Customer Conversation: Thunderbird Products

Customer Conversation: Thunderbird Products

If you’re a West Coast roofing contractor, distributor, or supplier, you’ve heard of Thunderbird Products. As a fabricator, Thunderbird Products has been a staple in the California roofing market for over thirty years.

“Roof drains, and deck drains are the core of our business,” says David Carnick, VP of Thunderbird Products. “We have a lot of accessories – edge metal, flashings – and a lot of custom fabrication for crickets and trench drains.”

“If someone is in a predicament or a product doesn’t exist, that is where we excel. If there is a problem and there is not a product out there for them, we can come up with a solution.”

Based in the San Diego area, Thunderbird Products is well versed in coastal weather, which is harsh on galvanized metals. As the use of TPO gained popularity, Thunderbird saw the limitation of TPO cladded onto galvanized metals, which was the standard at the time.

“We had been making products – flashings and drains – out of the major manufacturers’ clad metal, probably ten years before we got to you guys. They only had galvanized steel backing. That wasn’t working for us.”

“Coastal properties just had this product in galvanized, and it can’t handle that environment,” says Trevor Gritman, Operations Manager of Thunderbird Products. “Because there’s always going to be an edge – where the piece is, and water is going to be running down that – it starts with a little bit of rust, which pulls at the laminate…It just keeps going and going. Next thing you know, you have a failed product.”

“Our original drain was copper,” says Carnick. “Originally, we found Arvinyl to see if we could do [PVC and TPO] cladded copper. That was our original ask because we were getting cladded metal, but we didn’t want to get our drain in galvanized metal because the metal eventually fails.”

“We always want to be in the business of making a drain in which we wouldn’t have to worry about failure, and the customer wouldn’t have to worry about failure. So, we hooked up with you guys, and that’s how we got to the stainless cladded metal, which is what we fabricate our [standard] drains out of. We’ve expanded since then on to other stuff. But that was the original reason: how can we make our drain last a lifetime with clad with PVC or TPO on top of it.”

Thunderbird Products accepts custom fabrication requests using major manufacturers’ roofing membranes. “If someone is doing a [major roofing manufacturer] job, we will offer them [major roofing manufacturer] galvanized flashing. If they want to use our drains out of TPO, they’re using the Thunderbird TPO. It is completely compatible, generic TPO.”

Thunderbird Product’s standard PVC and TPO cladded roofing products using Arvinyl PVC and TPO clad metal sheets are compatible with commercial roof membranes. Samples of Arvinyl clad metals for use in heat weld tests are available via Thunderbird Products and Arvinyl Laminates.

Carnick adds, “You guys are great. We never have any failures.”

Thunderbird Products offers a wide array of drains and roofing accessories in copper, stainless steel, and galvanized steel, as well as custom fabrication services. With its laserjet, three waterjets, and a team of forty employees, Thunderbird Products has the ability and know-how to tackle any fabrication project.

For more information on Thunderbird Products, visit, or phone (800) 658-2473.