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The Science of Performance - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

The Science of Performance - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION
January 3, 2024 at 1:00 p.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Melissa Dunson from TAMKO. You can read the interview below, watch the webinar or listen to the podcast.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Hello everyone. Welcome to the first RLW of 2024. That's Read Listen Watch on RoofersCoffeeShop. My name is Heidi Ellsworth and I'm so happy to have you all here for this presentation today. This is about the science of performance and we're talking about asphalt shingles and how they perform and how important the science behind that is. So we have our experts here today from TAMKO and TAMKO is the leader in performance products. So I am so happy to introduce and welcome to the show, Melissa Dunson. Hello Melissa.

Melissa Dunson: Hello Heidi. I am so excited to be on this awesome broadcast with you again.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah, this is great. You are a return favorite, that's for sure. Why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself and let everybody know a little bit about what you do at TAMKO.

Melissa Dunson: Absolutely. So I'm Melissa Denson and I am the manager of marketing and communications for TAMKO Building Products. Been with the company a long time and I've worn a number of different hats while I was here. Being in marketing, it's been a really exciting time that TAMKO for anybody who's been paying attention. We've had really a movement into performance products and performance marketing and done some really fun and cool things including demos and hands-on contractor events and anybody you could find us at an event or a trade show booth and we'll show you what it's all about. But performance is incredibly important and it's been really where TAMKO has been going, especially for the last several years.

Heidi J Ellsworth: That is great, and we're going to talk about that today and that's what I'm so excited about is really what's behind the science and what's behind the performance, the science and what's important. So I do want to just a few housekeeping before we dive in. And first of all, as everyone knows, this is being recorded and it will be available within 24 hours. So be sure to share this with your friends, your roofing professionals, the industry as a whole. This is great information to share out there. We also have our chat open, so we would love to have you all, let us know who you are and where you're from, what kind of business that you have. Feel free to chat as long as we go. I will be reading comments and also any questions you have as we go. So be a part of the conversation. We're excited to have you all here. So, okay, Melissa, let's start with a little bit of a history lesson. What is the history of asphalt shingles?

Melissa Dunson: Yeah, it's possible. You have a very diverse sort of audience that you cater to. I am surprised sometimes when I talk to people in the roofing industry, maybe their knowledge of roofing doesn't go quiet back to 1903. So we'll give a very short history lesson. It might be a recap for some people, but yeah, that's really what's believed to be the creation date of asphalt shingles is 1903. Previously there was rolled roofing and they were coated with granules, and then around 1903, a guy cut them into pieces. And then, of course, after that came the development of the strip shingle and then elite glass seal, the three tab shingles that was developed. And at the time, organic, it's really fallen out of favor mostly, but that was what we had, which was like an organic paper that was made from old rags and recycled paper and they smashed it all up.

I don't know if anybody's ever done that as a kid or with your kids. Throw that stuff in a blender, you blend it up with some water, put it over a sieve, and then you've made a paper. And then that was coated with asphalt and granules were added. That really was happening around the 1960s, fiberglass mat was introduced and interestingly it did not take off right away. People didn't really like it. There was actually some concern at the time the way that it was being done. They didn't feel like it maybe performed as well against wind. It was a little lighter and thinner, but really in the 1970s and then in the eighties, it really started taking off and everybody wanted fiberglass.

And then we talked about the introduction of three tabs, which is the single ply. That was really what we had for a long time. And then the introduction of architectural dimensional, laminated all words for the same thing, essentially the two different layers of shingles made and then the laminated together and it really gives that dimensional look that people were really seeking after. And it was a double layer. So it usually came with long warranties and a lot more dimension on the roof.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah. As you know, Melissa, my background is I started working for an asphalt shingle manufacturer myself in the beginning. So that is a perfect description. And you did that very well, very succinctly. Yeah. But I think along with the history and where we've come, the big part of this is the science and what is important in the science of creating high performance asphalt shingles. So let's just take us through this and talk a little bit about the different sciences that you've seen through your experience in the industry, but also that you're working on.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah, absolutely. I think anybody who's been in the roofing industry for very long or knows anything about it that shingles are not the same shingles that they used to be, they are wildly different and the materials that go into them are different. And the production lines, the machinery that's used to make them is different. The technology that's in them, the features of shingles. Shingles did not really used to have many features, and they were mostly the same right as you went along. And as time has gone on, that's really changed and you've seen pull lines of shingles being brought forth that have different higher levels of performance and features that not just benefit end users like property owners, but also roofing contractors. And so we'll talk about a few of those. So you have a list on your color technology. So rather than just black granules across the whole thing, over the years, there've been special blends that have been developed and all of those blends and those drops on shingles are all controlled through computers. They're through special programs drops.

At TAMKO, we're pretty loud and proud about the fact that we hear from the industry all the time that we have the best shingle colors in the industry, and that's because we do things a little differently and we do have an extra drop and we have special curated blends and specially programmed drops to really give that. One of the things that has been really interesting in the industry and anybody who's been in the industry has noticed it is it used to be really muted colors. People wanted black, people wanted brown, people wanted gray. And then really, TAMKO was one of the first to do this, but developed a whole line of high contrast shingle colors and blends that was specifically meant to emulate colors within nature, not just maybe wood shake. The shape is still wood shake, but different kinds of colors like rock faces and trees and various things like that. So we call ours the America's National Colors Collection. It's a very high contrast, very poppy.

