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The language of roof coatings seems to be changing. Increasingly, amid comments about heating loads and reflectivity, manufacturers are encouraging maintenance managers to view a roof coating not only as a repair option but also as another type of roofing system. Now, manufacturers hope the change in language will lead to a change of thinking among end users.
"Applying a roof coating has been viewed as painting the roof," says Vince LaBruzzo, national sales manager for National Coatings Corp. "They are not viewed as roofing systems." The way managers in institutional and commercial facilities view roof coatings is certain to receive more attention in coming years because managers, often focused on initial cost in specifying coatings, are incorporating sustainability into their specification decisions.
"A roof coating can be a retrofit for almost any system, and it can have the same life as a new roof," says Peter Davis, president of Gaco Western. "This is an alternative to a new roof."
Until sustainability entered the conversation, the initial questions from most managers in the market for roof coatings were somewhat predictable and basic.
"Before, they would ask, 'How long will it last, and how cheap can it be?'" Davis says.
Performance life also dominated the conversation.
"They would ask, 'Can it be renewed, and what do I have to do to maintain it?'" LaBruzzo says. Now, managers are more likely to ask about a coating's solvent content and its impact on the environment.
"Sustainability has drawn even with cost" as a priority, Davis says, even though managers "have significant budget issues, particularly in this economy."
One challenge for manufacturers is to help managers find the connection between roof coatings and green issues.
"Sustainability is a strong suit of roof coatings, since they can be re-applied every 10 years to extend a roof's performance virtually indefinitely," says Kate Baumann, director of marketing, customer service and procurement with Mule-Hide Products Co. Inc.
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