Match Maker

[September 2016]

Previously published in Modern Metals - Read Here

Sports fandom can make its way into all facets of life if you want it to. Special occasions like a new baby or a housewarming bring well-wishers—and for some avid sports fans, that means team-specific themed bottles or not-so-subtle 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 in Bossier City, Louisiana. “We were able to match LSU purple for a recent [Louisiana State] Tigers fan and we are having architects come to us with color requests spanning the rainbow.”

A roll former company, McElroy Metal takes steel coils and roll forms the material into roofing and siding products. “The steel coils come from U.S. Steel Corp. and are precoated 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.”

The team at Minneapolis-based Valspar has advanced the world of color coatings by using a handheld digital node to read the color of any object, record it and save to an online app allowing the hue to be perfectly matched to a customer’s specifications.

McElroy Metal has 12 facilities and uses top of the line Fluropon extensively on all products. “The Fluropon system is a premier quality coating system,” Gieseke says. “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.”

Valspar’s relationship with McElroy Metal extends beyond picking paint colors. “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 into our company. Their support extends into our relationships with customers.”

Customer perception of metal roofing has changed 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.”

Reliable inventory

Color-matching or custom color requests is why Petersen Aluminum Corp. in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, continues to use Valspar through the years. “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. Based out of Petersen’s Acworth, Georgia factory, Landis says Petersen uses Valspar Fluropon, Fluropon Classic II for mica colors and, on occasion, 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 coating colors. “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.”

Keeping inventory on hand is crucial as customers always have strict schedules to stick to in order to keep projects on time. Slit coil and flat sheet for flashings require three to five days to get the order to the customer.

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

In flux innovation

Valspar believes its focus on innovation is what maintains relationships as well as garners new ones. “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.

Valspar’s efforts to produce coatings without harmful materials, like Valspar’s Fluropon Pure coating, 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 Fluropon Extreme, a new 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.”

Previously, transporting coated material meant additional steps to the overall manufacturing process, including adding a protective film onto the coil to reduce damage prior to being installed onto a roof, for example.

“Once formed into the roof panel, the metal still has to 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 stripping off the material and disposing of it.”

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

Color preferences have also changed over the last several years, Alexander says. “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,” he 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.”


McElroy Metal, Bossier City, Louisiana, 800/562-3576,

Petersen Aluminum Corp., Elk Grove Village, Illinois, 800/722-2523,

Valspar Corp., Minneapolis, 800/845-9061,