We have some of our most popular colors like black walnut and thunderstorm gray in that. So that's really been a major change. It used to be black shingles or maybe brown, you were lucky, but now there's so many amazing colors and there's reds in, there's greens and golds, and it just creates so much more dimension on the roof and it fits a much wider range of types of homes and colors of homes. So that's one of the things going on. It's changed dramatically over the years. One of the other things is anybody, again, who's been roofing in the last 15 years has seen how nailing lines have gone from this big, where it's has to be in the common bond to a much wider nailing zone. And this is one of those technologies that it doesn't necessarily benefit the property owner, but this is really something that manufacturers had created to benefit roofing contractors so that crews could work faster while being accurate and feeling the confidence to be able to nail in those expanded nailing zones while still knowing that the shingle was going to hold together.

So different manufacturers have accomplished a wide nailing zone in different ways. At TAMKO, I'll move right onto the next one, the anchor lock layer, so a nailing line reinforcement. And at TAMKO ours is called the anchor lock layer. It is a proprietary polyester fabric that we use. It's a two-inch strip, and we embed it into the common bond of the backside of the shingle while the asphalt is hot and wet and the whole thing binds together. It's an incredibly strong fiber. It's a nonwoven, which is a little different than what some other companies do. And because of that, it's very much like a fabric and it's very difficult. If you've seen any of our performance videos, it's very difficult to tear and it performs really, really well against high winds, which is why we have that industry-first high wind warranty for only four nails in that expanded nailing zone.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Wow. Wow.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah. Yeah. The other important part of high wind performance is sealants, right? Because in a perfect world, you wouldn't even need a nail line reinforcement because the sealant holds so strong. So some of the difference in sealants in modern times is the addition of polymers into it, which causes there to be a softer sealant that doesn't require maybe as long or as high of temperatures to seal down, which is really helpful, especially in colder climates or really windy climates where you are needing it to seal down quickly. So that's been a big thing, nailing sealant patterns and then also how much sealant compresses. Those are all really important attributes. And at TAMKO, a few years ago, we relaunched our Proline series of shingles, launched those with this newly developed family of sealants that really is incredibly aggressive, and it's been really well-received by roofing contractors, especially for use in cold refinements. And we're here, what is it, January the middle of-

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yes, yes.

Melissa Dunson: It's prevalent in this moment in time. I think it was like 27 degrees when I woke up this morning. And then granules. Granules are, a lot of people think that they're related to color technology and that that's really, they're mostly made to make shingles beautiful. The fact that they make shingles more beautiful is a wonderful after-effects of it. The purpose of granules is that they're actually deflecting the UV rays, and why does that matter? Because that is protecting the asphalt underneath, which is really what's causing those shingles to be able to shed water. And so you have to protect that asphalt for longevity on the roof. And so the granules are incredibly important, not only having those granules and quality granules, but making sure that they're embedded in the good adhesion with that asphalt so that they stay in place for a long time. And then actually the matte technology, matte is not just matte, the quality of the matte matters, the thickness of the matte matters, all of those things.

And as manufacturers have really invested in technology, I'll just speak on TAMKO's matte, really looking at what is the optimum matte, right, the texture and the weight to really create the optimum performance for that particular shingle? And so it's incredibly important. It's not just the asphalt, it's not just the granules, but it's really that core of that fiberglass matte on the inside. And then let's talk about the asphalt. We talk about the weathering layer, but that's asphalt. That is the top coating and the back coating as you take that asphalt or the fiberglass sheet and you're coating it with the asphalt, which at the end of the day is what's making those shingles waterproof and be able to shed water. And I think we're going to really talk about the point of all of this. What is it? Your properties on the next slide.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah, I just think all of this, I love how you put it all together. It's like you're baking a cake almost. Every part of it makes for the total experience and the performance that goes along with it. And that, like you said, Melissa is all about the performance to keep us safe and sound. So let's talk a little bit about first from the elements and overall with asphalt shingles. They have huge market share. What are the important elements that we should be having to protect us from the elements?

Melissa Dunson: Yeah. So I love that you brought that up. So we always talk about our performance shingle line, which is the Proline series. It's a system. It's not just one thing, it's not just, I love that you made that point because it is, it's not just a reinforced nailing line. It's not just a good seal, and it's not just great granule location. It's the fact that all of those different elements, the technologies are working together, and together they make something that's much stronger than the individual pieces by themselves. And that's what really needs to happen in order to protect your house, your property. And that's really what asphalt shingles are made to do. It's what roofing in general is made to do. So we have water tubes at the very bottom, all the other things that are on this list at the end of the day, it's really about that primarily.

It's the reason that you don't want your roof to be impacted is because that can sometimes damage either matting or cause granules to dislodge, and then your asphalt has a tendency to degrade faster, and then it would waterproof, and then you have water intrusion. So all of these things are working together to effectively shed water, thereby protecting all of the people and the contents of your property. So that's why people do it. So one of the things that shingles have to do, there's a base level of these are the things that have to happen. So they have to shed water, they have to do, they need to not blow off the roof. They need to be able to withstand some kind of impact. They need to be able to not just shed water and perform against rain, but also in higher temperatures where we all know that it gets warm on the roof, very, very warm, way warmer on the roof than the ambient temperature.

