Editor’s Note: Gauging the pulse of the roofing industry annually continues to be a challenge as roofers adapt to rapidly changing marketplace. In addition to the survey circulated last fall that laid the foundation for the 2022 Roofing Report, RC also sought out the opinions of leaders from all segments of the industry.
As part of RC’s continuing coverage, here’s what Dan Williams, managing director of Mule-Hide Products Co. Inc., shared with us.
RC: How would you sum up Mule-Hide’s 2021?
DW: I would sum up 2021 as a year of adaptation. Mule-Hide associates succeeded in navigating the new world of working with COVID to then be faced with the worst supply constraints in industry history. I could not be prouder of our folks for the tremendous accomplishments they achieved under immense pressure.
An important positive to come out of the pandemic and the supply issues is the stronger relationships that we and our distributor partners have built with our contractors. We have worked together more closely than ever to plan jobs, keep jobs on schedule, and get products where they need to be when they need to be there. No easy task, I assure you. That teamwork and those relationships will carry over long after these current issues are behind us.
It was also a busy year for us on the new product front. We introduced six new products in 2021, ranging from adhesives and sealants to storm-ready roof boards, a high-tech primer that enables the easy electronic detection of leaks, and an innovative temporary roof option that allows homeowners to stay in their homes, even with a heavily damaged roof.
RC: How would you characterize the state of the roofing industry in 2022?
DW: I believe we will continue to see strong roofing demand through 2022. There is a lot of work out there to be done. The biggest hurdle facing manufacturers will continue to be obtaining the raw materials needed to make roofing products. The necessary manufacturing capacity exists; the raw materials are the primary issue. Unfortunately, this will likely also translate into continued inflation for most, if not all, of 2022.
RC: How was Mule-Hide impacted by the global the supply-chain crisis, and where/how did you find some stability?
DW: The supply-chain crisis most impacted us in the form of price increases. We never want to surprise our distributor and contractor partners with dramatic price increases that become difficult for all of us to absorb through the whole chain, but it was happening, sometimes monthly. Every announced increase just fueled more abnormal seasonal buying. It became very difficult to determine priority of customer needs.
RC: This year’s survey data showed continued optimism as sales projections for coatings are trending up. What is it about the coatings market that’s working?
DW: For a variety of reasons, property owners may look for ways to extend the lives of their existing roofing systems and delay investing in a new roof. Coatings are an excellent way to do that. As long as a building’s roof is structurally sound, coatings can give it years of additional life. Reflective white roofs also meet increasingly stringent codes related to energy efficiency. Additionally, contractors who have coatings in their arsenal have greater flexibility in navigating challenges in the supply chain.
RC: Why is that good for Mule-Hide?
DW: We offer a full line of roof coating systems – acrylic, silicone, SEBS, and PMMA – to meet the needs of any job. Our territory managers and technical service representatives are experts in coatings, and we have a strong national distribution network.
RC: IRE 2022: What are you looking forward to at IRE 2022 in New Orleans?
DW: We look forward to being able to again showcase our products, services and systems and meet face-to-face with contractors. Roofing has always been a “handshake-and-a-smile” business. We don’t expect that to ever change.