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Will Lorenz - Why Silicone Roof Coatings are Dominating - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Will Lorenz - Why Silicone Roof Coatings are Dominating - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION
March 4, 2022 at 11:51 a.m.

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Will Lorenz Vice President of EverRoof. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast. 

Speaker 1:
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. Welcome to Roofing Road Trips from Roofers Coffee Shop. My name is Heidi Ellsworth and I am virtually road-tripping down to California to spend some time with my very dear friend, Will Lorenz, with Everroof. Will, welcome to the show.

Will Lorenz:
Hello, Heidi. Thank you. Thank you for inviting us. We always appreciate being on your show and supporting Roofers Coffee Shop and the vision that you have for Roofers everywhere.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you. I really appreciate that, Will. You and I both came off of IRE, kind of. It's been a crazy time. But how important it is to have this information year round and be able to listen to it with whatever you want to do on that podcast?

Will Lorenz:
I agree. I think that the roofing business is sometimes a 24/7 business where someone's got new construction, they need a lot of things done, or they've got a roof leak and they need help right away, and Roofers are there to respond. And as a materials supplier, we want to be there and support them. And Everroof has high quality products for the coating restoration and maintenance market that can certainly help solve these problems and keep people weatherproof and water-tight. So we're glad to be here.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I would love for you to just share with our audience, starting that with Everroof. But overall, can you give a little bit of history of Everroof and your position in the market? Just get people a little bit more familiar with you.

Will Lorenz:
Yes. Yeah. So, Everroof was an idea founded by our founder, Lax Gupta. He wanted to take the technologies that he's developed primarily in the urethanes and come up with improved roof coatings. And so, they founded the business 10, 15 years ago back out of Las Vegas with the idea that roof coatings are going to play a part in a lot of the hot, dry markets, particularly in the west, where a roof coating is an excellent solution for buildings that need a repair or an upgrade without having to tear it off. And so, his vision had us investing into the urethanes market, and then expanding into additional technologies, acrylics, and silicones. And we've got a full line of products and we're really excited because we've grown over the years from a regional family business to, now, a national player where we have projects all across the country. And we're happy to help in this difficult marketplace, get these roofs water-tight again.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Wow. Speaking of that, I mean, to be able to offer all types of coatings, urethanes, acrylics, and most recently, as we hear all the time, silicones are just has the buzz, right? What are you seeing with silicone products and market adoption?

Will Lorenz:
Well, I mean, I think it's very strong. And it's a combination of the superior quality of the silicone polymers and its durability as a roof coating, as well as market forces. With the disruptions that's been going on in the last two years, people are looking to keep their roof functional. And when you have a membrane roof or an old BUR roof, and there's not new materials available to tear off and start over, the silicone restoration is a solid roof system that you can put on quite easy. In most cases, you're cleaning, priming, doing some localized repairs and reinforcement, and then coating with the silicone and, boom, the roof is waterproof and out there for 10-, 15-, or 20-year [inaudible 00:04:11]

Heidi Ellsworth:
Right. And those options for building owners and homeowners to be able to restore instead of replace is, I mean, talk about traction. We're seeing it everywhere, that whole restoration story.

Will Lorenz:
It is. And silicone, because, as a chemical, or as I say, as a silicone component, it has natural resistance to water and good resistance to UV. So it's a product that sits on a roof well, particularly in low-slope environments where sometimes the roof doesn't have the appropriate pitch that it should and the best drainage, and the silicone can help enhance it. It can't solve all the problems, but it can certainly improve things and keep them water-tight. And it's available for all types of contractors, [inaudible 00:05:09] for people that have simple ideas of getting up there and they're going to pour it out, and roll and squeegee it into corners and do it themselves, or self-perform, to large contractors who've got sophisticated equipment to spray and get it and do large jobs, several thousand squares. And so, it has that versatility that many other roof systems don't have.

Heidi Ellsworth:
It really is an equalizer when it comes to the contractors, isn't it?