It also, most areas of the country are going to experience some sort of ice or snow. Everybody's going to experience the sun. And so at the end of the day, roofs have to be able to put up with changes in the temperature and a variety of different kinds of elements and wind and terrain, and they have to perform and they can't just perform for one year or two years. They have to perform long-term to be able to protect the people and the things inside.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah. And you know what? I love too how, it all comes down to water intrusion, but we forget when you go through all these things Melissa, how much all of these different elements attack it. Even thermal stability, when you think about the thermal shock that we're seeing across the country during these big storms, that's moving things, that's changing what's happening on the roof.

Melissa Dunson: Well, I even think about things like if you have plastics that sit outside exposed to nature or metals as they go through those heating and cooling cycles, especially let's talk about plastic, a lot of times those can become brittle and break. That's simply from the variation and what happens when things get hot and then they get very cold and they get very hot and they get very cold. And we all know that roofs have to be able to deal with that, and they have to be able to deal with that year after year for most of the country and still be able to perform. It's interesting, I've given several presentations over the last couple of years really about the need for shingles, all buildings, materials, but specifically roofing shingles because that's one I work in, to perform at a higher level than previously, partly because of really the changes in weather.

There's lots of debate. Are we having more extra weather than we used to? Are we not? Are we just reporting it in different ways? And when you look at the stats, we are having more extreme weather and we're having more costly storms, and there's a lot more hail events than there used to be. And so as we look at some of those stats, and I can provide some of those if people are interested in them, but as we look at some of that stuff, it becomes clear why there is the movement for things like building envelope resilience and all of those kinds of things, things that IBHS and other organizations are working toward, there's a reason that insurance companies are pushing for what they're pushing for and why property owners are responding and saying, Hey, I need higher performing building products. I think one of the questions as somebody who works in specifically asphalt roofing, there's other forms of roofing out there.

I think that one of the questions that we're faced with is can asphalt shingles perform at a level, a high enough level to deal with some of these more extreme weather events that we're seeing across the country? And because of technology and because of innovation, some of the stuff that we've been talking about, we have seen the real life application that yes, asphalt shingles with the right technology that they actually can withstand at the same levels of things like metal and composites and stuff that traditionally have been thought of as being maybe higher wind resistance or more impact resistant.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah, yeah, it's true. And we're seeing it every day. Well, and I think as you're looking at these, the performance that we talked about in this slide previous is also there's the benefits for the homeowners protecting them, but there's also technology is changing the benefits for the contractors and what they should be expecting when they are installing, dealing, selling and just getting their products out there. So talk a little bit about that.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah, I think that one of the things we already touched on, it's maybe the most obvious thing that's come out in the last several years is these wider nailing zones. If you're moving fast and you're doing now, whenever you're trying to blow through a roof a day, trying to get every single nail in something this wide is challenging and every single nail, every single shingle, every single time. And so being able to have some kind of a reinforcement of the nailing zone that enables somebody to be able to have a wider nailing zone while still having the confidence that it's going to perform against winds, that it's not going to de-laminate, that you don't necessarily have to get it in the common bond and you can still have the confidence that it's going to perform.

I think it's really huge for roofing contractors, especially during the last several years where labor and finding skilled labor has been such a challenge because what you do end up with is guys who are really, really good, but they need to move fast because maybe they're one of only half the number of crews you actually need, or you have new people coming to the industry, thank God for them, we're so thankful, but maybe they're not quite as experienced. And so being able to have a little bit more of that workroom is really helpful to them. So wide nail zones, that is a benefit that is specifically created for contractors to help them in their day-to-day business.

And then honestly, being able to have really aggressive sealants. Nobody wants to come back for blow-offs. Nobody wants to. And especially as we've had increased wind events, there are certain places on the coast where you expect high winds, and then there are places like Louisville Kentucky that experienced whatever it was, 200 year old, a 100 year type windstorms. It's just not something you expect. We had the direct... There's all kinds of things, other places where you maybe wouldn't be expecting that high of winds. I will tell a story. So our Titan XT had a friend who was getting their roof here locally where I'm from in southwest Missouri, roofed.

And we had a very sudden, it was cold, it maybe it was a couple years ago during the winter, very sudden windstorm come through, and so there were 70 mile an hour straight line winds that were blowing through. It was so dangerous on the roof that all the guys, they got half of it roofed, and they had to get off the roof because it was too dangerous for the guys to be up there because they were afraid they would get blown off the roof. And so they literally nailed [inaudible 00:21:41] down, climbed down, took cover, and when it got done, they hadn't even had a chance to seal yet, but they didn't lose a single shingle. It was amazing. And the guy, the crew came, they're like, Oh, we believe in this. This is amazing. But then we also have stories. If you're going to talk about sealing power, why does this matter?

I talked with a contractor in Galveston, Texas who installed Titan XT, which has this really aggressive sealant that we had developed, and they had a hurricane go through. He had put Titan down on this giant multifamily about a week before, and the multifamily unit with a different shingle on it next door had to be completely replaced. It had so many blowoffs on it. And she said, I was like, this is so great, the reinforcement. He was like, I'm a big fan of the reinforcement, but that's not what it was. The sealant never even popped, and I don't even know what to say about it, because it had a hurricane that came through. So it's amazing. And that sealant really is the very first line of defense. And the hope is that you never even have to get to the nailing line because the sealant is so good that it doesn't even pop.

