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S2:E50 Darci Kunard - Wintertime Repairs and the Importance of Having the Right Product - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

FiberTite - Darci Kunard RRT
December 8, 2020 at 1:14 p.m.

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an interview with Darci Kunard, Senior Product Manager of DuraMaster. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast here.

Announcer:
Welcome to Roofing Road Trips With Heidi. Explore the roofing industry through the eyes of a long-term professional within the trade. Listen for insights, interviews, and exciting news in the roofing industry today. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Hello and welcome to another Roofing Road Trips. This is Heidi Ellsworth, our CS partner, and I am here today with Darci Kunard of Franklin International. Welcome Darci. 

Darci Kunard:
Thanks so much Heidi. I appreciate you having me on again. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
You know you're one of my favorites. I am always excited when we get to come and talk about what you're doing over there at Franklin and Titebond.

Darci Kunard:
Oh, thank you very much, I love you too.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I know, it's fun. Well for everyone out there Darci is the sealant product manager and she's been in the industry for a longtime, but I'm going to let Darci ... Tell us a little bit about yourself and tell us some more about Franklin. 

Darci Kunard:
Absolutely. So I've been in this sealant world for almost 10 years now and with Franklin International for almost three, so very much passionate about building materials and the roofing industry. Absolutely adore sealants because who [inaudible 00:01:10] live without them. That's what keeps us safe, and dry, and free of pests and mold. And I know it's rare to have someone who is very passionate about sealants but I am that person.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love that. I love that. We need to be passionate. We're passionate about roofing and you get the whole building with your sealants. 

Darci Kunard:
Yes, absolutely. I mean-

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. 

Darci Kunard:
... [crosstalk 00:01:32] what would a building be without a roof?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, that's true. It's very true. Okay, tell us ... I know the WeatherMaster line, I mean it is so well known, Titebond is so well know. Tell us about that full line, the WeatherMaster sealants and their applications, just to kind of give the baseline for everybody to be familiar with your products, if they already aren't.

Darci Kunard:
Oh, absolutely. So Titebond is very well known for its glues. That's kind of a staple that has been driving our product portfolio since the 1930s. So one thing that makes Franklin extremely unique is that we are a chemical company and produce our own polymers for all of our products. And that is one of the things that makes the WeatherMaster line unique. In addition to fantastic adhesion it also has extreme flexibility, so it will expand and contract up to 50% of the joint size, and that's throughout the whole sealant line. 
So in that WeatherMaster line we have our basic WeatherMaster, which is for siding, window, and doors. Then we have our Metal Roof Sealant, obviously for metal roofs and any other type of metal material. So what's really unique about that one is that it sticks to Kynar coated metals, which not a lot of sealants do that. And then we have our ULTIMATE MP, where the MP stands for multipurpose; our Gutter & Seam Sealant; and then rounding out the portfolio is the Concrete Joint SL, where the SL stands for self-leveling. And then the WeatherMaster line, all of these products have specific characteristics that make them that all-weather sealant, so you can apply in extreme weather conditions, whether it's zero degrees or 120 degrees outside; It'll stick to wet surfaces, damp surfaces; UV resistant, of course; and then that great strong adhesion and movement capability. And then also everything is paintable, as well as compatible with all types of foam. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. Wow. I mean, that's the type of product that every contractor needs to have available to the crews all the time, because you never know. I mean, whether you're doing a re-roof or you're doing repairs, or even new construction, this is the type of ... The flexibility that you're talking about, and the breadth of the line, really can make a difference for contractors having that on the job sites. 

Darci Kunard:
Absolutely. And what a lot of people aren't aware of is that Titebond is an excellent source for color matching. So, for example, our WeatherMaster line, we have 200 plus stock colors; our Metal Roof line we have 100 colors; and ULTIMATE MP we have 15 colors. So we've got a lot of colors made to match, so that you don't have to paint over the sealant, because that's kind of a pain of doing your job twice. And then we also have the ability to custom match to colors. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow! That's cool. That's cool. And one of the ... This podcast, the title of it was really talking about that winter work and we're right in the thick of the winter. And so as you're sharing the fact that it can be applied at such low temperatures, it can go onto damp surfaces, I mean all of those are pretty cool. So talk a little bit about what you're seeing with really the crews out there right now doing repairs, doing winter work, and really how you can use that line of sealants, how the roofing crews can make the best use of them. 

