OLYMPIC VALLEY, CALIF. — The American Architectural Manufacturers Association is poised to create a material-neutral standard for residential decking products, while plans by some AAMA members to create a similar standard for siding remain indefinite.
About 30 members with interests in the residential decking industry gathered June 15 for a meeting of AAMA's Exterior Deck Systems task group as part of AAMA's midyear meeting June 14-17 in Olympic Valley.
The task group reviewed a preliminary draft of a possible specification for ``Performance of Exterior Walking Surface Planking Systems.''
The draft addressed such areas as weight loading, dimensional stability, and traction.
Another draft specification dealt with railing for decks.
``If we write the standard it will be better for us and the industry as a whole,'' said task group Chairman Tom Andres of Pittsburgh-based Thermal Industries Inc. ``It will keep people from making junk.''
Still, getting a room full of contentious competitors to agree on something can be tough.
``I think the meeting went well,'' Andres said. ``We went from a motion to disband the whole group to everyone being on the same page.''
Members scheduled a July 28 meeting in Chicago to refine the documents. AAMA members also met as decking sub-task groups to tackle possible material-specific standards within the overall systems framework.
A similar group devoted to siding did not draw as many attendees, and even suffered some outright rejection.
But AAMA's Siding Producers Council plans to go ahead and solicit new members to help draw up a siding standard that would apply to aluminum, fiber cement, acrylic and other cladding products as well as vinyl.
In fact, the group proposed changing its name to the Cladding Producers Council to get away from some of the connotations the word siding brings.
``A neutral cladding specification should be developed,'' Art Korney, vice president of research for Crane Plastics Co. of Columbus, Ohio, said, adding that the measure could be a ``vehicle to introduce new cladding ideas to the marketplace.''
Korney said his company already has products that perform well, but don't meet the proscriptive elements of the standard vinyl siding specification: ASTM D3679.
A vinyl certification program started earlier this year by the Vinyl Siding Institute using ASTM D3679 inhibits innovation by being proscriptive, Korney said.
Crane last year split with VSI, a business unit of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Washington, over its vinyl-only certification program.
But at least two vinyl siding manufacturers expressed support for VSI over any effort AAMA might put forth.
Royal Group Technologies Inc. of Woodbridge, Ontario, and CertainTeed Corp. of Valley Forge, Pa., notified AAMA they would not participate in another siding standards group.
``They don't see a need to get involved in another siding certification program,'' Richard Walker, Eastern Region director for AAMA, said at the meeting. ``They are satisfied with VSI.''
But noting AAMA's success in creating a material-neutral standard for windows, Steve Sullivan, the association's executive vice president, said a siding standard makes sense.
``I can't imagine it doesn't work with other products,'' Sullivan said. ``We need to generate interest and move this thing forward.''
AAMA, based in Schaumburg, Ill., started as an aluminum standards association in the 1930s, but since has branched out to embrace other materials used in the fenestration industry — especially vinyl.
The 101/I.S.2-97 specification adopted jointly by AAMA and the National Wood Window and Door Association has become a model for how manufacturers of competing materials can create a unified set of performance tests.
The ``Voluntary Specification for Aluminum, Vinyl, (PVC) and Wood Windows and Glass Doors'' addresses performance areas — such as structural strength and storm resistance — that all windows should meet regardless of material.
Because some quality criteria are unique to certain materials, AAMA also maintains specifications for specific materials to be used in the group's certified windows.