A Perfect Storm: MRA Reports Roofing Material Supply Disruptions Have Contractors, Installers Scrambling for Options in Face of Fierce Forecasts
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2021
PORTLAND, Ore.–Shortages and disruptions in the residential asphalt shingle roofing supply chain are reportedly leading to long delay times and price increases in many regions, according to the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), the leading nonprofit trade organization representing the metal roofing industry in the U.S. and Canada. Some homeowners looking to re-roof this year are already experiencing extraordinarily long lead times–sometimes stretching from weeks to months–and unexpected cost increases as supply remains tight and uncertain.
The current situation has contractors and roofing installers increasingly uneasy about the upcoming extreme storm, hurricane and wildfire season, given the tremendous spike in demand for roof replacement and repair resulting from monster weather events and wildfires that have impacted many regions over the past few years.
“We’re hearing growing concerns from installers and contractors in places like Colorado and other areas where spring hailstorms are beginning, as well as those from the Gulf states where hurricane season is right around the corner. In the west, another threatening wildfire season also is coinciding with the squeeze for skilled labor and material shortages of some building products. Taken together, these factors could be disastrous when it comes to meeting the significant potential demand from homeowners needing roof replacements and repairs this year,” said Renee Ramey, MRA Executive Director.
While no company, roofing or building industry segment is immune to potential delays, disruptions or price fluctuations, Ramey says that it’s important for contractors, installers and homeowners to be as prepared as possible and consider all their options to help meet the forecasted demand and provide guidance to homeowners. For some, that may include considering how to best to prepare their customers and offering them alternatives.
“In the U.S. and Canada, an over-reliance on the asphalt roofing industry has resulted in some installers being singular in their focus and driven the need for more frequent roof replacements. But the fact is, there are other solutions that actually may be better suited to homeowners’ needs and the region where they live, and can open up the potential for contractors and installers to grow their business over the long run as well as help take the pressure off short term supply issues,” said Ramey.
To help meet the potential demand and address unpredictable supply chain interruptions, MRA advises contractors and installers to consider:
Diversifying their options
For contractors accustom to dealing in just one type of roofing material or system, pursuing training, gaining experience and opening up possibilities to recommend and install other types of roofs can be a viable solution to meeting customers’ needs and lead to expanded business opportunities down the road. Being able to offer a variety of options can help with business diversification, prevent slow-downs and alleviate reliance on the supply fluctuations of a singular type of material. News of expanding capabilities in the metal roofing industry as new plants come online, for example, is encouraging contractors and installers to consider diversifying their offerings.
Watching out for “too good to be true”
In times of delays and severe price fluctuations, beware of fly-by-night manufacturers and suppliers who offer inferior products and materials and prey on customers’ desperation to find solutions. Using inferior products will result in expensive call-backs, unhappy customers, a damaged reputation and worse. Even when supply is tight, lead times are long and prices fluctuate, using materials from quality manufacturers like MRA members who can authenticate their products and stand behind performance warranties is essential to protect business and homeowners. Set expectations with customers and help them to understand that waiting and paying a little more for a quality product they can rely on for decades to come is much better than the costs and headaches of using an inferior product that may fail after just a few years.
Building product shortages are impacting many industries, including building components. That includes materials such as plywood, roofing underlayment and membranes. Consider work-arounds instead. For example, rather than having to tear off an old asphalt roof completely, oftentimes a metal roof can be installed right over the top. Work with homeowners to help them explore their options, control costs, keep projects on track and prevent waste.
Supply chain issues and set-backs cause major frustration and anxiety for everyone, but especially homeowners who rely on their roof for essential protection and performance and have no interest in going through the process of replacing their long-awaited new roof again anytime soon. Guide them in how to make the best decision for their dollar by choosing a roof designed to be as durable and long-lasting as possible, even if they have to be patient and pay a bit more upfront. Quality metal roofs can last 50-plus years–nearly three times as long as other types–and are low-maintenance, energy efficient and provide exceptional protection in extreme weather, helping homeowners feel good about their decision and increasing satisfaction.
“Manufacturing delays, materials shortages and supply chain interruptions are painful for everyone. The roofing trade is wise to consider their alternatives and look for the best solutions to keep customers happy–not just to weather the current unpredictable situation–but to protect and grow their business in the future,” said Ramey.