The company’s history began in the mid-1970s when founder John R. Burt came up with an inspiration. Burt, who then owned a swimming pool liner business, realized that if a vinyl liner kept water inside a swimming pool, it could keep water out, as well. From that simple premise, the Duro-Last roofing system was created in 1978. During the ensuing 25 years, Duro-Last has been the pioneer and largest manufacturer of custom prefabricated single-ply roofing systems.
In 1981, Duro-Last moved into its present Saginaw location, home to both the firm’s world headquarters and a manufacturing facility. To accommodate Duro-Last’s national expansion, a manufacturing facility was purchased in Grants Pass, Ore., in 1987. That operation moved to a larger location in 1995. Additional roofing manufacturing locations were opened in Jackson, Miss., in 1992 and in Sigourney, Iowa, in 1996. In that same year in Saginaw, a calendering and knitting operation opened, which manufactures the thermoplastic membrane used in the Duro-Last roofing system.
The calendering and knitting operation is part of Plastatech Engineering Ltd. In addition to the membrane used in the Duro-Last roofing system, Plastatech manufactures geomembranes, coated supported and unsupported vinyl, triple-ply laminated PVC films and substrates, single-ply laminates, calendered PVC films, weft-inserted knitted substrates, gravured printing, PVC expanded suedes, and air-supported and tension structures.
Duro-Last’s approach to the roofing market is that every project is prefabricated to fit every roof precisely. By performing 80 to 85 percent of membrane seaming in a controlled factory environment, the company reduces the potential for rooftop installation errors and leaks that can occur with other roof systems. Also, custom-fabricated stacks and curb flashings eliminate nearly 100 percent of rooftop labor from the most critical roof areas — transitions and changes of plane. Custom prefabrication allows Duro-Last to issue a strong commercial warranty, which does not exclude ponding water or consequential damages.
Another key reason for Duro-Last’s success is the solid, long-term relationship the company enjoys with top roofing contractors around the country. In addition, to address growing trends in the buildings industry, Duro-Last has recently introduced two new brands. First is The Cool Zone™ roofing system, with the highest solar reflectivity of any single-ply membrane (based on the EPA’s Energy Star roof products testing criteria). Second is The Duro-Shield™ metal retrofit roofing system, which can be installed over an existing metal roof without an expensive tear-off.
Duro-Last and Plastatech Engineering are part of the JRB Enterprises family of companies, along with several other businesses. Oscoda Plastics Inc., in Oscoda, Mich., opened in 1993 to produce accessories for the Duro-Last roofing system. Today, Oscoda Plastics uses recycled plastics and vinyl to produce injected and extruded plastic parts for the roofing industry, specialty flooring systems and vinyl expansion joints. TIP-TOP Screw Manufacturing Inc., also based in Oscoda, manufactures fasteners for the Duro-Last roofing system. Established in 1975, Tri-City Vinyl Inc. manufactures pool and pond liners, pool covers, water tubes and pillows as well as cistern liners. And finally, JRB Enterprises’ newest business venture is EXCEPTIONAL™ Metals, which manufactures metal edge details for the Duro-Last roofing system.