Demand for new roofs remains high, and while product availability seems to have stabilized in recent years, the labour shortage is evident.

“The past few years in roofing, things have been going crazy. Everybody has been struggling to keep up with demand, the highest roofing markets in recent memory,” says Brian Stanford, Product Manager at CertainTeed Roofing Group.

“There’s only so many contractors out there, only so much labour out there to help put the shingles on the roof. The backlog is pretty wild,” he added.

Focused on sustainability

“As an organization and as an industry, it’s important we look at that side of things,” says Rob Davidson, VP of Residential Sales at IKO Canada. “Focusing on being green and environmentally conscious is important to IKO.”

With that in mind, Davidson points to what he calls one of the newest trends for his company: its expanded pre-consumer recycling capabilities. According to an April 2023 press release from IKO, their CEO stated, “The first significant step towards reducing shingle related disposal in landfills is our goal to achieve zero percent waste at every plant location. We are well on our way to achieve this objective at our Hawkesbury facility, and we will use what we learned from this effort to rapidly innovate even more efficient lines at both IKO Hagerstown and at each of our shingle plants in the coming years.” The Hawkesbury, Ont., plant is one of IKO’s eight modern shingle manufacturing plants; it is among the first to graduate from its pilot phase into daily production.

Of course, recycling is just part of the equation, and Davidson points out the importance the longevity of better-performing products can have in reducing waste. One of the ways it achieves lasting performance is with the ArmorZone technology found on Dynasty and Nordic shingles. This special reinforcing tape was engineered to provide tremendous fastening power and nail pull-through resistance against wind uplift.

Photo courtesy of IKO Canada

GAF, with over a century of experience in shingles, has also seen the danger of more asphalt shingles in landfills, and developed the GAF Roof Cycle, a patented process for building its Timberline HDZ RoofCycle Series Shingles with approximately 7% recycled content without sacrificing quality. It plans to ultimately use 90% of shingle waste that it collects to manufacture new shingles, diverting even more waste from landfills. Since December 2022, GAF says it has diverted more than 1 million lbs.

Photo courtesy of GAF

Stanford notes that his company and its parent company, Saint-Gobain, place sustainability high on their list of priorities. In 2019, it signed the pledge of the Global Compact “Business ambition for 1.5°C”, committing itself to reach Net-Zero emissions by no later than 2050 in line to limit the rise of global temperature to 1.5°C. The company says this is part of the strategy it has been deploying for several years to limit its environmental impact and contribute to decarbonizing its markets.

“We call it growing impact, reducing waste, and increasing the circularity of raw materials. We want to try and strive to have that zero carbon footprint,” Stanford says.

Last year, CertainTeed Roofing acquired the rights to technology from recycling company Asphaltica, which will allow the company to recycle asphalt shingle waste, diverting it from landfills.

Photo courtesy of CertainTeed

“Consumers are more aware of how products are made and how they are disposed at the end of their life cycle,” says Randal Rocchio, Sales Manager at Ideal Roofing. “Ideal Roofing sources our coils from both Arcelor Mittal Dofasco and Stelco in the Hamilton region of Ontario. We manufacture in our Brampton, Ottawa, and Moncton plants, then deliver to our distributors. Our steel is made with a blend of recycled steel and more than 50 years from now, it can be recycled again.”

Photo courtesy of Ideal Roofing

Building for performance

For contractors, a larger nailing zone with guidelines printed on the top helps ensure roofing crews place their nails accurately within this zone, making for a quick and easier installation without compromising confidence.

Similarly, recognizing the need for lasting performance, the inventor of the modern shingle, GAF, has unveiled a fastening innovation to its popular Timberline HDZ High Definition shingles: LayerLock technology. The technology includes the industry’s widest nailing area, resulting in roofers achieving 99.9% nailing accuracy, and a mechanically fused common bond between overlapping shingle layers. Adam Prestwich, Director of Canadian Sales for GAF, compares the compounding strength generated to people locking arms.

Photo courtesy of GAF

“There are two major areas when selecting roofing products,” Prestwich says. “Homeowners want curb appeal and resale value, but that roof must stay on. It must do its job, and that comes back to the critical functionality of the roof.”

“That’s why our tagline is ‘we protect what matters most’,” he adds. “It has to go on, stay on, and do its job for many years to come.”

Photo courtesy of GAF

To combat the increase in inclement weather, CertainTeed too has released an innovation. Its ClimateFlex Polymer-Modified Shingle Technology combines durable roofing asphalt with the performance benefits of rubberizing polymers. This results in impact-resistant shingles that the company says offer an industry-leading Class 4 rating (UL Classified to UL 2218) for protection against hail damage and hail impact, as well as superior surface granule adhesion and all-weather performance that protects year-round in almost any climate or condition.

Photo courtesy of CertainTeed

Of course, Canadian climates must be always considered — including installation. “With professionals, there is a growing need for increased wind resistance because of increasingly bad weather and the fact that roofs are being installed during the Winter more often than in the past. Our new Signature shingle now offers a 220 km/h wind warranty thanks to improved sealant technology,” says Eric Belley, Product Manager for Roofing at Building Products of Canada.

