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A look at the roofing industry

Westlake a look at the industry
February 1, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.

By Westlake Royal Roofing Solutions.

Vice President of Sales Eric Miller answers questions about the state of the roofing industry as we enter 2024.

Q: Not too long ago, the supply chain and materials shortages were a real concern for contractors out in the field. Are these issues still happening?

A: Fortunately, in 2023, we witnessed meaningful improvements in these areas. The availability of materials, as well as lead times, both improved and we expect that to continue this year. That said, the cost of raw materials continues to rise and is a concern for everyone in the industry.

Q: Has Westlake Royal Roofing Solutions specifically done anything to reduce the impacts of future, potential supply chain and materials issues on its business? 

A: Of course, no matter what is going on with the supply chain at any given time, we are always looking at our current capacity and resources to make sure we can meet current, and anticipate future, customer demand. For example, we currently have excess raw materials on hand. However, as part of this, we also look for ways to drive efficiencies in our manufacturing and increase our throughput. One big decision we recently made was to increase our capacity in Florida. The state specifically is a big market for our Newpoint™ Concrete Roof Tile and meeting demand can be challenging in the region. We are thus incredibly proud to be bringing added capacity to this important market, starting this quarter.

Q: What impact is the current state of the U.S. economy having on roofing and roofing contractors today?

A: There are some continuing concerns about the nation’s economy. Interest rates remain elevated, negatively impacting new home construction and housing affordability. The general hope is that the Federal Reserve will continue to tame inflation and that incremental rate cuts will start to happen later this year. Once interest rates begin to decline, it is likely that construction activity will pick up, housing affordability will improve, at least a little bit, and these factors will make it easier for roofing contractors to secure additional projects and business. 

I do think it is important to note, however, that despite what is happening with the economy, there has been steady demand for resilient and energy efficient roofing systems and components. Contractors actively serving these markets have had a steady stream of business, even as there have been hiccups with the greater economy.

Q: What would you say is one of the industry’s biggest issues today?

A: The availability of skilled workers continues to be a big issue in roofing. This is unsurprising, as the same is true with most of the other construction trades. The void is driven in part by a workforce that is aging out of the industry and into retirement. However, the lack of labor is also likely influenced by the industry not having done enough to draw the newer generation into the industry. There’s a real need for the industry to put greater concerted effort into not only attracting, but in training and in investing its workers, which will also lead to greater overall retainment. 

As the industry works on improving its workforce, it’s also key that it implement product innovations that reduce labor demands and construction timelines. This is another important way to address the labor issue.

Q: Are there any growing trends among homeowners that contractors should be aware of in the new year?

A: Absolutely and we are watching this closely. Homeowners are playing a greater role than they ever have in the selection of roofing materials. They now spend a meaningful amount of time researching the various options, as well as the performance attributes of each. Of course, they are still concerned with finding the right roof aesthetic for their home, but their research now goes well beyond that as they have become increasingly aware of their environmental footprint, as well as the growing number of weather events happening around the world. As a direct result, energy efficiency and resiliency are performance attributes they increasingly want and look for in their roofing products. Demand for different roofing solutions is shifting because of these consumer interests in quite interesting ways. Consumers are much more willing to invest their money in premium, high-performing products that will hold up over time while offering distinctive beauty and curb appeal.

Learn more about Westlake Royal Roofing Solutions in their Coffee Shop Directory or visit www.westlakeroyalroofing.com.



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