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US Roofing Demand to Reach 259 Million Squares in 2008

US roofing demand is projected to expand 1.4 percent per year through 2008 to 259 million squares, with value expected to rise 3.5 percent per year to $12.5 billion. In nonresidential building markets, a recovery in the new office, commercial and industrial segments will help boost new roofing demand. By contrast, in residential markets, reroofing applications will provide the best opportunities. The smaller new residential roofing segment will be constrained by weak single family housing starts. These and other trends are presented in "Roofing," a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm.

Among the various roofing materials, plastic and metal will enjoy the fastest growth in the US through 2008. Both will benefit from the rebound in nonresidential markets. Thermoplastic polyolefin roofing will continue its inroads against built-up and elastomeric roofing. Another plastic roofing product that will see healthy gains is spray-applied roofing, as advances in application technology boost usage. Metal roofing will benefit from a rebound in industrial construction from a depressed 2003 level. In addition, the material will continue its incursion into residential applications, where metal panels and shingles are being used as alternatives to roofing tile and asphalt shingles.

Asphalt shingles will remain the dominant roofing material, accounting for more than 60 percent of the total installed area in 2008. However, demand for asphalt shingles is projected to rise less than one percent annually to 157 million squares in 2008, as the sluggish outlook for residential roofing holds gains below the overall average. In addition to the weak new housing market, the reroofing segment will be limited by a smaller base of houses with shingles in need of replacement, as the late 1980s represented a period of declining numbers of housing starts.

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