There is no doubt that today’s job site is more aggressive than it has ever been. Subcontractors today pray to the Gods that no snags present themselves and that everything perform as close to clockwork as possible—profit demands this. And not only should the schedules be met and work performed on time and budget, but the work has to pass the test of time. Thus, materials used on the job depend a lot on the overall project’s success.
Since its inception in the 1990s, Structus Building Technologies NO-COAT corner trim has changed how drywall contractors finish board. Through hard work, the sales force did penetrate the market and gave the traditional metal corner bead its biggest contender.
The NO-COAT Structural Laminate (SLAM) design represents a corner system that provides both top-notch strength and durability that installs faster than any other conventional corner bead. Before Structus introduced this product, traditional metal corner bead was the standard. Incorrect installation, easily damaged metal corner beadwill be the root of causing costly callbacks from denting, chipping, rusting, cracking and peeling. In addition, higher contents of mud applications add up in labor and money when applying corner bead.
The NO-COAT SLAM System was invented to eliminate job site returns and reduce the amount of mud used. Its design integrates technologies and material, such as dimensionally extruded co-polymer plastic and formulated saturated paper. The result is a corner system that does exactly as it needs its customers to do: outperforms all others in the market and is guaranteed to eliminates or reduces callbacks for drywall corner repair.
From one end of the country to the other, when a drywall contractor has used NO-COAT it is difficult getting him to go back to metal corner bead. At least that is how it was all four contractors interviewed for this article said in so many words.
In the city that never sleeps, NO-COAT corner trim can be found throughout all New York’s boroughs, including Manhattan, where Emerald Drywall Finishing Corp. spends a lot of its time. Based in New York, the husband and wife duo Brandon and Denise Clare are drywall finishing contractors that perform all Levels of Finish throughout the city. The company, which employs 70 workers, is a union shop that does mud and finishing “straight up,” says Brandon.
Brandon, who has been a drywall finisher since 1986, started EDFC back in 2009. Although New York certainly lends an advantage to the level and amount of work, Brandon still says the recession didn’t impact the company.
“Business is booming in New York,” he says, noting the company spends a lot of time in Manhattan and Brooklyn. “We tripled our business in the last year.”
Commercial residential high rise buildings is EDFC’s current bread and butter and is keeping the finishing contractor all throughout the city with several projects that will bring them easily into the next year.
Most projects the company gets the contract for are Level 5 finishes. So, Brandon is very adamant that the company use quality products. He cites that he likes working with USG and National Gypsum’s joint compounds. The company does employ spray machines as well.
“We got three Graco’s one Titan,” says Brandon. “We use the Graco one with the hopper on it. We run the continuous flow tools through there so that machine works well.”
But when asked about the type of corner bead system he prefers, there is no hesitation: NO-COAT.
“I push NO-COAT here a lot in New York,” Brandon says. “We don’t have to wait for the carpenters to install the product. We install in better time because we can dictate the pace of application. We don’t have to wait for the carpenters to install the bead. As soon as the drywall is hung, then we got someone immediately following them with NO-COAT.”
Brandon says his workers “fly with this” product. If a project is speced with metal beads, I’ll fight to get NO-COAT. It works with repairs, quality is better and looks sharper. To me it’s a way better application,” he says.
Ultimately, EDFC’s goal is to be the number one drywall finisher in New York City.
Over in the Heartland, United Drywall Inc. is a drywall contractor operating out of Anamosa, Iowa. The contractor does both residential and commercial construction. The contractor does drywall (hanging and finishing), steel framing, ceilings, insulation and more. The company began in 2005, during the boom years.
Its Co-owner Todd Boone has been working in construction since 1990. His plan was to go to college but a summer construction gig took him elsewhere. Today, the company is still going strong.
“After our first three years, we worked hard to maintain our relationships with our customers when we had the slowdown,” Boone says. “Us taking care of our customers really helped [pay off during the recession].”
Boone says the slowdown is waning and that United Drywall is gaining new customers.
Building relationships with our customers and being involved with their projects is what Boone finds most interesting about the work. Yet, he says, the hardest part is balancing the time requirements for a business and being involved with raising a family.
United Drywall does have larger jobs with contracts signed for the winter, taking them also well into the next year.
To build more relationships with builders and be the guy they call when they need drywall work performed is what United Drywall’s consistent every day to day goals are. To help the company achieve these goals, again Boone says that the quality of products it uses will help them achieve a more successful and profitable operation.
“The products I’m impressed with are products that can help with productivity and decreases the likely hood of a callback,” Boone says. Among those products is NO-COAT.
“We have not had a callback for any of the NO-COAT trim we have installed since we started using it in 2008,” Boone says. “In fact, it has been brought up with one of our residential customers (who build 30 to 40 homes a year and use 150-175 sticks per home) that since we have used it we have had absolutely not one issue with the bead. And before using NO-COAT, we had issues quite a bit. We had tried all other types of bead and NO-COAT bead has been the answer.”
Boone simply concludes: “NO-COAT is included on every job we do now.”
