Roofing Industry Suffers Material Shortage Post COVID-19 Pandemic

Roofing Industry Suffers Material Shortage Post COVID-19 Pandemic


Material Shortage

The economic impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the US supply chain created a material shortage that is significantly affecting the roofing industry.

The economic downturn of 2020 has led to limited or reduced production at manufacturing facilities—and therefore, exhaustion of warehoused materials. The biggest supply chain issues are with raw goods in the insulation and steel industries, resulting in a shortage of fasteners, fastener plates, sheet metal and MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate).

Our nation is also seeing increased transportation costs as trucking demand exceeds the supply. It’s the perfect storm that has led to skyrocketed prices for roofing-related materials. If you have a reroofing project on the horizon (or hopes of one), you may need to re-think your budget and your strategy.


What the Shortage of Roofing-Related Materials Means for Your Projects

A consequence of the national health crisis has been the cost of roofing related materials (insulation, fasteners, adhesives, sheet metal, etc.) increasing significantly over the last few months. There is a raw materials shortage, along with a global demand for the product methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) that is used in many commercial roofing products. We’re also seeing long lead times for membranes; TPO and EPDM have been more strongly affected than PVC.

In addition to the noted price increases, lead times for materials are currently expected to be in the six- to ten-week* timeframe and, in some cases, longer than that. Long delays in material deliveries are being experienced, resulting in the delayed start to projects.

Reroof pricing will be difficult to predict during this current COVID-19 pandemic recovery phase. It may also prove difficult to predict the outcome of competitive bids in the current work environment and in the time of year in which the bids may be received. The bidding time frame should be carefully considered and planned.

Failed systems must be addressed. But for other roofs, you could implement life extension efforts to help in the interim.

*2022 Update: The expected lead times are six- to ten-months and in some cases longer. It is dependent upon the manufacturer and product availability. 

Five Things To Do Now to Solve Your Roofing Issues in the Interim

1. Perform a Baseline Assessment

Get a baseline assessment of your roof system to better understand your starting point. Once you establish current conditions, you can prioritize work that needs to be done.

When you have a roof system that’s still viable and eligible for life extension measures, you can take the data from your baseline assessment to determine necessary repairs on qualified roofing assets. Forensic work will help identify defects and prioritize them. If moisture is detected, that is an issue that must be addressed.

2. Implement a Preventative Maintenance Plan

Preventative maintenance is important to extending the life of your roof system and maintaining proper function and efficiency. It’s recommended a minimum of two times per year—in the spring and fall.

Technical Assurance can provide light PM services during a condition assessment to address immediate maintenance and repair needs.

General services include:

  • General roof housekeeping and cleaning
  • Roof seams, laps, flashings, seals and other vulnerable roof junctures are evaluated, probed and checked for deficiencies
  • Identify and correct current roof leaks that are small in nature
  • Underside roof deck observations

3. Author Designed Repair Bidding Packages

During the assessment process, Technical Assurance identifies defects and vulnerabilities in the roof systems. Making sure that repairs are promptly and properly performed not only helps to extend the life of your roof assets, but these measures also help prevent other issues and defects from manifesting while helping to sustain your warranty. Our team will develop repair statements of work to ensure proper work is performed, and we can help find qualified contractors that have the resources to perform the necessary repair work. Once repairs begin, our team will manage the project(s) and provide oversight to ensure repairs are completed correctly.

4. Perform Remediation/Restoration Efforts

For assets that are not failed and can be salvaged, identify life extension efforts to help extend the time before the inevitable capital replacement. If done correctly, the following options could provide some level of success and help the useful service life of the roofing asset. Each option has its own set of requirements and expectations to consider before implementation.

Consider Coating Systems

Coating options are evaluated to determine if that’s an appropriate approach for your particular roof. A coating system could extend the life of your roof by five (5) to ten (10) years.

  • It is important to understand coating limitations, establish service life expectations and appreciate the functionality of a coating system.
  • Coating system manufacturers generally offer multiple warranty options.
  • Coatings are less impactful to the building and operations as there’s no tear off or disruption to production.
  • It is a short-term fix that is less expensive and faster to install.
  • It is generally available at this time despite the material shortage.
  • With coatings, it’s all about preparation—making sure the substrate is suitable, defects are repaired, the surface is clean, no latent conditions, etc.

Roof Recovery Options

  • Be mindful of latent conditions (deteriorating decking, wetted thermal insulation, etc.) and develop a plan for resolving them.
  • Be mindful of the existing assembly (number of installed roof systems and types), dew point/vapor drive issues and building code implication(s) that might affect your options and progress.
  • Be mindful of the added weight an additional roof assembly has on the structural integrity of a building.
  • Establish service life and warranty expectations that are realistic and measurable.

Insulation Salvage/Membrane Exchange

  • This option is generally a consideration for ballasted EPDM roof systems, but it can be applied in other suitable conditions.
  • Evaluate if there is an opportunity to reduce tear-off waste to minimize the environmental footprint.
  • Thermal upgrades can be implemented.
  • Evaluate hybrid “replacement” option(s) that include measurable performance and warranty expectations.

5. Don’t Spend on a Failed Roof

If your roof system has failed and no remediation efforts are available, our best advice is to create an emergency response plan and prepare for the capital project(s). These plans mostly include spot repair(s) to address immediate leaks. This is recommended because there is very little value, both from a functional and financial perspective, investing in an asset that has reached a failed condition.

It’s important to understand what you’re paying for and how it affects your budget for the future. We recommend investing in your roof assets rather than unknowingly spending on an asset where the useful service life has elapsed and the overall effectiveness of remediation is highly debatable.

Our Budget Solution tool can help.


Request a Consultation

If you’re trying to make the most of your budget and know that your roof will need repair or replacement in the near future, let us help you navigate those projects during this post COVID-19 recovery period and unprecedented material shortage.

Request a consultation with the Technical Assurance team today!