By Robyn Miller, Gleaner Writer
In 2002 when the trio of Robert Silvera, Vaughn Morris and William Tavares-Finson started Seal Sprayed Solutions, they had moved into what, at best, could be described as a patchy business.
The few practitioners who held the roofing repair industry together then took on only specific jobs - "mostly large commercial ones", which meant there were long periods of inactivity.
"They just came, did that job and disappeared." So the three men saw "a void", said Silvera, who had already had several years' experience with the product while working with the Jamaica Broilers Group.
Seal Sprayed Solutions' roofing system utilises a durable and long-lasting polyurethane foam which provides solutions for leaking roof problems, heating, and saves on energy costs.
Seamless, energy-efficient water-resistant and economical in the long term, the polyurethane foam adds to the aesthetics of roofing systems, is also good for sound-proofing, internal insulation, strengthening and decorative purposes, and is an excellent solution for cold rooms and other storage facilities.
INNOVATIVE ROOFING SOLUTION
Unlike traditional roofing methods which tend to be messy and time-consuming, the process is simple with minimal dislocation and clean-up.
The process involves preparation of the surface by cleaning and priming where necessary, and applying the polyurethane foam by spraying to the desired thickness. All this is done on the spot, the same day, by the company's team of professionals.
Though not extensively used commercially, the technology has been utilised by local industry practitioners for the last three decades. 'Seal' spraying is not new to the Jamaican market as this has been around for the last 30 years," said Morris, who oversees the operations and commercial aspects of the business. He noted that contractors had come to realise its benefits, with a lot of the newer buildings having insulation built into their design system.
Tavares-Finson, whose first encounter with the product came after he had used it for a leaking roof for office space he had rented to a client, is still amazed at how cool it left that building.
"I kept on complaining, and they kept saying, 'No, we don't leave the air conditioning on'." It turned out that the sprayed polyurethane had insulated the building against heat and it had retained the cool air at night," he said.
The company is the NCB Nation Builder awardee in the Innovation category for 2010, and is staffed by 50 persons at three locations - Belmont Road, St Andrew, Montego Bay, St James, and one in Trinidad.
At a whopping US$400 (J$36,000) per square foot, the business partners acknowledged that the cost of the product can seem prohibitive, but said it was an investment that was "well worth it".
And with high energy costs being a growing concern for householders and businesses, demand for the product continues to peak on both sides.
"The Jamaica Public Service has worked in our favour with the high energy costs," Morris revealed. "When you put sprayed polyurethane foam on a building that's air-conditioned, say a bank or an office building where air conditioning is used for the better part of the day, you can reduce your energy consumption for cooling by 25 to 30, 40 per cent. So it's a system that, from the day you put it on your roof, it starts to pay for itself," he said.
With a home-improvement loan available from the National Housing Trust (NHT), homeowners can take advantage of this facility to effect roof repairs using the service.
Now in its 10th year, Seal Sprayed Solutions, a member of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association in as many years, has covered the roofs of many large organisations, Red Stripe, Wisynco, Family Pride Supermarket, and countless others, in the process helping them realise millions in energy savings.
Conversely, the business partners said the return on investment for homeowners, too, can be realised in as little as two years, with comfort and peace of mind being among the assurances.