It’s no surprise that the material shortage across the board has affected everyone in some way shape or form. For the roofing industry, it is definitely not a topic that homeowners and business owners want to discuss, but it is one of the most important conversations to have.
The roofing industry has been hit on both the residential and commercial side and there is no end in sight. It is important to first get the facts about exactly what has happened on both sides in order to adapt and adjust.
What is the bottom line on the shortage?
Whether we look at the commercial or residential side we have to be realistic with how we have been affected. When you think of any product it goes through some form of supply chain. A simplified path starts with extracting the raw material, transporting it to the manufacturer, then on to the distributor, to the retailer, and then finally to the customer. The point is there is a cause and effect on every level of the chain.
Insufficient Raw Material
When it comes to the roofing industry some of the raw materials used consist of Wood, Asphalt, Ceramics, Steel, Rubber, and Stone. Because of the lockdowns in 2020 and the decrease in the labor force, some of these materials are now more difficult to make, ship, and obtain in large quantities. After talking to our sales rep, Blake Christopher from Elite Roofing Supply about the shortage and how they’ve been handling it he stated, “We have to buy ahead of time because we can’t rely on the inventory turns. We just have to build up a tremendous inventory and then look to sell it, which is quite a bit different from how we’ve operated in the past.” He continues to state, “Along with that is just trying to communicate as much as possible on the front end because things are just everchanging with price and materials. Our mantra for the year has become, “everyone is going to suck, we need to suck less.” There couldn’t be truer words to sum up the past year and a half!
Due to the battle of finding employees, a lot of manufacturers are working double-time to keep up with the demand. As a result, unfortunately, a lot of premium residential products and colors are unavailable. Each manufacturer has different names within their color palette, and Mike Bowling from American Roofing Supply confirms that, “The manufacturer side is supplying core colors, so focusing on being well stocked on common colors, weathered wood, black, dark brown etc. is our top priority. Customers often come in looking for a one-off color and now it’s hard to get.” On the commercial side, steel is in high demand. Many of the ports were impacted by the shutdown and by the trade wars. Warehouse inventory is at an all-time low and due to budget cuts, fewer workers are available.
Material Cost Increase
While talking to a handful of our suppliers there is a common thread when it comes to cost increases. When we look at residential shingles we are seeing a trend of 5-7% increase in cost and this increase has already happened 3-4 times thus far making it an average of 15-28% higher just for 2021. If we take a look at the commercial side such as steel fasteners or low slope steel, these materials have significantly skyrocketed in price. We are looking at increases that are up to 50-80% just this year and there is no sign of a decrease yet. To get a better look at some of the increases for a variety of different manufacturers you can look at the price announcements here from one of our suppliers.
How does this affect both homeowners and business owners?
For a contractor, once a job is acquired the contractor will place their order with their distributor and then the materials are delivered to the job. For the most part, it was simple, easy, and smooth. However, due to the shutdown, being unable to find workers and the high demand for materials, contractors are having to wait in queue for their material because of everyone else waiting too.
- The upside to residential customers is that the wait is not as long. Homeowners may have to make adjustments to the type and color of material they choose, however, the demand for residential materials is not as high as the demand for commercial materials.
- Since commercial jobs require a lot more material at once the wait is significantly longer. There is also a shortage of certain commercial materials such as steel, so unless commercial roofing companies are willing to adjust their material selection or job timelines, they can be in the queue for anywhere from 3-6 months.
It is a known economic fact that high demand and short supply result in a higher price tag. However, if you believe your roof needs replacing, contact Kapella Roofing immediately. Prices have already risen and by the looks of the current market, the prices will not be lowering anytime soon. As mentioned before, we have already seen over three increases for 2021 which means there could be more coming.
Types and Colors
For both homeowners and business owners, it is crucial to communicate with your roofing contractor. Your contractor wants to help as much as possible so if there is clear communication on your wants and needs they will be able to provide you with the best options available.
- For homeowners, it is important to know what types and colors are available on hand. When talking to our suppliers they typically had 3-4 colors readily available with specific designer lines. Each manufacturer is different so it is important to have that conversation upfront. Another thing to keep in mind is your roof type. The materials for low slope and steep slope roofs have been a challenge to acquire due to cost increases, but are not impossible to put together.
- Business owners do have fewer options. Blake Christopher with Elite Roofing Supply stated, “On the commercial side there’s so much money out there in the economy. Special government projects and schools received all this COVID money and so they are really pressing forward on their budgets to get roofs done. As a result, the commercial side has been extremely challenging because the demand is way up and the supplies are way down.” If you are in need of a commercial roof replacement, the best question to ask is, how bad does this need to be done, and am I willing to adjust my budgets and timeline?
Many commercial properties have roof exclusions on their policy, but homeowners typically do not. In fact, what we have personally seen with homeowners in the last year is that there is an automatic increase to their premiums in the following year due to insurance companies losing money. In addition to that, insurance companies are dropping more homeowners if they don’t repair their damaged roofs. This is why it is essential to get your roof inspected by your contractor as soon as possible in case there is damage. This way your claim will be covered at your current rates and you will not risk being dropped by your provider.