There are many contributions to the current roofing shortage crisis. While COVID has been a major contributor, it’s not the only player. It’s just one factor among many that have created a “perfect storm.” The truth is, the root causes of the current situation are more complex than we might expect. Let’s talk about what’s been causing this “perfect storm”, how it affects you and what we can all do about it.
Why Is There A Roofing Material Shortage?
When shutdowns began in 2020, severe inventory shortages became an immediate issue in the roofing industry due to factories taking production offline. These shutdowns continue to have a cascading effect. Even now, factories are not able to open up fully due to labor shortages. Without fully operating factories, fewer asphalt shingles and other roofing materials are being produced continuing to add to the shortage in asphalt shingles that started in 2019.
Severe Weather Events
Major storms have increased the demand for roofing materials. Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc not only in the South but also was one of the strongest storms on record in the Northeast. Both increasing the demand for roofing materials. It’s not just hurricanes. The 2021 Uri winter storm impacted petroleum-based and other industrial chemicals production. These chemicals are readily used to make roofing materials, including membranes, insulation, adhesives, and more.
Specifically, trucking shortages are also adding to the impact. With the trucking industry moving almost 71% of all domestic freight, it’s an integral part of the roofing industry. Right now, there is a massive shortage of driver personnel, with the industry needing to hire over a million drivers to keep up with demand.
Even with specific industries opening back up after the shutdowns, almost everywhere is facing labor shortages. This is especially pronounced with raw materials and manufacturing facilities in the Asian market, where roofing nails and other materials are manufactured. Skilled workers are also harder to come by, which means that increased labor costs could be affecting the overall price for a new roof.
How Does This Affect Homeowners?
The effects are, unfortunately, numerous to both roofing contractors and homeowners. And it’s not just cost. Here are some of the ways you may feel the impact if you need your roof replaced.
Expect to see material prices increases to continue as supply chain issues continue to compound. Pricing may not come back to pre-COVID levels even after supplies are more readily available and demand has subsided. Price increases started in 2020 and are going to continue through 2021.
While there are shortages across the industry, the typical installation timelines for roof projects increased. With average waits between 6-8 weeks, be prepared to wait for your roofing project to be completed while your roofing company gathers its roofing supplies.
Less Shingle Variety
With such a shortage in materials and labor, asphalt shingle manufacturers are concentrating their efforts on producing the most popular shingles in the most common colors, such as black and gray. This lack of color choices may mean you have to go with a backup plan or wait longer until the specific shingle color has come into stock.
What Can You Do?
Be flexible. All roofing companies are working as hard as they can to mitigate this shortage’s impact on our customers and their homes. We are trying to help all our valued customers through this supply shortage by spacing out timelines to coincide work with delivery dates and continuing to communicate about all facets of your project. It’s important that you have a clear understanding of what’s going on, how we are pivoting to account for it, and how it will affect you.