What is the current state of the exterior architectural coatings market in North America?
Jeff Spillane, senior product marketing manager at Benjamin Moore & Co.: The recession, overall, has caused a drop in the demand for exterior coatings. Generally speaking, many property owners are stretching their dollars and putting off painting for an additional year, if it’s possible to do so without causing damage to the structure. This, along with the replacement of paintable substrates—EIFS, stucco, stone and synthetic siding—has further lessened the demand. However, Benjamin Moore, with its recently introduced exterior paints and stains, notably its waterborne Arborcoat Exterior Stain, has experienced strong sales. This is an indicator that homeowners are turning towards high performing, premium coatings that provide longer lasting durability for their exterior projects.
Who is dominating the market, DIYers or professional painters?
Spillane: Exterior projects tend to be contractor-centric versus DIY due to the scope of the work. Benjamin Moore plays a significant role in the premium residential painting contractor market and our products meet their demands for performance and durability.
What are your thoughts on the effect the recession has had and continues to have on the market?
Spillane: Benjamin Moore has experienced a strong response to our exterior product lines. As we emerge from the recession, employment numbers will improve and with that increased consumer confidence. People will begin to spend on normal life stage projects and pent-up demand will drive sales; the real estate market will gain momentum and housing prices will begin to stabilize. While it will take some time, we are confident that the economy is moving in the right direction, albeit slowly.
What are the current trends and issues in the market? What challenges does the market face moving forward in the years to come?
Spillane: Although we are experiencing gradual improvement, coatings manufacturers are faced with raw material shortages. With the significant cutbacks initiated during the recession by many home improvement product suppliers in production and inventories, as business increases, there could be a strain to meet growing customer demand.
What are the key issues with your customer channels—professional painter and DIY—and how is your company addressing those needs?
Spillane: Our independent channel is strong and getting stronger across North America. Our existing retailers continue to grow and we add additional distribution every year.
What is Benjamin Moore’s latest technology being offered for exterior architectural coatings market?
Spillane: Benjamin Moore is not just a manufacturer of coatings. We also manufacture our own resins and colorant systems. With the introduction of our Aura Exterior Line and proprietary, patented Gennex zero VOC colorant system, we are able to offer superior performance in a low-VOC product. Our new Arborcoat Waterborne Exterior Stains are also powered by that same Gennex colorant technology and is a huge success with its advanced technology for preserving wood.
Aura Exterior is a quality, 100% acrylic exterior semi-gloss latex finish. This product combines the advantages of Benjamin Moore’s resin technology and its proprietary patented Gennex colorant system to provide the ultimate exterior coating. This high solids formula is suitable for a variety of exterior surfaces and can be applied as low as 40° F.
Attributes include improved hiding, especially in dark colors, superior adhesion and excellent resistance to chalking as well as low temperature application and greatly improved resistance to surfactant leaching in dark colors. It also offers excellent flow and leveling, is easy to apply with a brush, roller or by spray. It can be cleaned with soap and water; is resistant to fading, cracking, peeling, blistering, dirt pick-up, alkali and fumes.
Aura Exterior is also mildew resistant, specially formulated to contain agents which inhibit the growth of mildew on the surface of the paint film. It offers fast dry and recoat times, is vapor permeable, offers color lock technology and extreme UV resistance.
Arborcoat Waterborne Exterior Stains offer low odor, repel UV rays, are water and mildew resistant and tinted with the Gennex colorant system. Arborcoat Stains also contain under 100 grams VOC per liter.
Five products comprise the Arborcoat family. Transparent, Semi Transparent and Protective Clear Coat provide exceptional protection while allowing the natural color and texture of the wood to show through. Transparent and Semi Transparent are a unique composition of both water dispersible alkyds with acrylic resins. The alkyd portion allows for deep penetration and the acrylic resins deliver incomparable durability over time. Protective Clear Coat ensures added defense against foot traffic and the elements. Semi Solid and Solid are acrylic formulations with superior protection.
APV Engineered Coatings’ NeverFade exterior paint was recently recognized for its technological achievement by Building Products magazine.
NeverFade paint, warranted to last 15 years against fading, has been named a winner of the 2010 Most Valuable Product (MVP) Awards presented by Building Products magazine. Manufactured by APV Engineered Coatings, NeverFade professional exterior paint is formulated with Kynar Aquatec polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) to make it resistant to fading, algae, fungus, stains and abrasions.
“While the residential construction industry sees hundreds of new product introductions each year, the MVP winners stand apart for their thoughtful design, smart technologies or even pure wow factor,” said Jean Dimeo, editorial director for Building Products and ebuild.com. “In a struggling economy, it’s innovations like these that can help contractors woo customers, save time and money, and surpass the competition.”
APV Engineered Coatings worked with Arkema, Inc. to create NeverFade paint. Kynar Aquatec is dispersed into the water-based formula for NeverFade paint, so VOCs are drastically reduced, making NeverFade. The homopolymer in Kynar Aquatec is a tough, engineered thermoplastic that offers a balance of properties. As a result, NeverFade paint withstands harsh thermal, chemical and ultraviolet environmental conditions. In essence, it resists abrasions, restricts the growth of mold and mildew, and will not pick up dirt.
“We created this top-of-the-line exterior paint with ultraviolet blockers and high quality pigments mixed with fluoropolymer resin to prevent against fading and chalking,” said David Venarge, chairman of APV Engineered Coatings. “To show our confidence in this product, we provide an unprecedented 15-year warranty against fading. In the unlikely event that someone is obliged to apply the warranty, we will provide the replacement of the product and payment for job-related labor costs.”
Available nationwide for use on both residential and commercial projects, NeverFade may be applied to vinyl siding, PVC, wood, aluminum siding, stucco, masonry and fiber cement surfaces. Since each paint order is custom made, NeverFade is available in an unlimited number of colors.