Darci Kunard:
Absolutely. So what we're seeing ... I'm based in Colorado, but Franklin is based in Ohio, and so we have a wide array of weather right now. For example, today in Colorado it was 65 degrees, beautiful, sunny. Yet the house across the street from me needed a roof repair yesterday and there's still snow on their roof, so that's something that they can use our WeatherMaster line to be able to repair that, especially whether it's a gutter that's leaking or just a little roof tile that needs to be repaired. That's something that can be done regardless of whether it's 65 degrees or 30 degrees and snowing, so it's a nice, I guess, use useful-

Heidi Ellsworth:
[crosstalk 00:05:51] Yeah. Well and it's something that's so necessary because you just don't know what you're going to find half the time, especially now in COVID. I was talking with a roofing contractor and they can't always get into the attic, they can't always have as big of inspections, so you don't know what you're going to find a lot of times. 

Darci Kunard:
Yeah, absolutely. And if I was going to choose maybe one to just keep in our truck at all times I would definitely select the ULTIMATE MP, maybe just in white, because if you need to paint it you can or it can just blend in with other surfaces. But that would be something that would be very handy to keep on a truck.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Because we're seeing a lot of homeowners ... I mean, I know this is both residential and commercial applications, for sure, but we're seeing so many inspections, and service and repair programs that are coming together. So having that, I like that. That's the one product that you should definitely have in every truck and everybody should have on the job sites to make sure that if you need something you have it.

Darci Kunard:
Absolutely. Well and all of the WeatherMaster line adheres great to any surface, so whether it's stone, brick, tile, metal of course, siding, fiber cement. Whatever that substrate is we have a fantastic adhesion to it. And what's really great, like our Metal Roof and our ULTIMATE MP lines, those are both Miami-Dade certified, so that's-

Heidi Ellsworth:
[crosstalk 00:07:16] Nice. 
Well and you know ... I mean, you know when you get the Miami-Dade you can handle wind, I mean that's just a given. And it used to be, "Well that's just more coastal," or whatever. No, we're seeing winds everywhere. I mean, huge winds.

Darci Kunard:
Yes. In Colorado the other day we had 80 mile an hour winds. I mean-

Heidi Ellsworth:
[crosstalk 00:07:38] Oh gosh.

Darci Kunard:
... it's crazy and it was all day long, it was sustained winds. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Yeah, so really it's no longer thinking just one regional area. We need to be having performance products, like WeatherMaster sealants, available all the time. And really that is one of the things I wanted to kind of talk about too, because Darci you are well known as an amazing marketer and sales person, and so I know that the sealants is just part of it but not to tongue-in-cheek, it's the glue of the system. It's what kind of makes sure that everything's all right. So how can roofing contractors slide that kind of information, that they're using top-of-the-line, quality sealants to really protect the home, or the building, or the office? How do you recommend that contractors use the Titebond and the WeatherMaster brands in their sales and marketing programs?

Darci Kunard:
So one of the things that contractors can do is to highlight that they are using top-of-the-line, unmatched performance products. And that is something that they can show to their, whether it's residential or commercial, users that, "Hey, we have these great products. And not only are we going to have ... We're going to stand behind our work, we have products that kind of back that up." 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. And I think that ... I don't know. I just had some calls this week and really we were talking about in today's world it comes down to some of the smallest things, right? That you need to really show quality and value at every step because homeowners are all ... They're researching, they have more time, they're looking at their roofs, they're looking around to make sure everything's right, so now more than ever they want to hear these types about the right products to give them the best installation or the best repairs. 

Darci Kunard:
Absolutely. And when you think about the cost of a sealant versus the cost of, say, re-roofing or replacing a window, or some siding, the sealant is really the least amount of cost versus the item that you're replacing. So when you're doing that, I mean, why would you skimp on a sealant, when that's something that will really highlight the performance? 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Especially when if you do skimp, and you use a non-performing product, that actually can be the biggest problem in call backs and water intrusion. 

Darci Kunard:
Absolutely. And especially on roof. I mean, why would you use anything that is a low performing product? 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Yeah. One little leak and that's all it takes.

Darci Kunard:
Absolutely. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
You're in trouble. 

