The Evolution of Roofing Manufacturers

A hundred years ago, there were many businesses that provided roofing materials to local markets. While a town may have had a sawmill supplying lumber to the community, there were many small providers of roofing products, such as local slate quarries and lumber mills, that manufactured wooden shingles.

Similar to what happened in the sawmill industry, the era of small local roofing manufacturers eventually ended. By the early 1980s, only 70 roofing plants still remained. Through good management, governance, stewardship, and people, TAMKO Building Products endured the various industry changes that have occurred over the years and caused so many businesses to shut down. Since TAMKO’s founding more than 70 years ago, the company has not only survived these numerous changes, but was also able to thrive. Today, TAMKO is one of the largest asphalt roofing manufacturers in the U.S.

While market share is affected by consolidations, pricing and products, it’s mostly impacted by technology. So many plants closed their doors by the 1980s because they failed to transition to fiberglass. Additionally, the move from off-line laminated shingles in the mid-1970s and to on-line laminators in the late 1980s resulted in even more consolidations. The manufacturers who did not invest in the new technology found themselves out of business.

TAMKO’s leadership has had the foresight and good fortune of making each of those transitions at just the right time as the industry changed. Each transition seems obvious in hindsight, but was groundbreaking at the time.

“So the price doesn’t move the dial very much one way or the other on market share,” said David Humphreys, TAMKO’s President and CEO. “New products can make a difference there. But the other dynamic in this industry has been the technology change.”




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