Gossen Corp. officials say an innovative addition to the firm's fledgling WeatherReady decking line is this month.
The Milwaukee-based cellular PVC trim and moldings extruder is working to build inventory for the new product, called Passport a dark-colored cellular PVC deck board that replicates actual wood grains by incorporating technology similar to that used in indoor wood-laminate flooring.
Passport is an addition to Gossen's WeatherReady cellular PVC decking, which it launched in spring 2007. It will be available nationwide, according to Gossen's executive vice president, Bob Simon.
The new deck board features a cellular PVC core, but has an acrylonitrile styrene acrylic cap stock to prevent scratching and color fading, Simon said in a telephone interview.
Making the boards is a three-step process. The cellular PVC core is coated with a solar-reflective cap stock. Then the board receives an actual wood-grain print, he said. Finally, another ASA layer is applied.
``It's an up-sell to where we are right now,'' Simon said.
Passport will cost about 10 percent more than the cellular PVC decking available today, he said.
There is a market for the darker colors and more realistic wood-grain patterns, said Steve Van Kouteren, a principal with Exton, Pa.-based building products consulting firm Principia Partners.
``As well as [Azek Building Products Inc.'s] Procell has done, and all of the followers to market, the color choice is limited,'' Van Kouteren said. ``If you're broadening color choice to appeal to the market that prefers a darker color, you've given them more reasons to look at these products, and opened up the market more,'' he said.
Van Kouteren said even at the higher price point, he expects darker colors to have success, if they live up to performance expectations.
``There's always that trade-off,'' he said. ``But you can certainly look at what Azek Deck has done in the market, with a premium price above everyone else, and has done quite well.
``Simple economics say some people will say it's too expensive, but I'm sure there's demand for it even at that price point.''