So we've installed it at ridiculously low temperatures and it starts to seal. It's really important. And contractors, once they learn how to work with it, that kid just flip a shingle over and lay it somewhere because it'll start to shield once they start understanding it, they are big fans of it. So it's a really important feature that I think benefits both homeowners and then contractors because you can install it in colder temperatures, extend your roofing season. And actually, we're getting ready to talk about a new shingle that we just developed, and I'll give you a little teaser before we talk about that in the next couple slides. But if we want to talk about extending roofers seasons, being able to roof at lower temperatures and still know that that product's warranted because it's part of the application instructions is going to be really huge for roofers for a big chunk of-

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah.

Melissa Dunson: ... and know that it's going to perform even at colder temperatures. So we'll talk more about that in a minute.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah, love it. Yeah.

Melissa Dunson: But then weathering, that's something that obviously property owners are like, this matters to them because of the people who are in the home long term. But one of the things that we've known about roofing is that the contractor is going in there most of the time and they're saying, Hey, this is my preferred shingle. This is what I want, and it's on your house because I believe in it. And when they're doing that, they are putting their reputation on the line. So that product that they recommended needs to perform. And so being able to develop products that perform at high levels, not just for a year or two, but they perform and they weather well, is really important to our customer base. And I think contractors, once they see things perform like that, they can become very loyal and very vocal because it's directly tied to their business and helps make successful.

Heidi J Ellsworth: I was just going to say Melissa, because I'm just seeing, and I'm going to just, I want you to keep going, but I'm going to switch the slide because it's going right into what we were going to talk about next. Hail impact-

Melissa Dunson: That's right.

Heidi J Ellsworth: So I wanted to make sure that we really spent some time on this because I think this is so important. When you think about the billions of dollars is going on through insurance and hail and everything with that, this is key.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah. So I'll give you a couple stats on here. And this is from a presentation I gave at the beginning of this year. So a lot of these stats are from 2022, but insured hail losses increased 10 times. It went from $14 billion per decade to eight to $14 per year. So if there's any confusion about why the push and anybody who've been in roofing, you can see manufacturers moving toward this and getting shingles that didn't use to have a class three impact rating, having them tested and either starting to use that certification or redeveloping their products so that they can get that certification or developing class four products. And we'll talk about the difference between those two. But every single year since 2008, the US has produced at least $10 billion in insured property loss, and the majority of that is hail.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Wow.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah. So you're not crazy if you're thinking to yourself, it does seem like we've had medieval hail events than we used to a long time ago, and you're not crazy. It is a thing that's happening in the industry and state legislatures are responding to it and it's a real thing, but a bunch of them, insurance companies are responding to it. And as a result of those two things, property owners are responding to it. And then as a result of that, contractors are clearly saying, Hey, in order to be competitive and if I'm still going to install asphalt shingles, I need to have an asphalt shingle that performs at these higher levels as well. So class three for people who are maybe less aware, we're talking about impact ratings, and there's a test that was designed by Underwriters Laboratories, it's called UL 2218. And it is measuring the impact resistance of shingles.

So there's several different classifications. There's class two, class three, and class four. We'll talk about class three and class four. Class four used to really be the only thing that anybody ever talked about, and that is where they took a two-inch steel ball, they dropped it from 20 feet multiple times onto a shingle, then they take the shingle, they turn it over a mandrel and they see if it cracked all the way through. That's the test. And so what that was supposed to be showing is that this is something that can stand up to types of impact. And then they would oftentimes, insurance companies would look at that and say, Hey, I'm going to give you an insurance premium discount as a property owner, if you input a Class four shingling roof. Now, UL 2218 also has a class three rating that they give, which is the very same test, except the ball is slightly smaller and the drop is slightly shorter, but otherwise it's the same.

And class three was really, there wasn't really very many products out there. It was not something people really talked about. But in the last several years, I'm going to pontificate here that it's because we've had more hail, but it's a wider variety of-

Heidi J Ellsworth: Mm-hmm.

Melissa Dunson: ... and they're seeing that even smaller hail could be quite damaging. And for a lot of the country, they're much more likely to have a smaller hail event. So you don't necessarily need in all parts of the country to be able to withstand what you have to be a class four shingle. So there's class three is becoming much more popular. And what you're seeing in the insurance industry is insurance companies are trying to find, they don't want to replace as many roofs. That's the deal. More resilient building products. That's the goal. And so they are providing really decent insurance premium discounts for class three.

Those discounts between class three, class four used to be like this. And now it's a lot more like this, much more attractive in loss of the area of the country to really go after class three. So you will have seen, so Titan XT is a class three impact rated shingle. There are a number of other shingles that have added that class three impact rating as well as really this industry has moved toward this, and I expect that in you. And there'd be continue to be additional class three impact rated shingles that are added to the market, because that's really a trend that we see continuing. Now, high winds. High winds. So our Titan XT shingle, actually all of our Proline shingles, they have this reinforcement. So it has a super aggressive sealant, which is that first line of defense. And we've seen it, the sealant not even pop in hurricane force winds.

