Customer Spotlight: Summit Sealants
Summit Sealants creates high quality concrete repairs in the most challenging climates
Summit Sealants, Inc., founded in 2002 by Stephen Berwanger, specializes in waterproofing, concrete repair, historical restoration and more, serving an expanding customer base out of its multiple Colorado offices as well as its growing Seattle area location. Dedicated to providing the highest quality installation at fair industry prices, while striving for perfection in every unique project, Summit has emerged as one of the biggest and most respected sealant and restoration companies in the United States. According to Berwanger’s partner, President of Restoration Jake Holland, Summit has proudly earned its reputation for creating long-lasting repairs in a climate that can be a little…challenging.
“Construction people around the country often talk about how their area has hot summers and frigid winters and how those freeze/thaw cycles put constant pressure on the concrete,” explained Holland. “In Colorado, we commonly have temperature swings of 60 degrees or more—in the same day! And then the same thing happens the next day! It can be relentless. They say concrete lasts 100 years. In this area, 30 years is a not an unreasonable goal.”
In addition to the temperature swings, the very low relative humidity in Colorado year-round makes it a constant battle to get the repair mortar mix right and give the patch a fighting chance for long term performance.
“We’re certified with every brand and we’ve learned how to work optimally with each of them in this climate. With some products, we have to additionally hydrate, or wet cure, or take some other additional steps to get the best performance out of them,” he said. “We’ll always work hard to get the best results possible—but it often takes extra time and effort.”
However, he noted, there is one glaring exception.
“Master Builders Solutions products work great with no extra intervention. Their workability, their ease of installation, the quality of the products—it’s just not the same as anything else,” he said. “Their repair mortars just function better and give an outstanding result every time, even in our dry climate. The funny thing is, they work great in wet, rainy Seattle too, so it’s just a very versatile, very workable product for us—no matter what the challenge of the climate!”
Holland notes that not only can his crew do the repair faster with Master Builders Solutions repair mortar—the repair tends to last longer too.
“I can go back and look at sites I installed 15 years ago and know at a glance if it had been done with Master Builders Solutions products or with someone else’s product,” said Holland. “They just look better, and keep on looking better for the long-term.”
A wide variety of high quality products
As a self-described “third generation” contractor, Holland notes that he has “been playing with urethanes, concrete, epoxies and expansion joints” since he was a young teenager, helping his family and colleagues out on jobs of all kinds.
“I’m very, very familiar with every product on the market—I’ve used them all, and Master Builders Solutions has always been our go-to for a lot of jobs,” he said.
Reason one, he notes, is just that Master Builders Solutions has such a wide product line to work with.
“A big thing with them is that they really have a large, complementary offering. It is really important to be confident that the products you are using have been tested to work well together—like, for example, a rapid set repair mortar and a urethane sealant. You want to know that you will have proper adhesion and a monolithic look and a fully warrantable situation so there’s no finger pointing if there is ever an issue,” he explained. “So not only are Master Builders Solutions products high quality products at a good price, everything is formulated to be compatible and work together seamlessly for the long-term. That checks a lot of important boxes for us—and for our clients.”
When it comes to individual Master Builders Solutions products, Holland notes that he has a number of favorites.
“The MasterEmaco® T 1060 repair mortar is hands-down one of our favorite products as a company,” he explained. “We use it quite often on horizontal concrete repairs. It doesn’t experience shrinkage cracking within the repair like just about every other rapid set repair mortar out there. It’s the best by far—everyone else is chasing them on this.”
Holland notes that Summit’s success with Master Builders Solutions mortar products has been so substantial that “we don’t look at anyone else’s repair mortars at all.” Still, he notes, repair mortars are just one aspect of the Master Builders Solutions offering that has added up to success for him and his company, and he lists several.
“There’s the MasterEmaco N 425 repair mortar with corrosion inhibitor—it sticks really well and is our preferred product for hand-applied applications. The MasterSeal Traffic 2500 deck coating system is another favorite—it lets us get two coats down in a day, and sometimes finish a drive lane or similar parking garage area completely over a weekend. With many other brands it could take several days, and the faster you can get the garage back in operation the better our customers like it! Their primerless sealant removes a step and can save us like 15% labor time on jobs—that’s huge. And its viscosity and consistency is perfect—not too stiff or loose like a lot of other products, so it’s really workable and fast,” he explained.
Not just products—people
As much as the quality and performance of Master Builders Solutions products have made a difference for Summit over the years, Holland notes that the people that he works with at the company have perhaps had an even greater impact on his company’s growth and success.
“Their products and product knowledge are amazing but so is their willingness to help and always go the extra mile,” he said.
Here too, Holland lists off several examples. He recalls a project that had demanded the use of a very flowable grout with very high compression strength as well as a fast turnaround, and Master Builders Solutions’ labs stepped in to help verify and confirm the right product mix—with all properties tested coming back meeting or exceeding the exacting specifications of the job. When Summit needed to find a product that was flowable at high elevations under low humidity and could be effectively placed under existing old masonry walls, Master Builders Solutions similarly went to bat for them. And, when Summit took the high road in response to a rare, potentially arguable client complaint and agreed to redo a portion of a project, Holland recalls being amazed and impressed when some Master Builders Solutions salespeople, technical people and other colleagues—many experienced contractors themselves—came down and worked side by side with his technicians to help speed things up and lessen the blow to his bottom line.
“It might sound corny but I like to say that the chemistry at Master Builders Solution is world class in two ways—the great chemistry in their formulations, and the great chemistry between our people and theirs,” said Holland. “They’re not only suppliers, they’re partners and they’re friends. Really, it’s a great feeling knowing that there are people out there who really know their stuff and always have our backs.”