Will Lorenz:
Yes. Yeah, it is. The good thing about silicone, I think, is that it's a proven technology. Back in the '70s, roof coatings were invented by some of the major polymer producers, the Dow Chemical and GEs of the world. And from since then, manufacturers of roof coatings have figured out how to improve upon it and come up with high-solids material that are low VOC and can be installed pretty much by any level of sophisticated roofing contractor. And that's really a great advantage in the marketplace.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I agree. And speaking of that, I mean, let's talk about supply. It's been a challenge this last year for contractors, no matter how you look at it. What are you seeing with the supply chain and overall availability of silicones?

Will Lorenz:
Well, I think I would first start by saying demand is extremely strong for all roofing products. So people are trying to put on a roof whatever is available. And then, what we're seeing in the marketplace is that as, unfortunately, some of the other traditional new construction membranes aren't available, they are going to cost-effective and sustainable solutions such as silicone. So they're looking at their TPO roof and going, "Hey, wow, we've got a solution here. We don't have to tear it off and put it in a landfill. And we don't have to put people at risk or the contents at risk."

Will Lorenz:
And so, the silicone market, from a demand standpoint, has really skyrocketed. And that's benefited all of us, and Everroof has grown substantially from that benefit. But also, we've seen the challenges of the fact that silicone polymers come from both the United States and abroad, and a lot of the market conditions have made it difficult to get adequate supply. And we've seen, unfortunately, a lot of cost increases, and that's made silicone a premier product, but also one product that's, like I said, it's in high demand because it does it.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I mean, really, supply and demand. I mean, it's just the economics of this makes so much sense. I mean, as the demand grows, of course, pricing goes up, but are you seeing any stabilizing that way?

Will Lorenz:
Our hope is that, throughout the year, it does. But I think we're in the midst of it today, still a challenging marketplace. And until additional capacity comes online on the supply side, or demand decreases, which, of course, we don't want to see, we want to see more roofs being restored with silicone, and we want to see Everroof spread across the country. But it's hard to predict. Some of these factors are on the macro level with where interest rates are and what people are willing to invest into their structures. And right now, people, they want their places water-tight, and we're prepared to do the best we can to give them the product to work.

Heidi Ellsworth:
What are you seeing? We talked about earlier, your urethane and your acrylic products, what are you seeing on their trajectory? High demand? Pricing? Is it supply?

Will Lorenz:
Well, I think, silicones has an advantage over some of the other technologies because there's a lot of correlation between its approvals as a restoration system over membranes. And if you look back, the predominance of roofing being done in the last 10 years has been the growth of single-ply membranes. And so, as those roofs come to term, you're faced with the solution of either reintroducing a new system on top of it, or tearing it off, or restoring it. And silicone is just a very cost-effective solution that's proven over those TPO and PVC membranes that are predominant in the marketplace. So I think there's a lot of manufacturers of membranes that are also in the silicone business. So everybody likes silicone because it does a great job.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. That restoration, it makes a difference. Okay. Speaking of material, supply, you have stepped right in the front of that and you have a new plant going in into Arlington, Texas, with silicone production. Tell us about that.

Will Lorenz:
Yes. Yeah. So our vision has always been to get to the center where we can service the marketplace the best and also get the best cost basis to be able to provide high-quality product. And what we've seen in a lot of the silicone market is that it's a very strong market in the east and in the south. And so, positioning our plant in Texas allows us to serve it very well. And we have a several-hundred-thousand-square-foot facility there manufacturing other products such as spray foam. And we thought, "What a great fit to put silicone in there," because in some parts of our business, if you have a spray foam roof, you need a roof coating on it. So silicone's a perfect partner for us there.

Will Lorenz:
And so, we're hopeful, in the second quarter, to get this plant up and operational. We're working hard to get all the raw materials and get the fine things done on the plant, but we're really ready and we're excited about bringing forward. And, over the last couple years, we've been improving our credentials, so we can service it by having Miami-Dade [inaudible 00:11:20] as well as getting other credentials to allow it to go over many, many different types of roof substrates. So we're very proud of our investment that we've made to support the marketplace.

