Homeowners Seek Cover Beneath High-Performance Shingles

Homeowners Seek Cover Beneath High-Performance Shingles

Two regulatory issues are changing the asphalt shingles market, stoking the sales of high value, high performance laminated shingles. Standard three-tab shingles, long the roofing material of choice in most of the residential market, are losing share. These changes are due to a higher frequency of severe weather activity over the past several years.

Insurers and Building Codes are Driving Laminated Asphalt Shingle Demand

Insurers -- looking to reduce their claims liability -- are tightening underwriting requirements for property insurance policies, refusing to maintain coverage on a residence unless the homeowner replaces older roofing with newer and more durable materials.  Laminated asphalt shingles -- both standard and high-performance varieties -- generally meet these requirements and provide sufficient protection against severe weather events. 

Building code writers have joined insurers in mandating higher performance products. For instance, in many areas of the South and Midwest, concerns about minimizing storm damage have led code officials to require the use of shingles that meet certain wind-speed requirements.  In California, the state’s Title 24 section of the building code mandates the use of roofing that promotes energy efficiency -- such as reflective shingles.

Severe Weather Shapes Building Codes

Sales of asphalt shingles were elevated in 2016.  Many parts of the US -- especially those where asphalt shingle roofing is most often used -- saw multiple outbreaks of severe weather throughout the year, including:

  • Winter Storm Jonas, which caused heavy snowfalls and high winds in the Northeast and parts of the South
  • Severe thunderstorms and hailstorms in Texas and its surrounding states
  • A number of tornadoes and thunderstorms across the Great Plains and the South
  • Hurricane Matthew, which brought heavy rains and winds along the Atlantic Coast

Numerous roofs were affected by these adverse weather events.  In many cases, homeowners had to completely replace a roof torn away or severely damaged by wind or precipitation.

Older Roofs Shape Insurer Requirements

One factor that has spurred reroofing activity over the past few years -- and played a key role in driving demand in 2016 -- was the large number of homes with three-tab shingle roofs.  These shingles traditionally dominated the US market due to their low cost and ease of installation, and are still seen on numerous residences across the nation.  However, three-tab shingles -- especially those past their expected product lifespan -- are highly susceptible to damage due to storm activity.

Laminated Asphalt Shingles Meet New Requirements

Laminated products now account for the vast majority of asphalt shingles demand in the US and will continue to do so going forward.  Unlike traditional three-tab shingles, these products exceed modern insurer and building code requirements, due to their performance advantages over the traditional product.  Furthermore, they have gained favor with style-conscious consumers due to their three-dimensional appearance and ability to be made to resemble slate roofing or wood shingles and shakes.

High-Performance Laminated Asphalt Shingles to See Fastest Growth

Through 2021, laminated asphalt shingles will continue to take market share from three-tab products, with high-performance laminated asphalt shingles seeing the most rapid demand gains.  These products minimize damage concerns and conform to the most stringent of building codes and insurance requirements.  These products are designed to be:

  • Heavy enough to resist tearoffs caused by high winds
  • Wind-resistant to withstand gusts of up to 140 miles per hour
  • Impact-resistant and nearly impervious to prolonged exposure to hailstorms
  • High-reflectivity to reduce solar radiation and heat transfer to keep homes cooler in the summer
  • Damage resistant due to multilayer construction that withstands impacts and freeze/thaw cracking

As more and more homeowners look to replace their roofs, demand for asphalt shingles will rise as homeowners seek durable yet attractive roofing materials.  For more information about the US asphalt shingles market, check out Asphalt Shingles in the US, the new report from The Freedonia Group.

About The Author:

Matt Zielenski is a Senior Analyst at The Freedonia Group, where he covers trends in the use of building materials and related construction products in the US market.