Vice President of Sales
Huntsman Building Solutions
The supply chain issues impacting the roofing industry following the COVID-19 pandemic have eased and though record inflation still persists, it has started to slow.
While economic uncertainty is rarely good news for roofers, there is an opportunity for contractors looking to capitalize on perceived fears of stalled capital expenditures by focusing on coatings.
RC asked several leaders in the roof coatings space about the state of the coatings market, the opportunities for roofing contractors, and what their companies are planning for the future. Here’s what Keith Stevenson, vice president of sales with Huntsman Building Solutions had to say.
RC: How would you describe the state of the roof coatings market today?
KS: The roof coatings market is limitless. Not only are roof coatings an ideal solution for new construction, but they also optimize roof retrofits. Thus, the demand for roof coatings persists, even as the construction market fluctuates. This sector has a lot of opportunities for the contractors currently active in it and those considering entering the space.
RC: How does your company or key product fit into that discussion?
KS: Huntsman Building Solutions offers roof coatings in a variety of both acrylic and silicone options. Our industry leading HFO-based roofing spray foams are optimal for use underneath our roof coatings. We believe our products in these categories are best-in-class. We continue to invest significantly into both innovation and our manufacturing capabilities. Our R&D focuses on enhancing product offerings that are both easy to spray and that have a long life.
RC: Are you still feeling any impacts of the materials shortage? What lessons were learned?
KS: We are not currently experiencing any materials shortages. Over the past few years, we all witnessed how the unpredictability of world events can impact the supply chain. Something that occurs globally, which we cannot control, can affect our supply. Our team has learned the importance of being as prepared as possible for the unexpected to stay ahead of the curve. And I believe that most companies active in our industry also now understand they should.
RC: What are the chief misconceptions about coatings in the roofing market today?
KS: A common misconception is that anybody can apply these products at any time of day. We are firm believers in training and safety. While roof coatings provide exceptional benefits, contractors must be professionally trained to install them correctly.
The obvious goal with any roof coatings application is that, once applied, the roof will outlast its warranty. However, contractors using products without proper training put themselves at risk for problems. Training is key and ultimately helps the contractor maximize customer satisfaction and profit.
RC: What other challenges do you foresee impacting the coatings market in the next year?
KS: Inflation and the general economy will likely continue to impact different facets of construction. Additionally, building owners are likely going to have limited funds and resources to put toward either upgrading systems or maintaining their roofs in the proper way. Inflation, which remains elevated, is putting pinch on maintenance and upgrade budgets.
RC: Any message to roofers not in the coatings market?
KS: Contractors looking for an alternative and increasingly efficient way to apply roofing in various settings might consider gaining expertise in roof coatings. Roof coatings are the future and offer a great revenue stream for contractors. Again, the possibilities in this field are limitless.
RC: How are you contributing to the sustainability/resiliency conversation in roofing?
KS: First, all of our roofing spray foam systems are made of recycled content, including discarded PET plastic water bottle waste destined for landfills. Second, our spray foam roofing and coatings, which are typically used as a combined system, provide an enhanced R-value you can’t achieve with many other roofing systems. Finally, our roofing spray foams and coatings provide a lot of reflectivity, which helps enable superb energy efficiency. The high R-value with reflectivity is a winning sustainability combo.
Notably, the spray foam roofing that is part of this combined solution is also a highly resilient solution. The material’s adhesion qualities make it ideal where severe weather cycling, storms, wind, hail and other conditions cause damage. It increases wind uplift resistance when installed to the roof substrate and, when applied to concrete, wind uplift protection is even stronger. Our spray foam roofing meets the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) criteria of the Florida Building Code and the material’s ability to withstand leaks due to hail is also unsurpassed.
RC: What are you proudest of about your organization in 2023?
KS: I am most proud of our continued commitment to develop new products that are easy for contractors to apply and that extend the lifespan of the roof, as well as of the overall sustainability and energy efficiency of our roof foam and coatings solutions.
RC: What are your biggest concerns looking ahead?
KS: The biggest concerns surround the uncertainties in the economy. The potential for new builds and projects to come out of the ground will be uncertain for a time. Also, the pinch on upkeep budgets is a concern. The economic environment is just not as stable as we would all like it to be.