Heidi Ellsworth:
You're going to help a lot of contractors out there who are looking for increased production, who are looking to get that product, and also have, like you said, all the requirements, your credentials, the approvals that are needed. I mean, with the crazy weather we're having now, who knows? I mean, it's hitting everywhere at the weirdest times of the year.

Will Lorenz:
It is. And if you're up in the northeast and you have a roof system on there that constantly sees snow and ice, silicone is just a very durable, liquid-applied roof membrane that can hold up to that environment. And if you're down in Florida and it's wet and a lot of rain, frequently in the summer, it rains every day, not a lot, but consistently, and you know that silicone holds up to that and has excellent ponding resistance. And it's just the right coating for those environments. Now, again, a skilled contractor puts it down in the right conditions, preparing the substrate, doing the quality job, and as such, the roofs will perform. And that's what we're really proud of, is being associated with our great partners out there.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. I love it. Okay. So I know I'm all over the board here, Will, because I love all this conversation. But let's go back a little bit and just talk about roof restoration and how contractors... I mean, there's this correlation between, really, looking at roof restoration and their service and maintenance departments, because that service maintenance starts first and then it's like, "Okay. When you're at the right spot, if you don't wait too long, roof restoration is such a great option." What's some of your advice to contractors, both on starting that service and maintenance, but also really starting to promote roof restoration with their customers?

Will Lorenz:
Well, I think most contractors are very successful installing new roofs. And what they can do to add income to them as well as to service their clients better is provide services that allow that roof that they've installed to continue to be successful. And so, maintenance programs allow them to get back up on the roof for a minimal cost, do the things to keep the drains open, the debris off of it, check to see if there's any minor damages and seal those things up. And so, while you're up there, you can take a look at what is on there and you can see as that lifespan of the roof system is aging, you can know when you can advise your client to make an additional investment. And then, that silicone is just an investment you can make, that's just a lower-cost solution than starting all over and tearing it off.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Right.

Will Lorenz:
And I think customers really appreciate the idea that you're looking forward on where their roof's going to be, and also thinking about their pocketbook, and making sure that they're not out of service and they've got a functional building. And I would say that if you don't have a maintenance program, you should consider it with your top clients because they view their buildings as assets. And they cannot afford to have those things out of service, or if they own multiple properties, they can't afford to have their clients inside the buildings experiencing leaks or water damage. [inaudible 00:15:05] solution for all of us. And the roof solutions are out there, silicone by Everroof is that solution. And we hope that people will choose that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Well, what I love, too, is, as these contractors are working with the building owners, there's the cost savings, the energy savings because this new, beautiful white restored roof, but there's also that whole story that you just said about. You're not tearing it off and filling up a landfill, right? And it's not going to a dump. Those are stories to share with building owners, for contractors, as they are really promoting this restoration, that can't be said with a lot of other... definitely not with replacing.

Will Lorenz:
That's true. And I think you've done Roofers Coffee Shop [inaudible 00:15:54] next generation of folks, that our children and future grandchildren all think highly of where we're at in society and where we fit into the global structure and climate. And they want solutions that are going to be sustainable, that are cost-effective, that help the environment. And taking something that's worn-out and putting it in a dump so we can start over just seems like it's not the solution going forward. It seems like we should do better, and make it last, and find some way of combining the best of both so that the roof doesn't have to go on, but once, as an original roof and can have continuous upgrades, and be a performing roof system.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. And when you're thinking about that next generation, millennials, right now, are making up the purchasing agents for a lot of these big national accounts. And they care. They care about this stuff. And so, I think it's so important.

Will Lorenz:
Well, we've seen, certainly, national chains and big-box stores all embrace the idea of silicone restoration over their buildings, whether they have built up or whether they had membrane systems, they're looking at it and they're saying, "Look, our investors, our stockholders want us to be smart with our money. They want us making money with people coming in the box rather than spending it to hold the box together." And so, they're looking for solutions that can get it water-tight and get it to perform where they have it under warranty for an extended period of time with the assurance that there's a good company like Everroof behind it, in case, there's any problems, to support them and get them through it. So, I mean, it's just the right solution to move forward with.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And I would really encourage, too, residential contractors. This is a whole different way of looking at if you have low-slope homes, being able to get onto that home every year with service and maintenance, being able to recoat it, restore it. That makes, all of a sudden, these homeowners, you're with them all the time, instead of just once every 15 to 20 years.

