Scrimping, saving, belt-tightening. No doubt, we’re living in a tight period of the country’s history. High oil prices continue to raise costs in a market that’s already slumping.
But as history also tells us, some of the best gains in history are made during the “valleys”, or slow times. The interesting thing is that while the sluggishness continues, huge gains are being made technologically in many different fields…and this is true in the roofing business. Materials are getting better, less expensive, and come in more options than at any time before.
What does this mean? It means that you can continue to improve your home’s look and value even during this more challenging time. The advances in technology have allowed consumers to take a step beyond “cost-consciousness” to “value-consciousness”. Sure, you want an inexpensive roof…but now you can get an inexpensive roof AND greatly enhance the look and value of the home. And in a world where consumers are moving from buying dispensable things (think cars, boats, jewelry) to value-oriented things (education, home improvement, savings), the development becomes exciting.
Now I’m not talking about putting a $20k roof on a more modest home. You need to enhance the home, not overpower it. Of course, tradition, style and neighboring homes play a role…but we find that taking one step beyond what a homeowner previously had on the home is the best answer. In this scenario, the home’s aesthetics are elevated and the investment is best recouped should the owner decide to sell.
That being said, and within the boundaries of any neighbors association agreements, there is generally some room for experimentation. There are new materials, styles, and colors. Materials include plain tiles, bitumen slates, synthetic materials, EPDM, and many more. And the shades of colors now available are extensive. The excitement of experimentation with these options now permeates both European and world architecture.
The arrival of more and more new materials does not mean that authentic, traditional materials have played out their roles. In fact, precisely the opposite is true. Some home improvement experts see the so-called “modern” roofing (now as “minimalist”) as emotionless and ironically strive to get back to the more traditional roots. For these people, the term “traditional” is anything but a pejorative term. They equate it with authenticity and even class. To these builders, the roof being covered with natural slates or ceramic roof tiles remains a thing of beauty and perfect line.
So what does this mean? Are we back from where we started? And what’s the point?
Well, I offer a lot of this information as a resource of what’s out there and available. The bottom line is that you’re not restricted of choices as you would have been a decade ago. And architecture design points back to what you probably wanted anyway…a look that takes you a step ahead of what you have now. As a roofer, this is an exciting time…in spite of the news reports.
In a lot of ways, we’re living in a mini- “perfect storm” for roofing. The economy is slow, there’s less new construction and homes are getting older, consumers are looking for ways to build/sustain net worth, and supply (roofing materials and labor) is decreasing. But inasmuch as the need for quality roofing continues, I can’t help but get excited about the developments taking shape for the future. As installation techniques and materials continue to improve, we’ll be able to make another leap toward the “ideal” home.