Advances in roofing technology have greatly changed the way roofing is made and used. For the most part of the last century, metal sheets and membranous types have dominated roofing markets. But with the growing demand for portability, energy-efficiency, and sustainability, plastics have become a popular roofing material. Especially in the U.K., where rain is abundant and sunshine is scarce, having plastic roofing is a necessity. From corrugated plastic roofing sheets to polycarbonate sheets, plastic is paving a way for humans to adjust to the environment and utilise what it can offer.
Business-wise, the demand shift should only translate to profitability and better innovation. In the U.K., the plastic roofing market is a robust market. This is mirrored globally as growth for the market in the coming years is promising.
Globally, plastic roofing is estimated to expand at a faster rate for the next four years compared to other roofing materials, particularly in the low-slope roofing segment. Sales for plastic, overall, is expected to increase by 1.5 percent annually. This is largely due to the fact that plastic is low maintenance and is very easy to install.
Among the plastic roofing types, thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofing is the most popular. Though it started to become popular in the 1990s, it only gained a significant share in the low-slope roofing market in the last two decades (from 7 percent in 2000 to 18 percent in 2018). Cheaper and comparatively reliable as PVC roofing, TPO will retain its dominance in sales.
Other plastic roofing types will follow the trend of TPO, especially the corrugated and polycarbonate types. They are also expected to enjoy the fruits of the latest innovation in terms of cooling and temperature control. Plastic roofing easily meets cool roofing criteria so growth will remain positive in the next four years.
Competition with other roofing products is a dynamic aspect of the roofing industry. The major roofing products that plastic roofing competes with are polymer-modified bitumen membranes and rubber systems. The substitution effect is obvious due to some important utility-based variables.
Contractors and builders are shying away from bituminous roofs due to performance and cost. Plastic roofing performs better under many environmental conditions. One key edge is that they are far more superior in battling leaks. Apart from that, the lightweight roofs are very easy to transport and install. Although some bituminous types like white-colored EPDM membranes are as reflective and energy saving as plastic roofing (and even more long-lasting than most plastic types), they are more expensive.
A leading example of plastic roofing that is competing well with bituminous types is polycarbonate sheeting. This type provides high levels of resistance from impacts, a high strength to weight ratio, topnotch insulation, and remarkable optical clarity. They are also effective in protection from UV rays (up to 98 percent protection) and are self-extinguishing.
Plastic roofing products are a popular choice for many roofing projects across the U.K. From school canopies, greenhouses to carports, patios, and pools, the demand is clear. From varying residential and commercial needs, plastic roofing is the way to cover up from the harshest of the elements; indeed, the roof of the future.