Pink is a bold color. Whether you see it on clothing, in a work of art or on a car, when something is painted pink, it announces its presence in style. If you live in the Lowcountry, you may have noticed another way that pink is being used: on building materials.
G&S Supply Company is a construction firm based in the Charleston area. The company uses a unique pink primer on its lumber that catches the eye and, at the same time, protects the wood from the harsh sun and rain that homes are subjected to throughout long summers in the South. If you’ve ever driven past new construction and noticed pink pillars, porch rails or exterior moldings, then you’ve seen the exclusive calling card of David Steele and his company.
Steele has been using this colorful wood for over three years now. He figured that doing something different and memorable would be a great way to better serve G&S Supply’s customers.
“We originally just wanted to do something that would help protect the wood,” says Steele. “We kept thinking of a way to do that and create a niche at the same time, and finally we asked: ‘Can we come up with a pink primer?’ So we looked into it and, it turned out, we could.”
Steele liked pink for the vivid look, but the color is also important for cancer awareness. Steele and his company have donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and have used pink in many of their ads over the years.
While the G&S pink lumber is undeniably distinctive and gives the company an immediately recognizable signature look in the construction business, Steele’s goal—first and foremost— was to create a product that was better for the consumer.
“This all started because we wanted to improve the quality of our wood,” says Steele. “We wanted to limit the number of problems that can affect lumber during the construction process and the number of warranty returns that may happen during a particularly long build.”
With that in mind, Steele set out to find a partner company he could work with to produce the flashy primer. He found Carolina Machine Finishing (CMF)—another local company— and together they worked with Sherwin-Williams to create the pink primer they’ve used since 2014, a proprietary product that is exclusive to G&S.
Besides the unique look, the oil-based primer helps preserve the wood, which makes it perfect for outdoor usage on porches, steps and anything else that endures direct sunlight and rain year in and year out. The primer is poured on and allowed to dry so it can be shipped to the site and withstand the elements until it can be painted the color of the homeowner’s choice.
Ensuring proper painting is another benefit of using such a bold primer: Since the color is so dramatic, painters are forced to correctly coat each piece of lumber so the pink doesn’t show through. This not only helps to safeguard the wood further, it also gives homeowners peace of mind that the final results will be exactly what they want.
“When we first started using the primer, we weren’t sure how people were going to react,” says Steele. “But as we kept using it, it just seemed to catch on. Workers at the job sites started asking about it, and it was popular with them because the wood could withstand anything for the weeks it may need to sit out before getting finished. It’s just a great product.”
G&S works with builders all over the Lowcountry. It works very closely with Saussy Burbank on many projects, and it also does business with Ashton Woods and David Weekley Homes. Chances are, if you drive past any new construction in the Charleston area, you will be able to see this unique lumber available only from David Steele and his company.
M. Luke Yoder is a freelance writer based in Charleston. Learn more at facebook.com/mlukeyoder.