Metal roofing is making inroads with residential customers by imitating popular profiles. While standing seam profiles have made significant gains in sloped roofing, there are strong preferences among consumers for roofs that look like wood, slate or tile, but have different attributes.
"To reroof or not to reroof, that is the question." With apologies to Shakespeare, the decision faced by Hamlet can pale beside the agony faced by some building owners when confronting a leaking roof. Is a full replacement required? What are viable alternatives? What are the costs involved? Is financing available? How much money am I losing through increased energy consumption and building usage?
The roofing systems installed today are the result of significant suffering and learning, reflecting the lessons learned from fires, wind, heat and chemical reactions. Hail has always been a significant, if infrequent, threat to roofing systems, which bear the brunt of the force when the hailstones fly. For the last 10 years, the roofing industry has grappled with this problem after getting earfuls from the insurance industry. Tired of replacing roofs multiple times in "hail alleys" of the United States, companies have been offering discounts on homeowners insurance for dwellings with approved hail-resistant roofing materials.
The green roofing in the coming years might just be made of silicon. The market for solar energy is about as perfect as this world can create, and solar applications are on the radar screens of many roofing contractors. For many contractors, the way to greener pastures is to be the one-stop solution for rooftop needs. Reflectivity, gardens, insulation and recycling are all great ideas that can be ruined by a leak, so it's only natural that the roofing expert takes on these tasks.
Roofing manufacturers love to sell products. Roofing contractors seek them out. In an age where consumers feel bombarded with unwanted messages, the construction trade is one of those distinctive markets where end users are requesting available products - sometimes urgently. With such willing parties, it would seem a simple matter to connect the dots and provide a quality roof system which would satisfy the end user and provide a solid profit for the manufacturer and the installing contractor, but in reality the relationship is often like a complex courtship based on trust, communication, and commitment.
Once again roofing contractors are faced with a building spree of epic proportions. The frequency and severity of hurricanes are having an impact far beyond the regions directly affected. Factor in the growth in the Sunbelt, particularly in Florida and Texas, that is undeterred by the prospects of material, fuel and labor crunches, and there's a perfect storm of hyperactivity brewing.
With apprenticeship programs virtually nonexistent, the task of training and educating the guys pulling the mop and bending the panels is being fulfilled through a variety of venues, from contractors to distributors to manufacturers.
On Aug. 25, Hurricane Katrina crossed the Florida peninsula as a Category 1 storm and entered the Gulf of Mexico. When it next struck ground in Louisiana near the Mississippi state line on Aug. 29, it was a Category 4 storm that left a wide swath of death and destruction in its wake as it moved inland. As the country is beginning to absorb the human cost and the scope of the devastation, once again the roofing industry is in the vanguard of the recovery.