CLOPAY EXHIBITS SMC GARAGE DOORS

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HOUSTON — Plastics continued to make inroads into the garage door market at the Builders' Show, with Cincinnati-based Clopay Building Products Co. showing a door made of sheet molding compound.

Clopay normally uses steel, the dominant garage door material. But SMC composites gives the look of wood to the company's Series 7000. The doors can be painted or stained.

Tests show the doors can withstand impacts of baseballs hurled at 90 miles per hour, according to Clopay.

Patricia Lohse, Clopay director of market development, said the new door ``marks a new generation of garage doors. They provide an elegance that was previously available only in top-of-the-line wood doors.''

Heavy-duty steel supports the doors.

``We used our steel technology combined with our fiberglass technology,'' Lohse said at the Houston trade show.

Clopay is offering two models. The 7200 has foamed polystyrene insulation and a steel interior surface. The 7400 has a polyurethane core and composite skins on both inside and outside.

An outside company, which Clopay did not identify, molds the composite door parts.

Vinyl also has entered the garage door industry. Overhead Door Corp. of Dallas makes a door using vinyl profiles and sheet supplied by Royal Plastics Group Ltd. of Toronto.