Photo courtesy of Building Products of Canada

Given the inclement conditions Canadian homes are being hit with, Royal Roofing has taken steps to improve its hidden fastener series products.

“We have designed our hidden fastener series, Heritage and Wakefield Bridge, to be direct to deck application with proper underlayment versus traditional wood strapped metal roofing,” Rocchio says. “By doing so, we have Miami-Dade County Approval to resist high winds of 240KMH (TAS100), burning embers (Fire Class A, ASTM E108), and hail resistance to class 4 size. We understand that when extreme conditions occur, we want our products to withstand the elements and minimize the impact on our consumers.”

Photo courtesy of Ideal Roofing

The demand for high aesthetic

While having the performance needed to resist inclement weather is key, there’s no denying that most homeowners care about the appearance of their roofs. After all, as Davidson points out, the roof typically represents about 1/3 of the home’s presence. “So, it plays a huge role in aesthetics.”

To meet that demand, IKO has added more high-definition colours to its performance products, says John Vukanovich, Residential Marketing at IKO. To ease homeowners making decisions, he says, the company has developed a series of 30-second YouTube videos using drone footage. But perhaps most exciting is the IKO ROOFViewer Interactive Roof Color Visualizer Tool found on its website, with which homeowners or contractors can upload an image of the home and make shingle style and colour blend choices.

Photo courtesy of  IKO Canada

On reroofs, where homeowners are typically more established, aesthetics can play a bigger part. “Reroof customers are established, might have a little bit more money to spend, might get a little bit more of a luxury look, a shake or slate, to get a bit more premium look on their roof,” Stanford says. He says blacks, browns, and greys are all going to be popular in 2024, adding that people are getting more interested in warm and earthtones colours.

“There is a growing need for roofing colours that compliment today’s modern home exterior finishes, says Belley. “Shingle industry colours have not evolved at the same pace as other home building materials. BP has created the Chroma Colour Lab, a group of technicians and designers, for the sole purpose of colour development and quality. All the colours for our Signature were crafted by the Chroma Colour Lab, and the result is a modern take on classic shingle colours which will compliment today’s modern home design and help update the look of older homes.”

On that note, he adds that BP’s Chroma Colour Lab has developed Profusio, an innovative 
colour-combination feature that allows homeowners to express personality and style on a roof. Two Signature colours can be combined on the same roof to create a new unique colour blend.

Photo courtesy of Building Products of Canada 

Also trending in 2024, Rocchio says, are hidden fastener roof and wall systems. “They tend to have better wind warranties and curb appeal. These products would include hidden fasteners, snap-lock standing seams, and/or four-way interlocking metal shingles.”

He adds that, in many Urban areas, Ideal Roofing is seeing multi-family housing projects use metal roofing and siding, as they are low-maintenance solutions for many generations to come. “The upfront investment will pay off over time as there will be less replacement costs, keeping maintenance fees lower.”

Photo courtesy of Ideal Roofing

A natural looking finish

As always, the appeal of a wood-like appearance is popular, even for metal shingles.

“There are a few standout trends that we’ve been observing over the last few years that are continuing to gain momentum across Canada and the US,” says Renai Medeiros, National Accounts Coordinator at Vicwest. “Simulated Natural finish roofing products like Vicwest’s True Nature Roofing products, including Slate and Shake Tiles have been at the top of the list. Improvement in tile manufacturing systems, as well as the paint technologies used, give the finished product a surprisingly close to the real thing feel.”

Medeiros adds that dark colours continue to rule the day in metal roofing. “Blacks, dark browns, and deep grays have all been in high demand. The matte finish versions of these colours remain hard to keep in stock.”

A further aesthetic trend roofing contractors need to consider is the very low, slow roofs in many current home designs, Medeiros says. “While this can be a great looking design, it also requires some additional thought as it relates to what products you’re going to use.” She recommends contractors working on a slope less than 2/12 to share their plans with their regular Castle Building Centre, who can reach out to Vicwest Technical Services to review it.

Photo courtesy of Vicwest

Helping roofing contractors

Homeowners don’t call contractors for shingles, but for a finished roof. It’s for that reason that Prestwich says his company has been investing more R&D in technology solutions to aid contractors in doing the gig.

One such innovation is the GAF QuickMeasure report, an accurate roof measurement with 
high-resolution imagery that roofing contractors can receive in under 1 hour for single-family homes and less than 24 hours for multi-family and commercial properties. To aid on the business side, GAF has launched GAF Project, a digital sales tool that helps partners streamline sales and even introduce remote selling capabilities.

Photo courtesy of GAF

Medeiros notes that new digital technologies are on the rise, pointing to EagleView technology software as an example that makes estimating more efficient and seamless. She says, “Coupled with advanced coating technologies and the benefits of using steel as a roofing product,” her company and the contractors using the technologies can serve more communities quicker and more accurately. —

Photo courtesy of Vicwest