And then you have the reinforcement, which is we have tested at very high levels of simulated winds. And then even seeing anybody who hadn't seen the case study of Hurricane Ian yet, you can go check it out. It's pretty remarkable. The only roofs in an entire neighborhood that didn't have to be replaced were either metal or Titan XT, and I think when contractors and property owners see that kind of performance against high winds, they've really become believers. It's been incredibly successful for us in Florida as contractors to say, Hey, that shingle that I want [inaudible 00:30:14]. And homeowners are like, yes, please. That's the shingle that I want.

Heidi J Ellsworth: People don't want to have their roof replaced all the time.

Melissa Dunson: No.

Heidi J Ellsworth: And that's what's been happening in some of these high storm areas.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah. And I had even asked, I had talked to a property owner who had lots of different blowoffs around them and they didn't have one. They had shingles on their roof. And I said, what does it mean to you that you didn't have to have a roof replacement? I loved her answer. I think it says so much about people in general and the American wonderful way. And she said, "Well, because I didn't have to deal with my insurance company because I didn't have to go and do that a whole mess, it meant that I immediately, I didn't have damage. I got to go and help all my neighbors." And I just love that.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah.

Melissa Dunson: They didn't have to worry about their family. They were immediately able to go and help all their other neighbors who really did need help. So I love that.

Heidi J Ellsworth: I love that. That is great. Well, okay, I have loved this. So we have really gone through the history, the performance, the things you're looking for, what we need to do. And I have to tell you, we had a comment on the chat that said, will this presentation be available later? This is great information. So Terry, thank you. And yes, within 24 hours, I answered that in the chat, but within 24 hours. So I'm really excited for that. And I want to encourage everybody, if you have questions or any comments on the material that Melissa has already shared, please get them into the chat. I'll read them. We'll talk about them as we go. But I'm really excited because now we're going to have a big reveal. Okay, here you go, Melissa, and I'm so excited about this. Talk to us about StormFighter FLEX.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah, so many of the performance features that we've been talking about. So Titan XT has the awesome sealant, it has the reinforced nail line, it has this awesome top coating, great granule adhesion. It's got the class three impact shading and the 160, but there were certain features that the market was calling for and we didn't have an answer for it yet. And so for the last several years, we've been developing a new line of shingles to add into our Proline series, and that is the StormFighter FLEX shingles are polymer modified, and they are impact rated, and we are very excited. We did a very soft launch at the end of last year, which was just a few days ago. Yeah, end of last year, December, November, December, we did a soft launch of them. And so far the contractor reaction to them has been fantastic. They are loving them.

Really we were inspired because as TAMKO came out of COVID, which was such a scary and dark time for so much of the industry, we had a moment where we realized we wanted to come out of it, the company that we were going to be in the future that we wanted to come out. And so coming out of that in 2021, that's when we launched our Proline series, which had to shingle that including Titan XT in a brand new contractor program with a new piece of technology. And it's been incredibly successful, but we're not stopping, it's just the beginning. And so as we have continued to talk with contractors, use focus groups, identify what are the features that they most care about, and then not only that, what are their issues with what's on the market currently, and what can we do to take the best pieces of that while mitigating the other issues that they might have and create something that's really special?

And so we really feel like you've done that with StormFighter FLEX. It is on the market, you can order it now and we'll talk about what makes it so special. But it has been something that has been a labor of love and large amounts of innovation and technology. We have tested it in the field, we've done contractor focus groups really wanting to understand and make sure that what we bring to the market reflects what our customer base is longing for. And that's how you find success is you create the thing and you develop to the market the thing that it's needing. So we're really, really excited about it. So you'll go to the next slide, we'll talk about what makes it so special.

Heidi J Ellsworth: And I want to ask you one question while we're here. I love the name StormFighter, and it just goes to everything that we just talked about fighting the elements, and that's really a big part of it. So I just wanted to say that nice job. What are the benefits of StormFighter FLEX?

Melissa Dunson: Yeah, it's all these, these different performance features. This is not just like a one-trick, that's what we think about this shingle. It has the ability to help withstand so many different types of weather. It's one of the things we talk about. It's a performance shingle with the flexibility, little play in the words, but ability to help withstand rain, sun, ice, freezing temperatures, high winds and impact all at the same time. And I think that's what really makes it special is it's not just one thing because we all know that weather is not just for most parts of the country. Most of us are facing multiple kinds of weather every single year. And so we created a shingle that can help do that. So people are maybe familiar, maybe more familiar with the concept of an SBS shingle than a polymer modified shingle, but that is what that is.

So if you're familiar with SBS shingles, it's the same concept. You're adding polymers into the asphalt, but we're doing things differently so that we're helping to mitigate some of the concerns that people have had with polymer modified or SBS shingles. And just as I work through the things people like about these types of shingles are that they do have impact resistance, but then not really that, but impact recovery. So if you're familiar at all with the IBHS testing, that involves like an ice cannon, they shoot like a hail cannon, it shoots ice balls at the shingles. Part of their testing standards is they leave the shingles then for 24 hours I think it is, after they shoot them, before they measure dents. And that's because they know that SBS or polymer modified shingles, they recover. So even if they do get dented that because of what happens when you plasticize that asphalt, it actually recovers and the dents shrink.

