Liquid Plastics Inc. learned the truest meaning of irony.
Less than three months after establishing its business in the United States to help others avoid leaky buildings, the roof started leaking on its newly built facility.
``It wasn't the building manufacturer's fault,'' said Marc Schroeder, president and chief executive officer. ``The problem lies in the fact that the roof has been penetrated for [heating, venting and air conditioning] units. You can't point a finger at the HVAC contractor either, because their equipment was installed correctly. Sealing of the penetration details was left to a simple caulked-and-screwed detail that is innately deficient and prone to leakage.''
His firm seeks to solve the building moisture problem through specialized polyurethane coatings. Liquid Plastics Inc., based in Middletown, Conn., officially was dedicated in May. Parent firm Liquid Plastics Ltd., based in Preston, England, invested $3 million to establish the North American manufacturing presence.
The operation is housed in a 27,000-square-foot facility with equipment capable of producing 1,500 gallons of product per day.
``We'll build in sales, marketing and production from now on,'' Schroeder said in an Aug. 2 telephone interview. Schroeder expects the U.S. arm to rack up $5 million in sales this year.
Officials said their products allow an encasement of all parts of a building, including parapet walls inside, parapet coping details or flashings.
Jeremy Gorick, managing director, said the market for the firm's products is expanding so rapidly that Liquid Plastics ensured that the new site will allow for extension of manufacturing facilities by up to 40 percent.
The company expects to boost sales by 300 percent by 2005, Gorick said in a news release.
The firm manufactures two classes of products: waterborne, which are produced in enclosed, high-speed, shearing disperser mixing vessels; and solvent-borne, which are created in reactor vessels. Both products are created from moisture-triggered polyurethane technology.
The products are for every surface except floors and can be used on interior surfaces of food-processing plants and pharmaceutical firms.
``The architectural community [has] to look at the building as a whole so that all the individual components work in conjunction with each other and give the owner the best value for his or her money,'' Schroeder said.
For example, if you have an air-conditioned building in a tropical climate, moisture direction is inward, he said.
``So the vapor barrier has to be on the outside, not inside,'' he said. ``We match materials to exposure and substrate conditions to get the best value.''
Schroeder said the system addresses mold-spore-contamination issues, which have gained attention recently in California markets especially.
Liquid Plastics has annual sales of about $40 million. The firm operates through Industrial Copolymers Ltd., based in Preston, and Belgian subsidiary Pentagon Plastics NV.