"Our customers are a pretty resilient bunch. I like to think we're not just in the coal tar sealer business, we're in the coatings business," Vance says. "I like to think that our customers are in the coatings business too and I would think they'll adapt based on what coatings are available."
Vance adds that if contractors are faced with putting down a new material they need to pay attention to what material they're using. "Is it coal tar or is it a blend or is it an asphalt sealer?" Vance says. "Each acts differently and contractors need to adapt their process to the material they're using. There are some things you can do with coal tar speed-wise that you probably can't do with asphalt."
He says contractors also need to educate their customers on what to expect from the materials they are using.
And Dubey says he is not concerned about the sealcoating industry itself.
"Over the last 50 or 60 years sealcoating has established its value and sealcoating will be done in one form or another with one material or another," Dubey says. "Sealcoating will be used as long as it makes sense on the basis of cost benefits."
Next month: An in-depth look at the regulatory issues facing coal tar sealer.