Metal Architecture Home

Metal Roofing Forecasts and Trends for 2019

2019 State of the Industry Report

Ramey Renee

2018 was a good year for the metal roofing industry. With a robust economy, a strong housing market and homeowners willing to invest in better quality, longer lasting products, metal roofing was and is positioned to take advantage of additional growth and market adoption.

Devastating climate events ranging from wildfires to monster hurricanes, destructive hailstorms and thunderstorms also reinforced the need for U.S. and Canadian homeowners to take action to better protect their homes against extremes. The need for improved building standards and practices literally hit home this past year, with metal roofing in the spotlight not only for long-lasting performance, but for being able to withstand severe conditions.

Other factors, such as the rise in residential solar systems, also are driving demand for metal as an ideal platform designed to help protect an owner’s long-term investment. Building and remodeling practices that can help lighten the impact on the earth’s precious resource contribute to making metal roofing a particularly popular choice right now, thanks to its recyclability and longevity.

While all these factors spell good news for the industry, there are issues brewing on the horizon that if we, as an industry, don’t work to combat together may impact our collective success in the future. These include:

Insurance Practices under Watch

Reports from individual states indicate that some insurance companies are beginning to force roof replacement exclusively based on the age of the roof–without taking the roof’s condition or the material used into account. That includes threatening loss of coverage or dramatically higher deductibles if a roof is more than 15 to 20 years old, regardless of any other factors.

Because quality metal roofs can last as long as 50 years, this practice has ramifications on the industry. That’s because homeowners have less incentive to install a durable metal roof if they are told they must replace it after a certain time period. Not only is this practice wasteful, but it may lead homeowners to choose a cheaper, less durable option, which is exactly the opposite of what is needed to help protect homes in areas impacted by extreme climate conditions. Sadly, these shortsighted actions may have the unintended consequence of actually costing both insurance companies and homeowners more in the long run by causing them to select less durable and protective materials.

Quality Standards in the Spotlight

Manufacturers, contractors and installers who unscrupulously undercut the market and sell inferior metal roofing products—either produced domestically or overseas—seriously hurt the industry. Price should never outweigh performance, and education is key. A good quality metal roof should last more than 50 years, have verifiable warranties, quality coatings, and appropriate metal grades and thickness. Regional conditions also should be factored in. More prescriptive building codes in places like Texas and Florida are important, but so is enforcement. Finished goods loopholes are still allowing cheaply made fabricated product to be imported from places like China, and when installed, these products undercut performance substantially.

While unsuspecting homeowners may think they are getting a good deal with a lower initial cost, choosing inferior materials can result in costly problems in the long run. The Metal Roofing Alliance, our members and others are focused on increasing homeowner education to help prevent these issues from tainting the industry’s strong reputation through the development of resources such as buying guides and standards with input from reputable manufacturers and knowledgeable experts.

Housing Market Fluctuations

Rising interest rate predictions and a cooling housing market are in the forecast for 2019. Still, a strong economy and the trend of more homeowners staying put and investing in their current home are key advantages for metal roofing. Signs indicate that plenty of homeowners are willing to invest in high-quality, reliable products with the major benefit of better protecting their home. Horrific climate events, such as the fires in California, are a dramatic and frightening reminder for homeowners that they have to start planning ahead and being prepared, even if they live in places where severe weather and conditions weren’t as big of an issue before.

The idea of making homes more defensible has become much more than a trend. In the coming year, whether it is homeowners rebuilding or taking action proactively, there’s no doubt that the time to invest in durable, environmentally smart and climate-resistant materials is here to stay, and that makes it a particularly favorable time for the metal roofing industry.

Renee Ramey is the executive direction of the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), where she is responsible for the daily management of MRA’s ongoing marketing programs aimed at increasing metal roofing’s residential market share. Ramey brings more than 20 years of marketing and management experience to MRA.