Key executives at WoodSmart Solutions Inc., headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., include Michael Morando, customer service; Kristina Morando, office manager; Charles A. Morando, president and chief executive officer; and Robert Morando, customer service.
Boca Raton, Fla.—For over 5 years, homebuilders and homeowners alike have gone blue to protect themselves against the threats of mold fungus growth, rot decay, fungi and wood ingesting insects. BLUWOOD, that is.
Marketed by WoodSmart Solutions Inc., headquartered here, BLUWOOD is a two component, factory-applied, protective coating system for wood that provides a lifetime warranty against mold fungus growth, rot fungi and wood ingesting insects, including termites and carpenter ants. The independent laboratory and university-tested product is a LEED and GreenSpec registered product. WoodSmart is looking to be able to announce an additional wood protection feature later this year. At this time, a Class A Rating ASTM E-84 flame spread test is being conducted.
Charles Morando, president and chief executive officer of WoodSmart Solutions, said he came across the need for BLUWOOD almost by accident. A veteran of the specialty coatings industry, Morando had sold his first company, which was a high-performance architectural and industrial coating with zero VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and retired to Florida, when he stumbled upon a new market.
“I was investigating an investment opportunity in another coatings company, and out of it, I discovered an untapped market,” he said. “At the time, wood component suppliers and builders were looking for ways to protect structural wood framing components and the structure from mold fungi growth. I brought back in an extremely talented group of chemists I had from my other company, and we created BLUWOOD. It’s been just one steady charge forward since.”
BLUWOOD started off as a clear product, but “nobody could tell if it was coated or not,” Morando said. “Shortly, we came up
This BLUWOOD home in San Diego, Calif., was built by Mulvey Construction Inc.
with the blue concept, and it’s probably one of the best things that we did. Now, every structure that goes up becomes a billboard, and people can’t help but stop and ask why it’s blue. It may be a novelty in some markets to see a BLUWOOD house going up. But, we think five years from now, they’ll be asking why isn’t it blue, instead of why is it blue.”
BLUWOOD has definitely garnered attention, receiving coverage in Florida newspapers and television programs from coast to coast, as well as The Business Journal, Real Estate Journal and Automated Builder. Hollywood megastar Brad Pitt was also pictured in front of a home being built with BLUWOOD in New Orleans, La., for People magazine.
However, BLUWOOD has gained the most exposure through ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” program. The show’s builders first used BLUWOOD when constructing a home for a mother and six children, following her husband’s death at 35, who was unknowingly allergic to mold in their home. WoodSmart and ABC have since partnered on several more homes.
“I hear a story every few days of someone being forced to move out of their house because of mold,” Morando said. “I actually met my wife that way. Her sister and her children were getting sick, and an environmental engineer told them to move immediately and not take anything with them. It's been nearly four years later and the house is still sitting empty.
Morando said the main attraction to BLUWOOD is that it provides added value and peace of mind to the homebuilders as well as the homeowners. “BLUWOOD provides added protection from surface moisture and has a lifetime, transferable warranty against mold fungus growth, rot decay fungi and wood ingesting insects,” he said. “That means that the lumber is protected from the time it leaves the licensed coating facility, when at the retail/contractor yard, during construction, and most importantly thereafter.”
This BLUWOOD multi-family project in construction in Myrtle Beach, S.C., was built by Harrington Construction Inc.
Mold and wood ingesting insects plague on construction defects, especially if moisture seeps into the home. “In many situations, the damaging effects go unnoticed for sometime because it is occurring between the walls,” Morando said. “As the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) says, ‘if you control the moisture, you control the mold.’”
BLUWOOD is a pre-construction, factory-applied, two-part coating system. The first part is BLUWOOD’s proprietary Infusion-Film, and the second part is an EPA registered DOT (Borates) fungicide and insecticide. As lumber travels through the application line, all six sides are wetted and become encapsulated with the two-part solution. As the Infusion-Film is absorbed and cures, it molecularly cross-links with the cellulose fiber surface of the wood. The Infusion-Film is especially formulated to resist moisture and mold fungus growth on the cured film surface. Builders continually report, in addition to BLUWOOD not having mold growth, there is far less unusable lumber caused when lumber curls, warps and splits. Less waste and more stable lumber adds up to savings and better construction.
Morando said another added benefit is that lumber treated with BLUWOOD can be handled just like untreated lumber, and makes an excellent wood preserving pre-paint or stain primer for fascia and trim board. “Pressure treated lumber is a great product, but it’s heavy, hard to saw and hard to nail,” he said. “With BLUWOOD, you have none of those limitations. BLUWOOD hardly adds any weight to a truckload of lumber, and won’t cause you to take one board off of a load.”
Morando said the color of the wood instantly attracts buyers, but the added value and protection it offers is what truly sells. “In the public’s eyes, wood is wood,” he said. “Once it’s blue, it becomes a new product. We created a new product category in the lumber industry, and it’s getting everybody’s attention in the supply chain. But, homebuyers are looking for better construction, peace of mind and real value, not just a fancier countertop. The overall additional cost for a complete BLUWOOD structural framing package (framing lumber, wall, floor and roof sheathing and truss) is very reasonable and is typically about $1.50 to $2 per square foot of living space.”
Sunny Brook Builders built this BLUWOOD home, located in Minneapolis, Minn.
WoodSmart currently has 22 independently owned and operated licensed facilities that market BLUWOOD throughout the United States and Canada, to national and regional building material wholesalers, dealers and wood component manufacturers, as a value added product with extra protection.
Morando refers to the network of licensed application companies as the “BLUWOOD family.” Morando said. “It takes an entrepreneurial spirit, and someone who enjoys pioneering a great new concept into the marketplace, and has vision to see where it can go. We really look for people who have an appreciation for quality and sense of marketing.”
WoodSmart Solutions is a family operated company with Morando’s daughter, Kristina McPherson, serving as office manager; and his sons, Robert and Michael Morando, involved with customer service and sales support. Other key employees include Greg Price and Larry Bournias, sales managers that provide in-the-field sales and technical support to licensees in developing a broader market for BLUWOOD. Price, a longtime friend of Morando’s, is also a shareholder in the company.
Like the company itself, BLUWOOD continues to grow. When WoodSmart began operations some 5 years ago, BLUWOOD was seen in just a handful of homes. Today, thousands of homes have been built using the technology. “That’s a lot of lumber, panels and engineered wood,” Morando said. “In fact, we have more than hundreds of millions of board feet of BLUWOOD products in commercial or residential jobs, and are adding more every day.”
BLUWOOD is also expanding into prefinished wood protection of fascia board, trim and components.
WoodSmart is a member of the North American Wholesale Lumber Assoc. (NAWLA) and the American Wood Preservers Association and the WCTA representing the structural building component industry. The company displayed its products at last year’s NAWLA Traders Market, and will have a featured home during the National Assoc. of Home Builders Green Build Show in New Orleans, La., and the 2009 International Builders Show in Las Vegas, Nev.
“There probably isn’t a week that goes by that we’re not marketing this product somewhere in a show, and we do a tremendous amount of national advertising,” Morando said. “Every day, we get calls from parts of the country that we’ve never done business in before.”
For more information, contact WoodSmart Solutions, Inc. at email@example.com or visit www.bluwood.com.