So it's just a wonderful benefit of this type of shingle. So it's impact resistance and recovery. And then they also, that same process of adding those polymers in, it makes them more flexible. They tend to do better in colder weather and they also have better tear resistance. And I don't know if you've ever felt one, they feel great, they have better granular adhesion and it's again, it's what happens to that asphalt when you do that to it. But there are a few things that people don't love about polymer modified shingles, and one of them is that a lot of times they will perform really well for a short amount of time, but that thermal cycling, they're really hot and they're really cold and they're really hot, that they tend to get brittle over time and sometimes you have cracking in them or they don't perform as well against impact over time.

The other thing is that once they get to a higher temperature, they sometimes get a little bit strange to deal with because the asphalt is so soft that people are oftentimes afraid to walk around on it. They're afraid it's going to scuff, they just feel like they have to work with it with kid gloves a little bit. So those are some of the, that's the direct feedback that we had heard from contractors as they were saying, what do you love about these types of shingles? What do you wish we could change about them? And so that's exactly what we did. We did some things differently with this launch and the development of this shingle that takes the best things about polymer modified and SBS shingles and then did some things differently so that we actually end up with a product that helps mitigate those concerns that contractors have had. And without going to all of the science of it, this is about science, this-

Heidi J Ellsworth: It is.

Melissa Dunson: .. but without going into super nerding out on it, we are using a different polymer formation. It's proprietary, but it's different than what some other people in the industry are doing. And because of that, what you end up with is a lot better thermal stability. So it deals with that fluctuation better and those higher temperatures better. We also have some proprietary additives that we put in that are increasing the flexibility. Even when they're frozen, they're still so flexible and it's really been mind-boggling to contractors as they've seen how is it possible that that shingle could be frozen and that it could still be performing at that level. And so as we've developed these shingles and seen how they performed and gotten the feedback from contractors, what do you need in order to be able to use this shingle and be successful? And they said, I need to be able to install it at lower temperatures than most other shingles you can.

And we said, "Done," because we've seen it before, we know we can. And so that's a huge feature of this shingle. We're warranting the installation down to 25 degrees, which is the lowest that's out there. And we know that it performs because we test them. We've tested them in real world applications, installing down to 20 and 25 and during an ice storm and being able to see that it feels down quickly. It's flexible and doesn't crack and tear, when you nail, it doesn't blow through. It's really performing and it cuts well. The guys are just really, really excited about it when they work with it at such low temperatures. And then when you get to the higher end of the temperature, they're like, I still really like the way this performs. It's performing much better than the other ones that I've used.

So they're really excited about it. And then we are offering StormFighter FLEX in two different variations. You can get a class three impact rated one or you can get a class four impact rating one. The shingles are very, very similar. And so really it's just that class three versus class four impact rating, but all the rest of the warranties and the features about it are all the same. And then because we built this shingle on the basis of really Titan XT, which has been received by them, it's such a profound and people still get so excited about it. We took Titan XT and that's really the base for the shingle. As we have used it, we have that same strip in it, and it is the reason that we're able to offer the same 160 mile per hour wind warranty that we have on Titan on this shingle as well.

So it's not only impact rated, it's not only amazing in cold weather installation with that 25 degree, it has the 160, you only have to have, again, the four nails, the expanded nailing zone when you're using Starter. So it's really been a thing. And then the last thing I'll say about it is we do some other things with our asphalt before we add the polymers into it that other people are not doing. And I won't give away all the secrets, but what that's actually creating for us is a thermal stability and long-term weathering that is addressing some of the concerns that contractors have had about these kinds of products, maybe how they weather over time and really taking some of the science that we have that we know makes shingles like Titan so successful and applying it to these other new shingles in a way that we believe is going to be really good over time.

Heidi J Ellsworth: When I think about being able to, and you touched on this in past slides, but being able to install down to 25 degrees, have it warranted, that extends the season, incredibly for most of the country.

Melissa Dunson: Well, we know that roofing contractors are installing at temperatures lower than the recommended install temperatures. I talk to them all the time and they're like, absolutely. But one of the things that they've said to me is, I've talked to a lot of business owners, they're the people who decide to send crews out when it's 30 degrees outside and those guys want to work and this is their livelihood. Can't just decide I'm not going to work. And he said, "So I do it." And he said, "But I know that when I do it, I'm the one who is taking that risk. So if something goes wrong, I can't go back to the manufacturer and say, Hey, because the manufacturer says, 'Hey, you installed this below the recommended temperature.'" And so being able to have a shingle that's warranted down to 25 really extends that roofing season. And the roofing contractors I've talked to are incredibly excited about and feel like it's like a manufacturer standing behind them.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah. And the confidence to be able to do what they need to, to keep business going and to take care of the customers.

Melissa Dunson: Absolutely.

Heidi J Ellsworth: That is cool. Okay, so we're talking about warranties. Let's take that one step further. Talk to us about the warranties that are available with StormFighter.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah, so this is just standard as part of all of our Proline shingle is this 160 mile per hour wind warranty and it's called the wind guard warranty. You don't have to have anything special, you just install the shingles correctly for nails in the expanded nailing zone. You just have to use TAMKO Starter. And then you get the 160 mile per hour high wind warranty. These new StormFighter FLEX, they are the only ones because of some of this technology that we've put into it that you can install it all the way down to 25 degrees ambient temperature and know that that's still part of the recommended installation instructions from the manufacturer.

