Roofing Material Shortage Follows in the Wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted labor markets, pummeled supply chains, and limited the availability of products, which in turn increased prices in the roofing industry. This situation has led to a shingle and roofing material shortage nationwide.

“The disruptions, shortages and rising material and labor prices are making project completion not only expensive but also slower, leading to more projects being cancelled,” according to Globe Newswire.

Overall the roofing sector has weathered the pandemic better than other segments of the construction industry. SpendEdge’s Roofing Materials Market report projects roofing demand to reach 90% of the $14 billion in net manufacturing revenue initially projected in the U.S. for 2020.

Demand for products ranging from asphalt shingles to solar roofing, however, continue to outstrip supply causing a backlog of jobs and increased prices.

Reed Hitchcock, executive director of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, said in an interview this fall with Roofers Coffee Shop, that members of his organization were operating at full capacity, and expected wait times for products to drop significantly.

“If I had a crystal ball, I am hoping to see and hear from our members that those waiting times will come down in the next four to six weeks, but it’s very speculative right now,” Reed said in mid October.

Those in the industry, however, say that projection has yet to come to fruition.

Jaime DeSousa, Owner of Fairhaven and Stoughton, MA based Sousa Roofing & Siding said, “We’ve definitely seen a shortage in the supply of shingles, and some other materials. We’re lucky that, so far, it’s only seemed to affect the availability of certain less-popular colors. It’s my guess that the manufacturers, like Owens Corning, had to shift their priorities almost solely to the most in-demand options in order to keep up. A lot of us are hoping that this winter, while the volume of work typically slows down, the manufacturers will be able keep production at full steam in order to increase supply.”

Primarily the lack of supplies, such as shingles, resulted from the closures in manufacturing plants in the U.S. and China earlier this year.

Supplies, due to trade disputes between China and the outgoing Trump administration, had already reduced supplies of construction materials, like roofing nails, that are primarily manufactured in China.

But the COVID-19 pandemic forced facilities in both the U.S. and China to close, in large part, because the plants were not designed to slow the spread of an airborne illness like the novel coronavirus.

Also, while construction work was deemed essential in the U.S., shingle manufacturing was not, and domestic plants throughout the nation were forced to close.