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Self-Adhesive Roofing Underlayment Will See Demand Gains Due to Labor Shortages

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Growth will be spurred by the rising use of more costly products that offer superior performance properties, according to the report.

Self-adhesive underlayment—both asphaltic and synthetic—accounts for the larger share of U.S. underlayment demand and will see increasing use, according to a new Freedonia Group analysis:

  • Self-adhesive underlayment—which generally features peel-and-stick adhesive backings—are preferred by contractors because of their ability to reduce the time needed to complete roof repair and installation jobs.
  • Furthermore, they can be easily applied by work crews with minimal skill levels—key criteria for contractors who increasingly must cope with a shortage of skilled roofers.
  • While initially more costly than mechanically attached products, self-adhesive underlayments save money in the long run by allowing contractors to more quickly complete roofing jobs.
  • Roofing underlayment has traditionally been attached to roof decks by mechanical techniques, primarily by skilled work crews. Over the past decade, however, the use of self-adhesive products has risen sharply, mainly because so many experienced roofers left the industry during the Great Recession and few workers entered the trade. More focused on training new employees to install roofing properly, contractors increased their use of self-adhesive underlayment to save time.

As roofers switch from mechanical to self-adhesive products, it is unlikely they will revert, providing long-term opportunities for synthetic underlayment market growth.

U.S. roofing underlayment market value

On average, U.S. demand for roofing underlayment is projected to advance at a modest pace through 2025, reaching 209.5 million squares.

Demand for roofing underlayment is closely linked to that of roofing as a whole (particularly steep-slope materials); thus, roofing demand rose sharply in the second half of 2020 and 2021 due to strong growth in housing starts and home improvement activity, so too did the demand for roofing underlayment. However, between 2022 and 2025, roofing underlayment demand is expected to level off as new housing activity moderates.

In value terms, roofing underlayment demand is expected to rise at a faster pace—4.7% per year to $1.6 billion in 2025.

Growth will be spurred by the rising use of more costly products that offer superior performance properties.

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