Will Lorenz:
And one of the things that I seem to notice is that new construction on the residential side has typically many multi-layers to it as far as multi-levels [inaudible 00:18:17] So it's not everything is a steep, slow pitch. They have flat areas. They have areas where they're putting their AC units. They have places where people want to have storage or they have flat areas where they walk out on it. And so, we have to look at combination roof systems that can meet the requirements that the customer wants to see designed into a house. And so, if you had areas where you needed that transition on the flat area to be water-tight, silicone's a great area to make that solution. Maybe 90% of the pitched roof is tile or shingles, but that other 5%, you need it water-tight with silicone.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Right. And then, you're out there and you're checking their roof every year, and you're working with them. And I know a lot of residential contractors don't really think about that service and maintenance position, and they also aren't thinking, like you said, of the different pitches and the different slopes. So great, great opportunities. So, Will, you always have fun stuff, which I love. And so, you came up with an idea for this podcast where we are going to do a little contest. And we want people to send in pictures of them listening to this podcast, right?

Will Lorenz:
Absolutely. I mean, we think that the more we can get the message out about doing things right with roofing as we've always seen with Roofers Coffee Shop, we think it's the best way for people to learn and grow. And we'd like to support that and see people get rewarded. And so, we're happy to be a part of promotions that do that. And we'd like to say, "Hey, if you're watching Roofers Coffee Shop or listening to it, why not drink it with a cup of coffee and have a nice machine to get a glass from?"

Heidi Ellsworth:
It's going to be such a fun contest. So it will be a new coffee machine, [inaudible 00:20:15] Keurig, but we're still finalizing that. You'll find it all out on the site. And it's going to be really simple. Just like we do for our roofing photo contest, everyone, we just want you to take a picture. It could be a screenshot showing the podcast. It could be someone taking a picture with you with your earbuds in. Could be you holding up the phone, showing your podcast. We don't care. We want fun stuff. Turn your picture in, and then we're going to do a drawing for this really cool coffee machine for your office. I just love it.

Will Lorenz:
It's a perfect fit. I mean, everybody needs a little coffee, maybe a little creamer to keep it going, and a little sugar, because we're all working hard. But you got to have fun in your day. And if you're listening to your podcast and celebrating that you're in a dynamic industry that's growing, and is profitable, and is family-oriented, and is growing, why not have a great cup of coffee to mix with it? So, I'm glad to help.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We are also going to be throwing in some of our new 20-year Roofers Coffee Shop mugs. They're campfire mugs, nice and big, celebrating 20 years this year. So not only will you have some awesome coffee with your new coffee machine, but you'll have new mugs to drink it out of, too. So be sure, after you listen to this, take a picture right now, take the picture, and send it into us. It's real easy. Just go on the site. We'll have it all over the place. If nothing else, you can find the link on the Everroof [inaudible 00:21:49] you'll be able to find this and be able to submit to win a coffee machine and some cool coffee mugs.

Will Lorenz:
Good luck. I hope you win.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I know. Me, too. Will, as always, thank you so much. Great podcast, great Roofing Road Trip. I'm glad I made my way down to Southern Cal to see you virtually today.

Will Lorenz:
Well, thank you. And I'm glad the internet works.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Oh, thank goodness. I know. Let's talk about that next. But for all of you, thank you so much for being here today for listening to us. Be sure to send in your picture for that contest. But also, really, please go on to the Everroof directory on Roofers Coffee Shop, such great information. Will and his team are constantly putting out educational information, ways to grow your business. And it's all there on that directory and across the Roofers Coffee Shop site. So we will be seeing you next time on Roofing Road Trips. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast channel so you don't miss a single one. Have a great day and we'll talk next time.

Speaker 1:
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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