US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

Strong Year for Asphaltic Roofing Industry Indicative of US Construction Market

The recent production report of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association showed that US firms – after a solid year in 2020 – posted even stronger sales in 2021. Domestic production of asphalt shingles (the most commonly installed roofing material in the US) rose nearly 5% in 2021, while US manufacturing of modified bitumen membranes (MBMs) – one of the leading low-slope roofing materials installed in the US – advanced at a double-digit pace in 2021.

For asphalt shingles, this increase in production was spurred by high levels of housing starts as builders capitalized on demand for housing by erecting as many houses as they could (which, given shortages of lumber and other materials, was often a challenge!). Furthermore, reroofing activity in the US remained robust. While some of this work was in response to the many storms that occurred late in 2020, much of this demand for shingles was spurred by homeowners – flush with cash and buoyed by record home values and low interest rates – opting to fix and repair their residences. Many homeowners decided that 2021 was a good time to finally replace that aging roof – not only boosting home values, but adding a more durable and weather resistant product.

In the MBM segment, production was supported by a number of factors, key among them:

  • growth in the construction of such structures as manufacturing plants, warehouses, and self-storage centers, where MBMs are frequently specified due to their moisture resistance
  • the ease of installing these membranes, many of which feature self-adhesive peel-and-stick backings that facilitate use, especially by modestly trained installers
  • shortages (and higher prices) for plastic single-ply roofing membranes due to refinery shutdowns in Texas and Louisiana that lowered production of many of the plastic resins needed to make roofing membranes – MBMs were a much more affordable and available alternative

While it is still too soon to make broad predictions about the US roofing market for 2022, initial signs look good. Demand for housing remains high, while homeowners continue to invest in their residences, thus supporting demand for asphalt shingles. In the commercial market, the prospect of rebounding construction activity as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes should bode well for manufacturers of MBMs.

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, particularly our series of Roofing studies in the Construction and Building Products catalog. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.