Start-up company Kleer Lumber LLC is focusing on getting professional builders to use PVC trim board in place of wood.
The company is setting up two profile extrusion lines in an 80,000-square-foot leased facility in Westfield, Mass., said President Thomas E. Loper. He would not elaborate on the actual cost, but noted that the two lines cost millions. Add five silos, about 15 employees and other start-up costs, the entry fee to the market is substantial.
Loper said PVC currently has about 2 percent of the trim business - most of the rest is wood.
``The market is new and only getting established. It is growing fast enough to be interesting for us,'' he said.
Loper said new employees are being hired, with the plan to start operations in September and to be fully operational by the end of the year.
``We're basically [selling product] all over North America, but we focus where wooden homes are being built,'' said Loper, noting that the company was started last year as a distributor, but is now taking on manufacturing as well.
He said that professionals can use the PVC lumber in 18 and 20 foot lengths as replacement for clear cedar. It can be used, cut or painted like wood trim - although the PVC version does not have to be painted.
The trademarked Kleer line is made as trim boards, molding and sheet stock.
Loper said that the product will be sold through premium lumber yards.
In the past, the company has imported from a supplier overseas, who Loper would not reveal. He plans to continue importing some product.
Kleer is a spinoff from New England Specialties Inc. of West Springfield, Mass., a manufacturer and wholesaler of building products since 1988. That company is run by Andrew Sears, who along with Loper, George Lantz and a fourth unnamed person, are partners in the new venture.