And then all of our architectural shingles, that comes with a limited lifetime warranty like all of our other shingles do. And then this, as part of the Proline series, is eligible for enhanced warranties that extends that non-pro-rated portion of the warranty for property owners if you're a certified contractor. And if you're interested in becoming a TAMKO certified contractor, you should go to TAMKOedge.com. It takes about 90 seconds to get a free account, and then you can learn more about the different tiers and how you can apply to be certified. And it's a wonderful benefit being able to offer this to property owners.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah, there's a lot of talk about warranties in the industry, but this is really putting your money where your mouth is. And so as contractors are working with and going into the homes and talking about these warranties, what is some of your advice in looking at these on how they really get that in front of the consumers with confidence?

Melissa Dunson: Yeah, I think we've, at TAMKO we've created a number of videos that show the performance of these shingles compared to some other shingles on the market. And I think those are really good tools to use with homeowners because as a society, and I work in marketing, but as a society we're so heavily marketed to that. I think the default stance for lots of people is that warranties are gimmicks in that really there is no difference between this product and this product and that really it's just marketing. And being able to show the real world performance of one product to another product and the be able to explain the science behind it to say, yeah, so this performed better than this one did, and here's why, has been so eye-opening for the contractors that I talked to. And immediately then they say, I'm going to use this with my property owners because it becomes a selling tool for them to be able to offer something as a contractor that maybe not everybody else offers.

So it not only is a differentiation of the product, but it's a differentiation for the contractor as they're standing and saying, I'm differentiating myself because I'm offering this product because I actually believe that it's better. Yeah.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Well, and I know some of your case studies also from a marketing standpoint, I want to say, because your videos are great, but I know some of the case studies and just some of the stories, what you hear, really the roof is coming up before the shingles come up and some of this F in Maine and different things. So I do think that is important.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah, it's such a good story. I've heard it before, but I do love that story is I have a great contractor in Maine. We love those guys. And when they first started using Titan, it's very windy in Maine, and they called the rep, they said, I thought you said these Titans wouldn't blow off. And I had a blowoff and they were upset about it. So this TAMKO sales rep went out there, picked the shingle up off the ground, and it had all the nails in it still. And he held up the shingle to the contractor and said, "You used cheap plywood, I think you should be apologizing to me." And the contractor picked it up, looked at it, so the nails had failed, the nails had come out of the plywood and they hadn't torn any part, hadn't torn through. And the contractor said, "Well, would you look at that?"
And so now that contractor keeps that shingle in their office and they use it to talk to homeowners about why they go with this shingle and how they believe in it, and they're using it as a differentiating factor for their business, and the reputation of that shingle is helping build their reputation of that roofing contractor. And it's a beautiful thing, I think is the way business should be. And so it's exciting to see that happen.

Heidi J Ellsworth: And it's really, in front of that homeowner for everything we've talked about so far, it is about really showing them the science. Going back to the name of this webinar, the Science of Performance, and I am just going to say, and I know we're going to talk about you're launching this new StormFighter FLEX out, but I think that is also key is the collateral, whether it's, I guess it's marketing, but it's also collateral where you can actually show the homeowner all of these elements, everything you've talked about, the nailing zone, the matte, the granules, the colors, everything that you can really show it to them and explain step-by-step because homeowners are doing a lot more research today and they want to know these things.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah, absolutely. When I summarize things, I'm talking to contractors a lot of the time, the thing I'm like, so what should you be looking for in a shingle, a reinforced nailing line? It's important, a reinforcement and aggressive sealant, a really high quality top coating, and then impact resistant. And those are the things that it's like if you're going to look, what do I need to look for in a shingle? Those are the things.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah. That's so cool. And so you are taking this on the road and you're going to be getting this out in front of everybody across the country. Before you start on this, I'm going to say, if you have any questions, now's the time. Get them in the chat so that we can address them. But Melissa, tell us how you're taking this to market and then also how contractors can start using these products.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah. So this whole idea that I was talking about, people are a little jaded about marketing and they think things are gimmicked. It doesn't just apply to property owners. We run into that all the time with contractors as well. And so, one of the things we've been saying for the last several years is seeing is believing. You don't have to believe what I say, believe what you see. And so, one of the really powerful ways that we've done that over the last couple of years is started with Titan XT, is going out and having demos and contractor events and bringing contractors in so that they could see and experience it for themselves and see. We've had contractors come and they're like, is that a fake nail? Is that a hammer? Is this a joke? Are those fake baseballs that you're throwing at it? Whatever that thing is.

And you're like, no, it is what it is. And you're seeing it for yourself, and they pick it up and they examine it. And I think it's an important part of changing perceptions and causing people to see the true differentiation that may be there. So we're taking this, we're doing the same thing with this product. We are having events in some of the most important areas for a shingle that would be both high wind and impact resistance and have [inaudible 00:51:01] application that's that trisector or going into different areas in the west and the middle of the country and the Southwest and even parts of the Northeast with a road show essentially, and hosting events where we're inviting contractors in and distributors into experience for themselves. And we have some gifts and we have giveaways and an opportunity for people to even win for material to where they could actually use that product and try it for themselves and see if they like it.

They saw it enough to believe in it to try it. And then really when we see people try it, most of the time they haven't really liked this. So it's been a very effective way for us to come to market. And so we're going to continue that. So you can go to TAMKO.com/events and we will in the next couple of weeks, be adding a whole bunch of events that where you guys can go find one of those events, come to it and experience StormFighter FLEX for yourself. And we always demo Titan as well because it's based on Titan. And so you can experience Titan XT as well and eat some good food and be an ice cannon and have a good time. And then of course at IRE, which is around the corner, we were just-

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yes.

