By Heidi J. Ellsworth, RCS Partner.
IKO was founded in 1951 in Canada. It first manufactured building paper and then expanded to include coated roll roofing. Its first asphalt shingle was made in 1954, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The company thrived and grew, first establishing itself in eastern Canada with the opening of the Brampton, Ontario, shingle plant in 1959. Success in Brampton led to further expansion, next into the European market with the construction of a shingle plant in Ham, Belgium, in 1972. Expansion continued in Canada, with the addition of a new facility in Hawkesbury, Ontario, in 1976.
IKO entered the U.S. marketplace in 1979 through various acquisitions and has since expanded its presence by building new plants across North America. The most recent plant to open was in Sylacauga, Alabama and another is currently under construction in Hillsboro, Texas.
In all of its plants, IKO implements a program of continuous improvement that includes updating equipment and refining systems and processes in order to maximize efficiency and productivity, reduce waste and enhance performance and safety.
In Canada, IKO specializes in the manufacture of commercial roofing systems, ranging from mechanically attached to heat-welded (APP and SBS), cold-applied membranes and built-up roofing (BUR). They also manufacture a full range of building envelope products: thermal insulation, air/vapor barriers, overlay and cover boards, adhesives, primers and other accessories.
IKO’s manufacturing facilities don’t operate in isolation; they collaborate to ensure their technologies are aligned in order to consistently deliver high-quality products no matter where they’re made - plant-to-plant, even batch-to-batch. Stringent quality controls are tightly monitored and enforced in every plant. Today, more than 60 years after its founding, IKO has grown to be among the world’s largest exporters of asphalt shingles.
IKO is now a worldwide enterprise with more than 3,500 employees and more than 25 manufacturing plants in Canada, the United States, England, Belgium, Holland, France and Slovakia. The company ships roofing products to 96 countries around the globe.
Despite its tremendous growth, IKO has remained firmly rooted in its founder’s core values, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to quality. The company maintains its fierce independence and adheres to its belief in the importance of controlling the raw materials used in its manufacturing processes, a practice known as “vertical integration.”
The company is also a leader in the commercial roofing, insulation and waterproofing businesses in both North America and Europe. IKO has production plants for industrial roofing membranes, liquid waterproofing products and polyisocyanurate (ISO/PIR) insulation on both sides of the Atlantic.
IKO further strives to provide the industry with world-class service and products. From backroom to boardroom, the company’s employees share IKO’s ideals of craftsmanship, attention to detail and exemplary service for its customers. Their unwavering commitment to excellence in all they do is the key pillar in the company’s success in today’s competitive marketplace.
From a humble beginning to a modern manufacturer with global reach, IKO has remained wholly dedicated to the foundational values of the business as envisioned by its founder. That rare and precious combination of timeless values, forward thinking and cutting-edge technology will allow IKO to continue to lead the way for its industry now and in the future.