Published On: Tue, Jul 14th, 2015

Solid roof market is growing up fast

Steve Hacking, Operations Director for Supalite tells us about the prospects for the solid tile roof sector which is still in its infancy but growing up fast

Steve PhotoThere is little doubt that the market for solid tile roofs is still in its infancy – which to be honest just makes it all the more exciting to be in from the start. There are already great products in the sector but there are very definitely more to come, and there are still many installers who have not yet woken up to the true potential of the market size. When they do we will really see stellar growth.

The market will soon be bigger than that for glass roofs – We are already seeing that solid tile roofs are now on an equal footing with glass roofs and we have an expectation that demand for the former will be greater very soon. The market is buoyant throughout the country, and the installers who have picked up on the potential are already making great in roads into new-build and retro-fit opportunities.

Understanding what solid tile roofs offer – A solid tile roof is not simply a replacement roof concept, far from it. It is so much more, and in fact just offering a replacement roof is not what our market is about; it is about replacing existing conservatory roofs to create so much more for the consumer – all year round living opportunity, thermal efficiency and reduced heating costs, aesthetic appeal both inside and outside, and added value to their home in the longer term. Solid tile roofs are not designed to be just another conservatory roof variation, but more a totally new concept in roofing – with the fascia’s and soffits being identified as real key differentiators in the plan to make the extra living space into very much an extension arrangement. What we find in many cases is that when people really understand the true nature of the product – they go for a full extension rather than just replacing the roof, and when they do this then the see the real benefits.

Challenges to face – While the market is already sizeable, in truth we haven’t scratched the surface of its potential. Products are still being developed and the processes to really make the installation side run smoothly are still being honed. It is a reflection of the fact that it is a new concept and that there is the need for a bedding down process for the legislation which governs it and the organisations administering it. There is uncertainty as to what the rules and regulations actually are, and often there is confusion within local authority and building control departments. We are regularly witnessing differences in understanding even between neighbouring authorities. This uncertainty needs to go away if the market is going to reach its full potential. Uncertainty for the installer and a feeling that the process is too complicated will lead them to sell different products to keep things simple if we are not careful.

Competition in the market delivers benefits – It is good, in keeping with the history of our industry, that there is competition from other suppliers offering genuine solid tile roof types. Competition serves to raise awareness amongst the end target market about the product as a concept, and that can only help us all to be successful. Where consumers will benefit from good advice is in understanding that a solid tile roof is not simply a replacement roof for an existing conservatory. If all the competitors are telling a similar story then that can only be a good thing and will bring credibility to those of us serious about offering products which are designed to give the consumer genuine long term benefits and added value to their homes.