Melissa Dunson: ... Heidi, it's so crazy how quickly it's coming, but-

Heidi J Ellsworth: Four weeks.

Melissa Dunson: ... I know. But we will be there and we'll have StormFighter FLEX in our booth. If you're going to be at the IRE in Las Vegas the beginning of February, I invite you to come. It's going to be fantastic. You can come to our booths and we will do some demos there. We'll have some cool stuff there that you can experience in our booth, as well as if you're a woman in roofing, wink wink, as Heidi and I both are, I will be giving a presentation and a demo at National Women Roofing's Day, you should come hang out with me. I'm not just a screen. I'm a real person. And we'll be demoing Stormfighter FLEX and talking about a lot of these things, kinds of things, which is I'll have some updated statistics and really some information about what's going on in various legislatures with the regard to more resilient building products and about what's going to be required of building products if they want to be installed in those areas and why contractors should make sure that they have a shingle that meets those if they want to be competitive.

And then finally, distribution. This shingle is shipping out. We are making it right now, and it is on the ground in various parts of the country. If you want to see if there's a distributor near you that has it, you can go to TAMKO.com/locateadealer, I think, and you can go and you can actually search by product, and you should be able to find where those would be in there. So yeah, we're incredibly excited about it. We're going to be talking a lot about this shingle for the next several months, really throughout this year. And so far the contractor feedback has been phenomenal and people are really excited about it.

Heidi J Ellsworth: That's what I was going to ask you. I'm like, what is the contractor feedback so far? Because I know you did some pre-launch before the new year.

Melissa Dunson: Yeah, so I will tell you one of my favorite quotes from a contractor was something to the effect of, I believe in this product so much, I would put it on my mom's house. So contractors out there, you all know what that means? Well, you love your mothers. And anyway, it's one of my favorite things that anybody said about it, but contractors in our focus groups and then the actual installs that we've done in very cold temperatures and very warm temperatures, they have all said the same thing, which is this is a much wider range of temperatures than we have traditionally been able to use this type of product in. And we love the way it handles, and we're so excited about this, the technology, and it is phenomenal. So it's great. It's going to be a really good year.

Heidi J Ellsworth: I know. Oh, I'm so happy for you, Melissa. I know how hard you and all of the folks at TAMKO, the engineers, product, sales, you name it, you've all come together with a great product.

Melissa Dunson: It's been a wonderful journey the last several years, really cross-functional team collaboration all toward the goal of innovation for enhanced performance. That's the goal. And I would be so remiss if I didn't say this, but I'm so excited about this. 2024 is TAMKO's 80th year in business. So this is a big-

Heidi J Ellsworth: That's great.

Melissa Dunson: ... for us. We just barely are in 2024, but it's something we're going to be talking about all year. It's 80 years of innovation, and this is such a wonderful launch that goes along with that in our 80th year, but started in 1944, and just have kept going, innovating here and innovating here and innovating here, and just never stopped focused on continuous improvements and still family-led third generation. It's a wonderful sort of American dream story that I love being a part of.

Heidi J Ellsworth: That is so cool. Congratulations. And also congratulations on the front home page at RoofersCoffeeShop. Every was Coffee Shop. We saw that TAMKO is the Kansas City Chief's sponsor.

Melissa Dunson: I know. How cool is that?

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yes.

Melissa Dunson: ... Missouri girl, that really I know right now, lots of people love the Chiefs. People doesn't love Kelsey and T-Swift and the Houchell Homes. And it's wonderful. It's really, really exciting to that kind of an affiliation. And you'll be seeing lots more of TAMKO with the Kansas City Chiefs over the next several years. So it's really an exciting time.

Heidi J Ellsworth: It's so great. We do have a comment. I love this comment. This is from Melissa Ritchie who will be at, I believe you're going to be at National Women Roofing Day, but she said she wanted to give a shout-out to him. She loved the energy and great presentation. She said, do National women who are roofing members, receive a discount on residential shingles. So Melissa meet Melissa. You guys will have to hook up at National Women Roofing and talk about that.

Melissa Dunson: Yes girl, let's talk. Come find me and we'll become friends. It'll be great. We'll talk about it. Okay.

Heidi J Ellsworth: That is awesome. Well, Melissa, thank you so much for being here today. What a great presentation. So informational. I'm just going to encourage everybody to send this out to everybody they know. Especially I want to say for people who are new to the industry. You really brought it all together. I just think this was such a great RLW. Thank you so much.

Melissa Dunson: Hey, it's a good way to start the year anytime I get to start it with you.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Hey, I feel the same way. That is great. Well, thank you and thank all of you for watching today. This will be available within 24 hours on demand. Be sure to check out all of our RLWs, which are under the RLW navigation on RoofersCoffeeShop. There has been some great presentations in 2023 and 2024 is going to be even better. So stay tuned and we'll up [inaudible 00:58:11] your way. One last time. Melissa, thank you so much.

Melissa Dunson: Thank you Heidi, and thank you everyone.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Thank you. Thank you everyone, and we'll see you next month for RoofersCoffeeShop RLW. See you then.

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