Company Profile: Kassel & Irons
The company offers the KasselWood metal shingle for the residential and light commercial roofing markets. "KasselWood is a premium metal roofing system that combines an elegant, traditional look with the low maintenance, durability and unmatched performance of steel," said Allen.
"KasselWood's unique design utilizes texturing and dual profiles to give KasselWood a completely random and natural appearance. Panels fasten securely on all four sides and feature a patent-pending design that redirects wind-driven rain, preventing moisture from reaching the underside." He pointed out that integrated nail tabs eliminate the need for separate clips and save time and money for distributors and contractors by reducing the number of required parts and installation steps.
"Our proprietary low-gloss coating with varied grain pattern makes it the most authentic wood shake facsimile in the market," said Allen. "Manufactured with BASF's Ultra-Cool™ pigment technology, KasselWood provides all the benefits of a cool metal roof. This coating technology saves homeowners money and reduces the contribution to global warming."
KasselWood carries a 50-year warranty, which is transferable to a subsequent homeowner. For the first 30 years the warranty is non-prorated and covers materials and labor for replacement. The Kynar 500 Ultra-Cool™ finish is warranted for 30 years.
Education and TrainingThe company places great emphasis on educating and training contractors on the installation of the product, as well as its features and benefits. But according to Allen, it all starts with finding the right contractors to install the product
"In terms of training, we feel that the process begins with building awareness of our product and the metal roofing industry as a whole," he said. "Often this occurs through seminars or demo days held in conjunction with a distributor, or it might originate from one-on-one contact at a trade show. The basics of installation are typically covered and an overview of the selling features of the KasselWood product is stressed. During this time, our contact with the contractors has a recruiting nature to it, and we're constantly looking for traits that we feel will lead to future mutual success."
Once interest is generated, a more intensive field training program is employed; a technician from the company conducts the training program, and the technician usually accompanies a contractor on the initial installation. "Our field technicians work closely with their crews, and proper installation elements are introduced," said Allen. "All in all, it's been a very effective approach, and one that we'll continue to improve upon as time goes on."
Allen noted the company's educational efforts don't stop there. "We are in process of launching an intensive contractor training program that addresses selling the value of metal," he said. "We find that so many contractors are cautious to add a metal product into their product line mainly because they're hesitant to ask for more money for a roofing product. Metal products have a great story, and by educating homeowners on the numerous benefits of installing metal - which include longevity, durability and various insurance, tax, and energy saving benefits - they'll soon see it's a very economical choice."
A Case in PointAllen pointed to one award-winning installation as an example of the energy that could be saved with a cool metal roof. "We recently were awarded a Golden Hammer award from the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association" he said. "Our winning installation was for a residence in Irving, Texas. Prior to the installation, we wired the house with thermocouples in the attic space and collected temperatures throughout the day. With the existing asphalt roof, we recorded attic temperatures in excess of 130 degrees. After installing KasselWood, we again measured attic temperatures during similar outdoor conditions, and the highest recording was 109 degrees. That's quite a significant difference and provides a great case study for the energy efficiency of the KasselWood metal shingle."
Building RelationshipsJohn Burgart of Summit Iron has been in metal roofing for the past 14 years. His company, which specializes in residential metal roofs, is located in Fair Haven, Vt., but it services a large area that includes parts of New York and New Hampshire.
Burgart is a big fan of KasselWood. "Aesthetically, it's a gorgeous product," he said. "At the end of the day, it just looks fantastic, and it's very easy to work with."
He works with stone-coated steel and copper as well as metal shingles, but he said that KasselWood is "by far the easiest to work with and the most consistent."
He cited the integrated nail tab, and the interlocking side tabs and the A and B panels as great design elements that aid installation efficiency. But he indicated it is the look of the product that draws new customers. "The A and B panels ensure a random pattern, and that, along with the paint schemes and shadow lines, gives it the look of authentic shake."
A Promising MarketAllen and Burgart think the metal market will continue to grow. "The market has made some tremendous strides over the last several years, and we believe metal is now the second most popular residential roofing product choice," said Allen. "Through the efforts of the Metal Roofing Alliance and its member companies, awareness of metal roofing products is much greater than ever before. The momentum is definitely positive, and we think there's still tremendous upside to the market."
"In Vermont, metal is king," said Burgart, "Snow shedding is a big, big issue, as well as ice dams, and metal gives us a huge advantage." More and more consumers are now aware of the advantages of a metal roof, he continued, noting he gets most of his leads through the MRA Web site, through word of mouth, or through the manufacturer.
The folks at Kassel & Irons and their contractor partners are planning to make the most of this promising market by concentrating on quality products and professional installation. "Even though we've been in the market a relatively short time, the positive feedback we've received from both contractors and homeowners has been overwhelming," said Allen. "We've had homeowners that have literally called up and just gushed about their roof and how much they love it. We're definitely thankful for those types of responses, and our goal is to continue living up to such high praise on an everyday basis."
For more information, visit the company's Web site, www.kasselandirons.com.