Right at the gateway to the South, Valley Interior Systems Inc. is a big fan of Structus Building Technologies and of course, NO-COAT. With more than 30 years under its belt, the Cincinnati-based contractor endeavors to stay ahead of competition by remaining current in business trends, investments, employment programs and new products/technology.
Valley Interiors Systems was founded in 1981 by J. William (Bill) Strawser and two partners as a union interior subcontracting firm specializing in drywall, framing, acoustical ceilings and plastering serving the Tri-State area (Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky). In 1986, Strawser bought Valley Interior Systems from his two partners setting the stage for tremendous growth and success.
The company is a family operation and Strawser is joined by his two sons, John and Mike Strawser, and Jeff Hudepohl. Responding to market demand, the company expanded into other regions in 1990. Valley now operates offices with a full staff in Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo, Ohio.
The commercial contractor to date now specializes in drywall, metal framing, acoustical ceilings, exterior and interior plaster, spray insulation, access flooring and Division 10 work. The union contractor showcases its talents on educational facilities, sports stadiums, hospitals and casino work. At its peak, Valley Interior Systems employed 600 workers; now it currently has a total of 350 office and field personnel to its staff.
Before the recession, the subcontractor had grown an average of 12 percent a year since 1981 until 2008, when things slowed way down. Today though, the company feels very optimistic and excited about the future.
“[Things have been] very strong as of late we have been very fortunate to have secured some very large projects for this year’s back log,” says Vice President of Operations Marcus Taulbee.
Part of Valley Interior Systems’ success has been how much it has embraced technology and new tools. The company recently invested in Grabber’s PanelMax drywall milling machine. It’s also kept an open mind over the years. According to Taulbee, “NO-COAT is without a doubt one of the best new product for our industry that has come out in years.
“To be honest, at first like others we was skeptical about trying new things,” says Taulbee. “But once we had used NO-COAT we were pretty quick to embrace the new product.
He says the advantages of Valley Interior Systems using NO-COAT corner trim over traditional corner bead is:
- Greatly reduces callbacks
- Cost savings
- Safety benefits (no sharp edges as in metal bead)
Taulbee says the product line has reduced callbacks because there is zero edge cracking/damage from other trades. He adds the quality is better which reduces any punch list items.
“Every time I can, I up-sell the product line,” he concludes. “It is an easy sale for us.”
Pete King Construction Co. is a steel stud framing, drywall hanging, finishing and painting subcontractor based in Phoenix. The company has been in business for 65 years servicing the greater Phoenix area in Arizona. Since the 1940s as Pete King & Son, the company has worked tirelessly to provide professional quality subcontracting in each of the markets that it has worked/
Providing a place of work that appreciates and values each and every worker has been a core philosophy of founders Pete and Jerry King, and remains a top priority in the company today. The subcontractor is committed to providing a safe and reputable place.
“The landscape of the construction industry has changed dramatically over the years,” says President Jeffrey King. “Pete King Construction Company has always been on the leading edge of the industry. Our ability to "get the job done", meet schedules, and adapt to changing conditions has afforded us the privilege to participate in many of the marquee projects that have been built in Arizona. We have always enjoyed a solid reputation that has placed us among the best in the industry and has allowed us to partner up with some very reputable General Contractors. We have enjoyed playing a large role in building the landscape of Arizona and look forward to many more years ahead helping to build Arizona.”
Safety is a top priority at Pete King Construction. The company says it will never sacrifice safety for profitability or efficiency. The company considers its employees family and wants to protect them as much as possible.
“We take pride in our safety record and work hard to implement our program from all members of management through each individual on every project,” says King.
Pete King Construction Co. has earned the solid reputation of being the premier drywall and painting subcontractor in the Southwest because its customers know that they can count on professional service that is completed on time and with the quality expected in today’s sophisticated market.
According to the company’s Superintendent Johnny Estes, business has picked up in the last year.
“As anyone in the trade can attest there has been some really slow times,” Estes says, adding that the company is on track to have a great year. “We have been gaining ground. And we are always trying to improve and stay ahead of the competition.”
When it comes to new products on the market, Estes is always a bit skeptical. He seems to have a critical eye so anyone that speaks to him knows he doesn’t endorse or praise something unless it’s well worth it. It seems the corner trim that has been discussed in this article passes the test, in a big way.
“It has been really hard to impress me with any product as most of them end up as a gimmick at best,” he says. “With that said, it is really difficult to wade through all the new things shown to me and not be tainted when it comes to anything. The most impressive item will sell itself.”
So what does he like so much about the NO-COAT line? “We found that we can install the trim with less effort and less labor than traditional accessories,” says Estes. “On top of that, we used less mud, and very little callbacks.”
He says the company was apprehensive a little of a higher cost but “we recognized that this is a win-win for us and our client.”
Any wall and ceiling contractor that visits INTEX Expo or other trade related events where Structus is exhibiting knows that the company strives to create the ultimate product with the customer at the forefront. Created and run by a staff that knows the pains of today’s construction climate, the company knows it’s paramount to offer the very best in quality with results that keep the subcontractor in business. Grabber Construction Products proudly carries the NO-COAT line.