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Coated Coil
Thursday | 08 September, 2016 | 1:35 pm

Match maker

By Gretchen Salois

Above: An example of McElroy Metal's architectural roofing systems can be seen at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois.

Custom colors withstand the test of time and an often unforgiving Mother Nature

September 2016 - Sports fandom can make its way into all facets of life if you want it to. Special occasions like a housewarming party may encourage friends to present team logo-adorned throw pillows. Taking it one step further, some fans express their loyalty in a very permanent way by custom-painting their sheds, garages, homes, and businesses in a team-specific hue.“We do custom colors everyday—our sales representatives are getting requirements from customers spanning the gamut,” says McElroy Metal Vice President of Marketing Ken Gieseke. “We were able to match LSU (Louisiana State University) purple for a recent Tigers fan and we are having architects come to us with color requests spanning the rainbow.”

Bossier City, Louisiana-based McElroy Metal takes steel coils and roll-forms sheet into roofing and siding products. “The steel coils come from U.S. Steel Corp. and are prepainted by Precoat Metals using Valspar coatings,” explains Gieseke. “If we can’t find the exact match within our ready-available colors, Valspar works with us to formulate the color we need.”

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The D Casino Hotel in Las Vegas looked to both McElroy Metal and Valspar to stand out amid the glitz of the strip.

Minneapolis-based Valspar uses a handheld digital node to read the color of any object, record it and save it to an online app, then the shade can be perfectly matched to a customer’s specifications.

McElroy Metal has 12 facilities and uses Valspar’s Fluropon line extensively on all its finished products. “By using Fluropon across all products, we are able to offer the same high-quality coating to a farmer or homeowner that we would supply to an architectural project,” Gieseke says. 

Valspar’s relationship with McElroy Metal extends beyond color selection. “Valspar is readily available and often travels with our sales representatives—Valspar is considered an extension of our sales team,” Gieseke says. “They’ve engrained themselves that far—their support extends into our relationships with customers.”

The public’s perception of metal roofing has evolved over the years, in large part because of the durable and corrosion-resistant coatings available from Valspar. “Years ago, people had the mentality that a metal roof meant rust—and that mentality has changed,” Gieseke says. “Now when people look at roofing options for, say, their home, they realize that with the Fluropon paint, it will last decades beyond a traditional asphalt roof. 

“Inferior coatings can leave a chalky residue if you brush against them, an example of the paint system degrading,” he continues. “With the PVDF resin you don’t have that fade or that chalky residue. How it looks today is how it’ll look years from now.”

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McElroy Metal has 12 facilities and uses Valspar’s Fluropon line extensively on all its finished products.

Reliable inventory

Color-matching or custom color requests is why Petersen Aluminum Corp. in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, has long used Valspar. “Their ability to help with rare field issues is greatly valued,” says Dave Landis, technical services and field inspections for the Southeastern U.S. Region. Working from Petersen’s Acworth, Georgia factory, Landis says Petersen uses Fluropon, Fluropon Classic II for mica colors and,  occasionally, Fluropon Classic for military jobs that require a three-coat system.

Petersen stocks a wide inventory of materials, including steel and aluminum with its patented PAC-CLAD line coated with Valspar’s Fluropon family of coatings. “We know that you can’t sell something if you don’t have it in stock at the factory,” Landis says. “We make this a big priority at Petersen and are consequently ready for any new project or customer request.”

Stocking enough material is always crucial as customers must adhere to strict schedules to meet promised delivery dates. Slit coil and flat sheet for flashings require three to five days to get the completed order to the customer. 

“Three weeks is the maximum lead time by contractors to get factory panels manufactured and shipped,” explains Landis. Valspar’s coating lead times allow customers like Landis to keep inventory available as well as fill last-minute orders. “Any lead time beyond three weeks results in everyone getting pushback from the contractors.”

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If available colors aren't in stock, Valspar can easily color match.

In flux innovation 

Valspar’s embrace of R&D and new coatings helps it to maintain relationships and attract new customers. “Our focus on innovation goes beyond PVDF coatings, which is what both McElroy and Petersen use, but also siliconized polyester systems and sustainability coatings which continue to evolve. An example of this is our latest offering: Fluropon Pure sustainability coating,” says Jeff Alexander, vice president of sales of coil and extrusions at Valspar. 

Representing a product free of harmful chemicals, Fluropon Pure will take the paint manufacturer to the next level. “The desire to achieve a building that from start to finish uses sustainable materials and methods is not going away,” Alexander says. “People continue to think about it and we will continue to push the limits of what we can do to be at the head of that change.”

Advances in green, sustainable materials have led to the development of coatings that are less harmful to the environment without sacrificing performance. “We’re constantly working to achieve more sustainable products—solar reflective, material transparency and the reduction of hazardous materials are key topics for this market,” Alexander says.

This fall, Valspar is releasing its Fluropon Extreme, a coating product in the 70 percent PVDF Fluropon family of architectural coating systems. The PVDF resin system is known to be a softer coating, so “the challenge was to make it harder without sacrificing the smooth texture,” Alexander says. 

Until recently, the hardness came at the expense of the desired aesthetic finish. “Our previous hardcoat system had a textured appearance,” Alexander says. “Now, the finish is just as smooth as it is hard, making it more damage resistant while not sacrificing longevity.” 

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Three weeks lead time is the expected norm in a fast-paced construction environment. Valspar helps McElroy Metal deliver materials on time.

Previously, transporting coated material meant additional steps, such as adding a protective film onto the surface to reduce damage prior to being installed onto a roof. 

Roof panels must be shipped to the job site and installed. “This handling can, at times, cause abrasions and other scratches and scuffs to appear on the metal panels,” Alexander says. “Eliminating those extra, precautionary steps saves customers money as it is expensive to not only apply the protection film, but also to strip off and dispose of the material.”

In the last year, Valspar has introduced two new Fluropon Effects colors: Fluropon Effects Rustica, which features natural antique and weathered colors inspired by the landscape; and Fluropon Effects Nova that include deep, rich color with an intense sparkle in silver or gold.

Color preferences evolve, too. “It used to be large volumes of basic colors. Now it’s small batches of specific colors. We can turn color matches around quickly and make small batches of paint,” Andersen says. “That’s been the differentiator for us. No longer are we limited to orders in volumes of thousands of gallons of traditional colors. It’s become specialized.” MM

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