Roofing is one of the most important aspects of construction, both residential and commercial, and it is an industry that has continued to grow and develop in recent years. In fact, over the next decade, employment of roofers is expected to increase by 11 percent.
With the roofing industry booming, it is more vital than ever to know about the current trends affecting the field, particularly which materials are more popular with consumers.
What do customers value most with regard to their roofs, and how can roofers fulfill these requests? Read on to discover the three current roofing trends that everyone needs to know.
Rise in Residential Housing
Similar to the growth of employment within the roofing industry, there will also be a rise in residential housing over the next couple of years, which will have a major impact when it comes residential roofing.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates that residential housing starts grew almost five percent in 2016.
Furthermore, experts also expect to see an increase of 12 percent in single-family homes in the coming year, resulting in a projected 961,000 units in 2018, while multi-family housing starts will remain fairly consistent with an estimated 400,000 units.
This continued rise in residential housing should lead to more consistent work within the residential roofing sector.
Climate Change and Energy-Efficient Roofing Options
Several regions throughout the United States have faced horrifically harsh weather conditions throughout 2017. Hurricanes have decimated areas in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, and as individuals begin to rebuild, climate change is at the forefront of their minds.
Both business owners and homeowners will want to protect their roofs from future damage. They will turn to roofers who specialize in the storm business and look for specific materials to use in order to reconstruct their roofs.
People in these areas that are particularly energy-conscious may also express interest in infrared reflective roofing shingles, also known as “cool roofs.” These shingles help prevent the sun’s infrared heat energy and reduce energy usage and cost, resulting in buildings staying cooler for longer periods of time and also less air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The PVC vs. TPO Debate: Is There A Clear Winner?
The two most common thermoplastic roof membranes found in commercial roofing are PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin).
PVC sheets are created by calendaring, spread coating or extruding. They are also commonly strengthened with polyester or glass-fiber mats or scrim. PVC sheets are also known for their flexibility. They range from six feet to 12 feet wide and 45 millimeters to 90 millimeters thick.
Meanwhile, TPO membranes are formed by calendering with lamination, extrusion with lamination, or extrusion-coating techniques.
TPO sheets are typically a combination of polypropylene and ethylene propylene polymers fortified with polyester. Just like PVC sheets, their average width ranges from six feet to 12 feet, but their thickness is slightly different. TPO sheets are usually 40 millimeters to 100 millimeters thick.
But every commercial roofer out there is familiar with these materials. The real question is which is better.
The short answer: neither. Both PVC and TPO have their benefits, and most roofers tend to prefer one or the other based on their history with the materials
However, in recent years, there has been more a push towards TPO, with more manufacturers investing in it rather than PVC. Part of that reason could be that TPO is believed to be more weather resistant than PVC, and it is also more environmentally friendly, a major factor in the current roofing landscape and something that we already mentioned above.
But just because more manufacturers seem to be interested in TPO doesn’t mean that it’s outright better than PVC. PVC is still more flexible and more chemically resistant than TPO, and there are just as many fans of it in the commercial roofing sector.
To put it simply, while TPO may have a slight edge over PVC currently, there’s still no clear winner in this debate. It’s all about past experience and preference.
As the roofing industry continues to grow and develop, it’s crucial to be informed and aware of the changing mindsets of business owners and homeowners and the constantly evolving materials and tools that are now available to roofers.
Whether you’re in the residential or commercial sector, keeping these three trends in mind for the rest of 2017 and into 2018 will put you and your roofing business the best position possible to succeed going forward.
Do you have any other questions or concerns regarding roofing or the building materials industry as a whole? If so, contact us so we can help!