Darci Kunard:
Right. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
So one of the other things, too, that I kind of wanted to talk about was ... Before we get out ... I'm really excited to talk about 2021, but I also wanted ... Before we leave this topic of winter work and repairs, we know we're in a labor shortage, and we know that where time savings and labor savings on the roof is so important. So really kind of on that same line of using the right product, products that work and that stick, what are you seeing with contractors around time savings and labor savings, with using the WeatherMaster line? 

Darci Kunard:
So I would definitely say in terms of time savings not having to guess whether or not this product is going to perform outside, especially in the weather in the winter. If you have to use a product that the surface has to be completely dry that's not really compatible with our weather right now. Additionally, if you have to wonder whether or not this is going to adhere to a wide variety of substrates that's another component. If you're constantly reading the back of the tube and wondering, "Is this actually going to work," with the WeatherMaster line you never have to wonder about that. Another concern we hear a lot about is crews that have difficultly working with products that either have a high smell or solvent-based, that are quite big in VOCs. We hear that a lot of contractor crews don't want the hassle of that type of product. Either that or they're worried about their crew being able to use that product, or have some ill effects from it. And so with the WeatherMaster line you don't have to worry about that, it's solvent-free, it's zero VOCs, so it's just a nice easy product to use. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, that ... You don't think about that all the time too, because if your crews are having to deal with ... I mean, and the roofing industry, especially, has changed so much. I mean, decades ago you just knew it was going to smell bad on a roof, whereas today that's changed, it's totally different.

Darci Kunard:
Absolutely. Well and several of our sealants, if you just apply it in bead form and walk away you don't have to worry about tooling it, which is, I think, a huge help.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. 

Darci Kunard:
Think of the added time when you're sitting there trying to tool it, and smooth it out, and maybe even make it look nice. If you can apply these, which you can apply all these in bead form, and just walk away and not have to worry about it.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's a huge time savings. And knowing it's going to stick, that's the other thing-

Darci Kunard:
[crosstalk 00:13:05] absolutely. Yep.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, the confidence in the job. So with everything that you already have, and the chemistry at Franklin behind it, what are some of the cool things that you're looking at for 2021? What can we look forward to?

Darci Kunard:
Well I think the last podcast we talked about my little baby product, DuraMaster, which we're very excited about. So [inaudible 00:13:27] promoting that into 2021. It is a water-based sealant, so a bit different than our WeatherMaster line. Another item that we came out with in 2020, that we will be promoting quite heavily in 2021, is our PVC Trim Adhesive and Sealant. And so it's very similar to the WeatherMaster line, with that same base polymer that we manufacture in Ohio, however it's designed to be an adhesive and a sealant, specifically for the PVC trim applications. Hard to say. So think about PVC siding, and decking, railing, different systems interior as well. But it's just a two-in-one system, which is unlike anything else on the market today. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow! That's very interesting because PVC is continuing to grow in the market. 

Darci Kunard:
It absolutely is. And then we'll launch a few more sealants in 2021. I have a few more water-based, just contractor-grade sealants that will come out with in March. And then we will, most likely, have a roof tile adhesive and sealant as well. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow, very cool. As you're looking forward into 2021, and I know you work with contractors every single day, what are some of the trends that you're seeing from the contractors, along with ... And then really, kind of with the topic of this podcast I'm really interested in service and maintenance programs, and really kind of where do you see that going or what are you hearing from contractors?

Darci Kunard:
So I belong to several contractor forums and one of the things that people are talking about is that they are called out for a specific job and then the homeowner says, "Hey, I also need this done," or, "I also need that done." And so they're becoming more of a jack-of-all-trades. It's so difficult for a homeowner to get someone out there. And then once they have them they are really needing more help than what they've talked about, when they've gotten them to come out on a job. 
The other thing that I've seen is contractors are offering to do different things. For example, one of my drywall contractors the other day is talking about he is starting to remodel bathrooms, which is a very different business model for him but he's seeing a need for that. With people staying home more they are more willing to do a bit more remodeling. They're not spending their discretionary income on travel and probably sport events, concerts, that type of thing. So he's seeing a lot more homeowners asking for different remodeling projects. And, of course, if they're out there for a roof leak or something they might ask, "What about some window installations," or can they patch some siding, we've seen that as well. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
I think that is such a great insight because I'm seeing that more. Not as much ... I mean, I'm hearing it, definitely, from the contractors and we have some really great contractors that have expanded from roofing into overall home improvements. But I'm even seeing it on the other side, from a consumer standpoint, with homeowners, is once you get that one contractor who's really good you just want to say, "Please do everything for me," because it's hard ... I mean, there's a lot of backlogs, there's a lot of demand for good contractors right now.

