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terça-feira, 13 de março de 2012

Composite Manufacturers Roll Out New Decking

By Karen Debats
BPD-Building Products Digest

As deck season approaches, manufacturers of composite deck boards are introducing new products-or expanding and improving old ones. 

Advanced Environmental Technologies Inc. is the proud parent of NanoShield, the first composite deck board to incorporate nanotechnology.  The Springdale, Ar., company developed the new product in partnership with NanoMech, Fayetteville, Ar. The process bonds inorganic nanoparticles to treated wood particles to form a durable shell of similar composition. 

"We believe nanotechnology will be one of the next technology leaders for this industry," says chairman and c.e.o. Joe Brooks. "AERT's NanoShield board will represent a game-changing product with unmatched performance and characteristics." 

Brent Gwatney, vice president of sales and marketing for AERT's MoistureShield brand, says that NanoShield will be a "high-end product that will look more like wood. It will be something to compete with cellular PVC and capstock composites." 

Tamko Building Products, Joplin, Mo., plans to introduce a new compression-molded deck board that is capped on three sides, but details have not been released. However, industry sources believe that the new product will be christened Envision, the same name used in 2009 for a PVC deck board that failed to gain significant market share.

The new product will be produced using Tamko's compression-molding manufacturing process-already used for the company's EverGrain composite decking-which experts say gives boards a deeper grain and texture than composite boards that are injection-molded. 

Armadillo Deck is the latest offering from Master Mark Plastics, Albany, Mn., which also produces Rhino Deck. The composite boards are made from a proprietary mix of wood pulp and recycled, high-density polyethylene plastics, then fully wrapped with a tough polyethylene coating to resist fading, weathering, scratching, stains, and mildew. Available colors are painted desert, canyon gray, Sedona, and driftwood, with wood grain on both sides.

Trex, Winchester, Va., recently introduced Enhance composite decking, which is positioned between its Transcend and Accents lines. Like Transcend, Enhance has a three-sided shell that protects against staining, fading, mold, rot, cracks and splinters. Available in two colors-clam shell and beach dune-it's manufactured from 95% recycled content, including reclaimed wood, sawdust and plastic bags.

"Enhance will both expand and strengthen our high-performance decking portfolio and provide consumers with a composite product that features a multitude of innovative features," says Ronald W. Kaplan, chairman, president and c.e.o. "We're establishing a clear 'good, better, best' decking line-up, which allows consumers to select the ideal product to meet their outdoor living needs."
TimberTech, Wilmington, Oh., has added three new colors-brick, slate and brownstone-to its new Earthwood Evolutions collection. Featuring proprietary HydroLock technology, the line is the company's first fully capped composite decking product, with a flat-grain surface that doesn't trap dirt and a consistent variegated color for the look of hardwood.  

"The success of Earthwood Evolutions exceeded even our expectations, but we knew that customers were looking for a product with increased scratch, stain and fade resistance coupled with unmatched aesthetics," says product manager Toby Bostwick. "The collection brings the same high performance qualities with a color palette that offers customers a more traditional choice."

Universal Consumer Products, Grand Rapids, Mi., is unveiling the next generation of co-extruded composite decking under its Latitudes Capricorn and Captiva brands. The new product has a more natural looking, realistic grain pattern that is resistant to scratches, stains and fading. 

"The new cap stock we've employed is highly durable and proven in many exterior applications," says sales manager Geoffrey Meyer. "Builders, d-i-yers, and homeowners will appreciate its great looks and exceptional performance." 

ProTekt capped composite deck boards from Fiberon, New London, N.C., are now offered in four colors: two solids, canyon brown, and harbor gray, and two multi-chromatics, chestnut and gray birch. Each board has a rigid core that is encased on three sides with a patent-pending, non-organic surface material that is resistant to staining, fading, scratches, and mold.

"The best aesthetics in alternative decking products drive market demand," says marketing director Edie Kello. "Fiberon offers homeowners innovative, low maintenance products that retain their beauty for years and enhance their quality of life and the value of their homes."

Natures Composites, Torrington, Wy., mixes recycled milk jugs with wheat straw cellulose to produce TerraDeck composite decking in three grades: standard, premium, and ultimate. All three contain 94% recycled content and 6% non-toxic adhesive. 

Formerly known as Heartland BioComposites, the company is now owned by the RRM Composites investment group, which stepped in when Heartland went bankrupt and closed its doors after defaulting on loans of more than $5 million. Current vice president Heath Van Eaton founded the company and developed the products, which recently received building certification from ICC Evaluation Services, a subsidiary of the International Code Council.

"The market's been soft, but this year is looking much better," said Kim Boos, national sales and marketing manager. "We are priced 15-20% less than traditional wood-plastic composites, and we have a green story that resonates with people."