The roof is one of the most prominent elements of a house’s exterior, but homeowners haven’t always spent much time contemplating its design and product selection. That’s changing.
“The biggest trend in roofing is that asphalt shingles are moving from a commodity product into a design element,” says Sue Burkett, marketing leader in Owens Corning’s roofing and asphalt group. “Roofing is such a critical part to your house. I don’t know if it was ever given its due as to how much it makes or breaks an exterior … and how much it shows your personality as much as paint, countertops, and other products.”
The TruDefinition Duration Designer Colors Collection comprises seven vibrant color blends; summer harvest is shown here. The shingles include patented SureNail Technology, a woven fabric reinforcement in the wide common bond area of the nailing zone, and Tru-Bond sealant, which provide two times the adhesion for a wind warranty of 130 miles per hour while requiring only four nails.
And buyers who want to make a statement have many more choices. Architectural shingles have improved dramatically from a generation ago, shifting from a flat, two-dimensional appearance to two- and three-layer products that provide more dimension and visual interest. Many products also have a more realistic appearance of natural materials.
“We’re continuing to see growth in high-end, modern looks that are created with premium designer shingles and architectural laminate shingles,” says Mark Okland, product development manager for roofing manufacturer IKO. “These higher-end products are popular among homeowners because they can get the desired look and curb appeal of cedar shakes or natural slate tile without the associated maintenance worries and expense.”
Dynasty with ArmourZone features an enlarged nailing area that allows for faster, easier, and more accurate installation. A tear-resistant, reinforced woven band provides fastening strength over a greater surface area, helping to prevent nail pull-through in high winds. The shingles are bigger than most comparable products, yet require only four nails per shingle.
Manufacturers are increasingly looking to differentiate their products from the competition, which has led to increased design options, notes Maciek Rupar, technical services director for the National Roofing Contractors Association.
“The design trend of personalization is supported by the breadth of color and style choices in asphalt roofing that is available to homeowners,” says Leslie Franklin, director of residential shingles marketing for GAF. “Homeowners want to be unique. They don’t want to have a roof that’s ordinary. They realize that their roof makes up approximately 40 percent of their home’s curb appeal, and they’re responding to the increasing importance of the roof with a desire to be differentiated.”
Glenwood is the industry’s thickest triple-layer asphalt shingle, the firm says, offering the dimensional look of real wood shakes. The shingles carry a Class A fire rating, have a Class 4 impact rating, include StainGuard protection against blue-green algae, and feature Dura Grip adhesive to seal each shingle tightly.
Color is playing a role in this trend, and choices abound, including those that make a roof stand out rather than blend in. “People are taking more notice of the roof, so they’re personalizing the color,” says Paul Casseri, product manager for Atlas Roofing. “You’re seeing more and more nontraditional colors.”
Earthtones remain popular, Casseri notes, but reds, greens, and blues also are growing in demand.
“I’m seeing people step away from black, gray, or brown,” says Chase Lecklider, owner of Chase Restoration in Indianapolis. He notes that customers are embracing more artisan colors, such as those in Owens Corning’s Oakridge line.
Helping the process along is a growing number of visualization tools. The online or app-based programs allow buyers to see how roof designs and hues will look on their home before they commit. “This makes them more comfortable exploring different options and enables them to be very happy with their final choice,” says Franklin.
Still, not all homeowners are ready to go too bold, says Alex Pecora, director of residential products marketing for CertainTeed. “The roofing market is very traditional. Homeowners tend to be very conservative in terms of color.”
“People tend more toward the earthtones,” agrees Jay Pollack, owner of 512roofs.com in Austin, Texas. “But they do like to differentiate their designs, something with uniqueness.”
NorthGate SBS-modified, two-piece laminated shingles remain flexible in temperatures as low as 0 degrees F. They carry a Class 4 impact resistance rating and offer a 40 percent improvement in tear strength and nail pull-through resistance compared to standard asphalt shingles. A rich mixture of surface granules provides for a vibrant look with maximum definition.
Beyond looks, regional and climate-based needs are driving innovation in performance. In California, for example, Title 24 requires roofs with properties that reflect sunlight, thereby reducing a building’s cooling loads. A range of compliant options are available, including GAF’s Timberline HD Reflector Series, CertainTeed’s Solaris, IKO’s upcoming Cambridge Cool Colors, and Owens Corning’s Duration Premium Cool.
Though Energy Star-rated roofs are not required in other parts of the country, some builders and homeowners, particularly those in sunny states such as Arizona, Texas, and Florida, are still drawn to the potential savings.
“Manufacturers and builders alike are also keeping a watchful eye on Title 24,” says Okland. “Energy legislation is often known to start in California and then spread to other states. While it isn’t necessarily a guarantee that the rest of the country will adopt these standards, we have seen this as a trend in the past.”
Heritage Vintage laminated asphalt shingles feature deep shadow lines for the look of wood shakes. The shingles are made with double-layer fiberglass mat for strength, are coated on both sides with weathering-grade asphalt, and have a self-sealing asphalt strip for wind resistance. They are shown here in redwood.
In Texas and other storm-prone areas, impact-resistant products are gaining ground. New types of these shingles incorporate flexible, rubberized polymers that better absorb or defl ect the impact of hail. Some insurance companies provide discounts for such products, which can help offset their higher costs. Called SBS-modified shingles, these also work well in cold climates, says Pecora, because their increased fl exibility can help resist cracking and allow installation even in cold weather.
And adding performance benefits doesn’t mean sacrificing style. Regardless of codes and regional preferences, homeowners have myriad options to differentiate their homes with looks spanning from authentic and natural to bold and statement-making.
This story originally ran in the Summer 2016 issue of PRODUCTS magazine. Read the print version here.