While the roof represents nearly 50 percent of the home’s exterior, homeowners rarely pay much attention to it unless there’s a problem — the dreaded leak, blown off shingles or an unfortunate fire. This attitude is slowly starting to shift and this is partly due to the increase in remodeling activity.
“The hot remodeling market is driving reroofs,” says Lee Nelson, Western district sales manager, TAMKO Building Products. “Roofs are a critical part of a home’s exterior appeal due to their size and exposure. They are too big to ignore. A new roof is an opportunity for a whole new look and better protection from the elements at the same time so the case can be made for the investment in a new roof.”
The result of this booming market has been a new and rapidly growing market segment for premium architectural roofing materials.
There was a time when a basic 3-tab shingle was the only option on the market. But with a lot of attention on aesthetic appeal, manufacturers are adding lines specifically targeting those wanting a unique and designer look. Whether the choosen material is tile, a synthetic material or 30-yr. asphalt shingles with a more dimensional, textured effect — the array of color options and increase in weather protection are what homeowners are seeking and what remodelers should be offering.
“There are more different roofing products available now than ever before but in many cases the consumer doesn’t know about them,” says Nelson. “Remodelers can fill a market need by showing the broad range of roofing options that are now available.”
Manufacturers are developing new designer-inspired roofing materials, largely in response to customer demand for these premium products. “The traditional 3-tab strip shingles are slowly fading,” says Jay Butch, senior marketing manager for CertainTeed’s Contractor Program. “Now, architectural shingles are taking over and become the standard.”
Accounting for about 80 percent of the residential roof surfacing in the United States, asphalt shingles are being introduced in the luxury market. CertainTeed’s Shangle features a full size, one piece shingle as a base. Individual shingle tabs or overlay pads are applied to this base shingle providing a dimensional look to the roof. Part of its Luxury Collection, the Grand Manor Shangle features two full-size, one-piece base shingles beneath a massive weather tab, 8-in. exposure and virtually five-layer coverage when applied.
While tile roofs have been around for centuries — clay dates back to China in 10,000 B.C. and concrete tile was introduced in the late 19th century — recent innovations have allowed tile manufacturers to develop new styles and colors that maintain tile’s appearance while expanding the architectural range to include contemporary and historic designs, reaching a bigger consumer base.
Concrete tile is available in an array of colors and profile styles that emulate the appearance of clay, slate and cedar shake roofs. Since the 1960s, MonierLifetile has been manufacturing concrete roofing materials that provide a great look with long-lasting qualities.
“MLT tends to focus on aesthetics and durability,” says Cheryl Inbody, marketing communications manager for MonierLifetile. “Our product line does specifically address all types of materials; so you can easily complement your home with a wood, shake, slate or clay look. All types of colors are also available, in both solids and blends. Aesthetically, tile is usually thought of as round and red.”
MLT’s Aesthetic Innovation, a process and philosophy the company has incorporated into each product, combines Old World materials with modern durability. Each region has a product line specific for its needs — both in aesthetics and durability.
Eagle Roofing Products, another manufacturer of concrete roof tile, has also developed region-specific product lines that help coordinate the architectural style for that region and the weather resistance needed in a certain area.
Eagle’s collections include: Southern California (including southern Utah); Northern california (including northern utah, Idaho and Hawaii); Southewest (including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and southern Nevada); and the Florida Collection.
Lighter Materials Perfect for Reroofing
Weight was the No. 1 concern homeowners had when reroofing a home. According to Nelson, that is no longer the main concern because manufacturers such as TAMKO have introduced lighter materials that still capture the look and feel of more traditional materials.
Nelson says that TAMKO’s composite materials “give you the look without the weight.”
TAMKO’s Lamarite composite slate and shake shingles replicate slate and wood, but are listed for UL Class A fire resistance and UL Standard 2218, Class 4 impact resistance and weigh less than its original counterpart.
For most reroofing applications, cost and weight become an issue when considering concrete roof tile, says Inbody. To that, MLT makes a lightweight tile (less than 600 lbs. per square), that rarely requires structural reinforcement, nor engineering reports.
“Sometimes, it is wise to check the effects of the additional weight on your home,” cautions Inbody. “This is especially important in areas with steep pitched roofs since they put more weight on the walls of the home. However, weather resistance limits the use of this product to the Western states.”
DaVinci Roofscapes, manufacturer of synthetic slate and shake shingles, says because its engineered polymer product is lightweight, DaVinci Slate eliminates the time and expense of reinforcing the roof structure. Adding to this quality, Dan Harrell, public relations representative for DaVinci, says its three most important attributes are: thickness (1/2-in. profile), five shingle widths and colors of 19 earth tones.
Color, Color, Color
According to data from a recent survey conducted by national research firm Synovate for TAMKO Building Products, more than 65 percent of homeowners look for roofing material that will make their roof look better and add curb appeal to their homes. And the one thing they are very particular on is color.
“The best advice I can give any remodeler is to have the homeowner choose their roofing before they choose their siding or trim,” says Nelson. “Think about choosing earth tones with deeper profiles or scalloped edges to create a distinctive look.”
Pioneering the concept of multilayered shingles, also known as architectural or designer shingles, CertainTeed has played a huge role in color innovation with complex color blending technology and the introduction of bold designer shingle colors such as variegated reds, blues and greens.
“We offer one of the largest color palettes available, with over 20 colors,” says Jay Butch, senior marketing manager for CertainTeed’s Contractor Program.
CertainTeed’s ColorView is an online tool to assist the remodeler and homeowner through the process of choosing exterior home colors.
The program allows you to choose from a variety of siding and roofing colors and then combine them with trim, shutter, window and door options to create a custom exterior.
What’s Coming Up
There are also a number of initiatives in development that address residential construction in terms of greenness, or sustainability. Architectural shingles are expected to play a role because of their durability and energy-saving potential.
One of the companies doing this is EcoStar. It added the Majestic Slate Traditional tiles as part of their environmentally friendly line of products. It is a 50-year rubber slate tile that is made of recycled industrial rubber and plastic. Injection molded, EcoStar uses a special formula that protects the integrity of the rubber; it offers an environmentally friendly, lightweight alternative to slate.