IKO's Dynasty shingles feature a reinforced nailing area for increased wind resistance.
IKO's Dynasty shingles feature a reinforced nailing area for increased wind resistance.

With a few exceptions, major players in the $12 billion U.S. residential roofing industry are emphasizing the same things they were a year ago: enhanced wind and impact resistance, more “cool-roof” options to comply with tougher energy-efficiency requirements, and new surface textures and colors that look more like natural materials.

“In general, product development in building materials moves pretty slowly,” says Casey Olson, the industry analyst for roofing, siding, and trim at market research firm Principia. “It’s a mature market. There’s a lot of price competition, but the big players do incremental product innovation.”

Asphalt still dominates, with 75% of all sales in residential roofing. But if there’s one development Olson and others are watching, it’s the steady increase in metal’s market share. Other notable new products include photocatalytic shingles that turn air pollutants into harmless salts that wash off the roof, and solar tiles that produce electricity.

Ply Gem's engineered-slate roofing carries a Class 4 impact rating and is made from 100% recycled resins.
Ply Gem's engineered-slate roofing carries a Class 4 impact rating and is made from 100% recycled resins.

As those new products percolate into the roofing mainstream, manufacturers contacted by ProSales say they’re concentrating on the basics—roofing that can take a beating from the weather, as well as products that increase energy efficiency by lowering cooling loads, particularly in the West. And improved aesthetics that give synthetic materials a more natural appearance are on just about every maker’s list.

The Rise of Metal Roofing
Metal roofing is by no means new in the residential marketplace, but its share continues to grow, slowly eroding asphalt’s dominance. Although at least twice as expensive as asphalt, Olson says, metal’s portion of the market approaches 10%.

“It has a strong toehold in the residential roofing market, and it should have stronger growth than the other materials, so it’s going to gain market share largely at the expense of asphalt,” she says.

Olson cites environmental and aesthetic reasons for the product’s growth. Metal is easy to recycle, making it a winner with green building advocates, while asphalt mostly remains a recycling headache.

Corrugated agricultural, screw-down, and standing-seam roofing are familiar, but metal roofing also comes in shingles, such as the stone-coated offerings from Gerard and Decra made to look like shakes or clay tile. Such products are helping expand metal’s reach.

“Metal roofing is a growing trend, particularly architectural metal profiles that replicate the appearance of traditional roofing styles such as wood shake and tile,” Alex Pecora, director of product management for CertainTeed Roofing, said in an email.“They possess more character than standing-seam or galvanized metal roofing. Metal roofing also has excellent environmental and performance benefits.”

Principia expects a compound annual growth rate of 7% for metal roofing in North America through 2020.

Increased Weather Resistance
A number of manufacturers say the demand for more-durable asphalt shingles is growing. “The market demand for products that will perform better and provide financial benefits to consumers is palpable,” says Stanley Bastek, director of marketing and sales development at Atlas Roofing Corp. “Insurance companies are responding to record-breaking storm activity by creeping up rates and deductibles while continuing to offer deep discounts to consumers who install roof shingles with UL2218 impact ratings.”

Those impact ratings are key: A Class 4 rating means a shingle can handle the impact of a 2-inch steel ball, simulating a hailstone strike. A Class 1 rating, by contrast, mimics the impact of a 1¼-inch hailstone.

Da Vinci's multi-width composite shake roofing resembles natural cedar in texture and grain. Its colors cna be custom blended.
Da Vinci's multi-width composite shake roofing resembles natural cedar in texture and grain. Its colors cna be custom blended.

A push for better impact ratings is likely to encourage more manufacturers to offer polymer-modified asphalt shingles, often referred to as SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene)–modified asphalt, Bastek says. These products have been strengthened with a thermoplastic additive that makes them more durable, more flexible in cold weather, and more impact resistant.

DaVinci touts the impact resistance of its composite roofing, which is made from a plastic polymer, such as the maker’s Bellaforté line.

Ply Gem, meanwhile, points to the durability of its polymer shingles, which, the company says, have been certified by the Florida Building Code to be able to withstand 190-mph winds.

Manufacturers have also reinforced the nailing areas within roofing products to increase wind resistance (IKO’s ArmourZone is one example) along with providing a larger area for the installer to nail through a double thickness of shingle, Bastek says.

Algae-Inhibiting Additives
Olson says at least two U.S. manufacturers are developing shingles with photocatalytic coatings that can neutralize air pollution. An Italian company, Tegola Canadese, already makes one such shingle and is in the process of setting up a manufacturing plant in West Virginia as part of plans to expand in the States. Its ACTI roof features granules treated with titanium oxide to transform air pollutants into nontoxic salts that wash away with rain. The treatment also helps reduce algae growth.

Tonj Ciotti, CEO of Tema North America, says the shingles cost about 20% more than conventional shingles but adds, “It’s like planting four or five trees around your house [for their pollutant-reducing qualities].” Color selection is limited.

Atlas promotes a partnership with 3M that produced the latter company’s copper-based Scotchgard Protector treatment for shingles, which is intended to reduce algae growth and black stains.

Heat-Reflective Roofs
Several makers—including IKO, Owens Corning, and CertainTeed—say interest is growing in roofing that reflects more sunlight than do conventional materials, thus reducing cooling loads. Tougher state and federal efficiency standards, such as California’s Title 24 and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Star program, are helping make such roofing more available.

“There are great things happening for solar reflective asphalt shingles, due to advances in granule coloration technology,” said CertainTeed’s Pecora. “We’re seeing cool-roof colors in brown, dark gray, and black, which was unimaginable in the not-so-distant past.”

Olson says most manufacturers have at least a couple of colors and formulations designed for lower solar absorption, and she expects that product category to expand in the future.

Small but Notable Advances
In a mature market where a competitive advantage rarely lasts long, even seemingly small innovations count. Here are some:

•  At 42 inches wide, and with a 6-inch weather exposure, Atlas’s HP42 shingle means eight fewer shingles per square and labor savings of four hours or more on a typical job, says the company. Its installation guide has the details.

• Mobile-friendly financial services such as GreenSky and Synchrony, which help homeowners finance roof replacements. As Atlas’s Bastek puts it: “By pivoting the conversation away from a $10,000 roof to a flexible monthly payment, the contractor can close more jobs by addressing affordability.”

• Solar shingles, called building-integrated photovoltaics, or BIPV, are gaining ground, albeit slowly. Dow has dropped out, but GAF, CertainTeed, and Tesla are all players. “Solar shingles are certainly a technology to watch,” Olson says. “Eventually, solar shingles should become more widely adopted.” Falling solar prices, increased efficiency, and the federal income tax credit will help solar electricity be more competitive with grid power. But don’t look for overnight adoption. —Scott Gibson