Darci Kunard:
Absolutely. And it's difficult to get someone even to come out. As an example, I needed someone to hang my Christmas lights, of all strange things. I'm probably not a good person to be on the roof with vertigo, so just getting someone to come out and do that. And once I did I think probably five or six neighbors were, "Hey, what's your business card? How much does this cost? Can you come do my house?" So definitely a nice bonus. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, we have seen the exact same thing. The exact same thing. So I think one of the things, and to kind of bring that back around the winter work and repairs, is to have the right products but to also build the relationship with your manufacturers. And, I think, sometimes when we talk about manufacturers everybody thinks just the shingles, or the metal, or whatever, but it's really working with someone like you who sees all sides of it. You're seeing everything, as you are getting the sealants out into the market. So I think just speak to that a little bit, about building ... You're so good at this, building those relationships with your suppliers, with your manufacturers, and the importance that is for these service and maintenance programs or expanded home improvement that the contractors are trying to diversify into. 

Darci Kunard:
Yes, absolutely, that's a great insight because I think a lot of people just assume it's the big manufacturers and not just sealants. Something that I have done with some of our contractors is done a Zoom or a GoToMeeting with their customers and their sales people. And we've just talked through the different sealants available for their job and the different performance characteristics. And if it's not our sealant I'm happy to say that, but nine times out of 10 we have something in our line that's going to fit what the customer's looking for, and then also educate the reps on the performance characteristics and what is needed for the job. Because sometimes, while we have a wide array of sealants, they don't know exactly which one to choose from, so I'm happy to help with that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is great. That is excellent. So we're coming up to the end of our half hour Darci. [crosstalk 00:19:08] It always goes so fast with you. That's so awesome. 

Darci Kunard:
[crosstalk 00:19:12] my old friend, that's great. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
I always like to leave with how, how to, right? What can our listeners ... What can they do next? How do they ... If they haven't ... If they aren't using WeatherMaster right now, or if they're interested in learning more about it, where can we send them? Besides, of course, RoofersCoffeeShop where we have all of your information but what are some of the other places?

Darci Kunard:
Yeah, absolutely. If they visit Titebond.com, they can check out our website, see all of our product offerings, which we not only have glues and sealants, we also have construction adhesives and some specialty adhesives as well. Additionally, we have a great Instagram and YouTube channel. [crosstalk 00:19:57] just released probably five new videos on our YouTube channel, just aimed at how-tos and showcasing some of the product attributes of our flagship products. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is excellent. That is perfect. And, like I said, Titebond and WeatherMaster, Franklin, the company and then all the products around it are all on RoofersCoffeeShop too. So the full directory, we have you in our videos, our last podcast is under the podcast. So I really encourage all of our listeners to take the time to do some of that research; watch the videos; listen to Darci's last podcast, which was awesome; and take the time. This wintertime get the right products and get them into your truck because it will only help your business, as we've heard today. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
So, Darci, thank you so much for being here today.

Darci Kunard:
Oh thank you Heidi. And if I can add one more thing? 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes.

Darci Kunard:
Yeah. We have a tech service 1-800 number, and it is on our website, and that is something that anyone can use at any time. They can call up, I think it's Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00 Central time, I believe is the right time on there. But, basically, if they have a question, what sealant to use, if something will perform on a certain substrate, this is a ... These technical experts who can help them out.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's a great resource. That is an excellent resource. 

Darci Kunard:
Yes. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Because you don't know what you're going to find out there nowadays. You just don't know.

Darci Kunard:
Absolutely. Absolutely. And they're happy to answer any questions. They're just great. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is great. Well, thank you so much Darci. Thank you for being here today.

Darci Kunard:
Sure. Thanks for your time Heidi, I really appreciate you having me on.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you. And I really thank everybody for listening. I hope you're listening on your favorite podcast channel and that you subscribe to all of the RoofersCoffeeShop podcasts. And, of course, you can find podcast, videos, e-books, all the information that you want under our Read Listen Watch section of RoofersCoffeeShop.com. So thank you again and have a great day. Bye. 

Announcer:
Make sure to subscribe to our channel and leave a review. Thanks for listening. This has been Roofing Road Trips With Heidi from the RoofersCoffeeShop.com.



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