legislation was temporarily halted, but caused the roofing industry to wonder of other states will pass similar legislation.