State of the Commercial Roofing Industry

It seems as though 2017 has flown by! As we look back on a year that’s waning, we got to wondering if the entire commercial roofing industry felt as busy as we do. Turns out it did. It’s been a busy year in the industry! Roofing Contractor, the official publication of the International Roofing Expo, recently released its annual State of the Industry Report. The comprehensive report takes a look into how 2017 shaped up and what 2018 has to hold. It’s based on a blend of raw data and the insights of industry leaders. It’s an incredibly detailed report, so we’ll pull out the highlights for you.

The Future Looks Bright for Commercial Roofing

A whopping 76% of commercial roofing contractors reported that they’re optimistic about roofing sales and expect them to increase over the next three years. Fully 61% of those surveyed anticipate a revenue increase over 2016.

Commercial Roofing By the Numbers

27% of contractors attributed a majority of their revenue to commercial roof replacement, 15% selected new construction and an additional 12% noted commercial repair as their primary revenue source.

2017’s Top Commercial Roofing Products

The top five commercial roofing products expected to produce sales gains were:

  • Single-ply (68%)
  • Coatings (52%)
  • Metal (45%)
  • Low slope asphalt (32%)
  • Steep slope asphalt (31%)

Metal Roofing is on the Rise

Researchers at Freedonia, an industry research firm, found that “Demand for metal roofing in commercial building construction applications is projected to advance to 19.0 million squares in 2021. The new commercial market will see the more rapid gains, bolstered by growth in office, retail, and lodging construction spending. Metal roofing will see increasing use in such structures as fast-casual restaurants and retail sites due to its durability and minimal maintenance requirements.”

Capitalizing on Coatings

63% of commercial roofing contractors reported that they used coatings and 40% indicated an increase in coatings sales in 2016. Looking deeper into the survey data, roughly a quarter of contractors indicated coatings are important to their overall business model, and most commonly because coatings provide more business opportunities and a lower-cost alternative for building owners. As a roofing material, SPF must be protected with a covering to prevent surface degradation caused by UV exposure, mechanical wear and other weathering processes. The material can be coated with a variety of elastomeric coatings, including acrylic, silicone, butyl rubber, polyurethane and polyuria (Roofing Contractor 2017 State of the Industry Report).

Challenges in the Commercial Roofing Industry

88% of the respondents noted that finding and keeping qualified workers was the industry’s biggest challenge. Followed closely by healthcare (80%) and government regulations (66%). A whopping 84% reported that labor costs have increased since 2016.

Workforce Composition

In commercial roofing, a vast majority of companies that responded to the Roofing Contractor survey reported using employee labor. Only 16% reported using subcontractors.

Need a new commercial roof installed or a metal roof retrofit? Contact JBK Roofing, the Best Roofing Company of 2017 or call us at 888-317-7003.


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