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The commercial market also will see growth, according to a report from Principia. It expects commercial roofing to grow at an annual rate of 4% through 2018, with new construction increasing by 6% and reroofing at 3%. “While a substantially higher growth rate is projected for new construction, many buildings are being refurbished as the millennial generation returns to city dwelling,” the report says. “In addition, older buildings are being repurposed for offices and residences. This is good news for commercial roofing, as it will increase the amount of roofing area put back into play for re-roofing jobs.”

As product designs evolve, they look to better replicate wood, slate and other natural materials. EDCO in April introduced a line in two colors that Doucet says “goes further than our previous options in terms of color looks. We’ve also added texture along with shading.”

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Ply Gem added three colors to its Engineered Slate line this year inspired by roof colors of historic churches and 19th-century buildings. “In architecture, tried-and-true styles often come back around again,” says DeRogatis. Its team traveled the northeast for colors that complement historic architecture.

No one color can claim to be most popular nationwide, notes Owens Corning’s Kasprzak. “We have to have a complete color offering, because nothing dominates the entire country. Some homeowners want their home to stand out and be a focal point, while others want a traditional brown color that blends with everyone else in the neighborhood.”

Styles likewise have stabilized, with shake and slate options remaining popular. “More people like polymer products with classical looks of shakes and slate,” says Headwaters’ Davis. “The slate look is popular because it has an old-world look but it offers much less maintenance than the real thing. Some dislike the notion that it’s ‘fake,’ but the benefits are so significant and the aesthetics are so good that most customers accept the trade-off.”

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That also is the case with shake styles. Ply Gem recently introduced an engineered cedar shingle to join its slate version to provide an alternative texture. “While natural cedar remains a prominent building material in the U.S., it can deteriorate without proper care after years of weathering, so this is our way of introducing a cedar texture that is functional and lasts.”

Performance A Key Factor
Performance enhancements also provide a critical factor in the purchase decision. Those are valued more as awareness grows of the increased danger of high winds and impacts from hail. “There is more concern from customers today about durability in performance and the differences between asphalt and metal,” says Brad Newell, marketing manager at EDCO. “They want value, and they’re willing to pay more. But they’re doing more research and want to know more about the products. That’s where we’ve focused our attention.”

Adds Metal Sales’ Davidson, “Longevity, strength and durability are the primary factors driving the consumer’s preference toward metal roofing in the residential market.”

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