Vice President of Operations
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 Joel Shealey, Vice President of Operations, Bitec, Inc., had to say.
RC: How would you describe the state of the roof coatings market today?
JS: The roof coatings market today is strong but may be beginning to level off the rapid expansion it has seen over the last several years. Many building owners and managers are now aware of how they can increase the life of their roofs through the proper use of coatings and proper roof maintenance.
We are curious to see how the current financial lending markets may lead to a possible second increase in the adoption of coatings in the next few years.
RC: How does your company or key product fit into that discussion?
JS: Bitec's industry-leading coating offerings of acrylics, silicones, and liquid rubber are a preferred option for many contactors and building owners. Our product offerings allow us to provide a coating offering for nearly any roof.
RC: Are you still feeling any impacts of the materials shortage? What lessons were learned?
JS: The material shortages that the industry experienced last year have largely subsided. We were fortunate to have had some stock of the key raw materials when the shortages began to occur, which allowed us to weather the storm. Our team did a wonderful job of securing alternate materials where they could, to keep our delivery times to a minimum.
RC: What are the chief misconceptions about coatings in the roofing market today?
JS: Everyone in the industry must remember that no one has a miracle-in-a-can to fix a roof beyond repair. As an industry, we feel that most [contractors] do a very good job of passing on questionable applications and helping to ensure the continued good reputation of the liquid-applied roofing industry.
RC: What other challenges do you foresee impacting the coatings market in the next year?
JS: The two things likely to have the highest impacts on the coatings market are the current financial markets and the fact that we are [heading] into an election year. High interest rates and election-cycle uncertainty tend to suppress investment in the building envelope industry.
RC: Any message to roofers not in the coatings market?
JS: Coatings are an excellent alternative and addition to your sales and marketing plan. They’re a great addition to any contractor's toolbox, allowing for diversification and increased sales.
RC: How are you contributing to the sustainability/resiliency conversation in roofing?
JS: By being in the coatings industry, we are providing solutions to roofing problems and mitigating environmental impacts associated with reroofing and roof tear-offs. Coatings can nearly extend the life of a roof indefinitely, if applied at proper intervals and if the roof is properly maintained.
RC: What are you proudest of about your organization in 2023?
JS: We have experienced significant growth over the last few years and this has continued through the first half of 2023. Our team has overcome many hurdles and continues to outperform at every opportunity.
RC: What are your biggest concerns looking ahead?
JS: The financial markets today are not business friendly, and 2024 being an election year will likely have some negative impact on the marketplace. Global tensions are also a concern as they can have a major impact on the supply chain.