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Courtesy of Metro Creative

Roofers have maintained steady work through the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

Editor’s note: This is a weekly series focusing on the importance of buying local.

In the face of the COVID-19, the roofing industry is booming.

“(Business) really seemed to speed up in the last year,” said J.R. Powell of M&J General Construction and Home Renovation, based in Monessen.

“I think people just being home more looked at some things in and with their homes and decided to make upgrades,” Powell added. “I think some people just decided to spend their money on their home. Some used their (stimulus) money to put into home improvement, many using it for a new roof.”

According to roofingindustry.com, the industry is expected to reach nearly $20 billion in 2021.

The United States will always have houses in need of roofs. Because of that, the roofing market is showing no signs of slowing down. The $20 billion demonstrates how crucial roofs are today, and that their importance will continue as more homes are built in the future.

Between 2015 and 2020, the roofing industry has grown an average of 2.7% yearly (IBIS).

The consistency of the market is impressive as well, outpacing another solid industry – the automobile industry, which grew between around 0.5% and -1.5% year-to-year.

The home industry, of which the roofing sector heavily relies on, is seeing good growth. It is expected to grow by about 1% each year. Once again, it’s safe to say the roofing industry’s growth, combined with that of the home industry, proves it is one of the steadiest sectors.

Powell said the different kinds of roofs available have helped raise interest in new roofs and a willingness to add new roofs.

“There are gable and hip roofs,” Powell said. “And some other roofs that can be used.”

A gable roof is a classic, most commonly occurring roof shape in parts of the world with cold or temperate climates. It consists of two roof sections sloping in opposite directions and placed such that the highest, horizontal edges meet to form the roof ridge.

A hip roof or hipped roof is a type of roof where all sides slope downward to the walls – usually with a fairly gentle slope – although a tented roof by definition is a hipped roof with steeply pitched slopes rising to a peak. A hipped roof house has no gables or other vertical slides to the roof.

According to a survey of roofers in 2018, 65% of them reported growth in sales and revenue, per Kingdom Roofing

In a recent survey, 65% of roofers said they experienced growth in both sales and revenue. While that leaves 35%, who broke even for the year or dipped in sales, the industry is strong. Many new roofers are popping up each year and are becoming profitable in a short period of time.

Powell said he enjoys putting new roofs on a house despite some would-be challenges.

“Sometimes it’s difficult getting in between houses,” Powell said. “There are a lot of steep roofs. Some roofs had been repaired by putting shingles over shingles.

“I like doing roofs. We do a lot of kitchens and bathrooms. There’s not a whole lot of thought in doing roofs, it’s not like re-doing a kitchen or bathroom. Some jobs are more physical than mental, and others are more mental than physical. Putting on a roof is physical. Weather is a factor and also making sure you seal up everything at the end of the day, so weather doesn’t impact a house before it is finished is crucial.”

Brian Scalzi, a homeowner in Washington, had a difficult time landing a contractor to do a project for him to put a roof on a patio and also a roof on his house.

“I couldn’t find anyone to do the job together,” Scalzi said. “I finally found someone willing to do the job together. But they’re busy, a deposit was required to keep your place in line.”

About 80% of roofing business owners have experienced a 10% increase in labor costs over the past couple of years, according to Kingdom Roofing.

Those interested in joining the Be Local Network can contact Chris Slota at 724-225-1326 or by email at chris@belocal.net. Discount cards are available at the Observer-Reporter and Almanac office, 122 S. Main St., Washington.

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