CHICAGO (Oct. 28, 2:25 a.m. ET) — Determined to become a brand-name leader in decking, rail and siding — and not just a manufacturer of private-label products for those markets — Inteplast Group Ltd. has introduced its new TUF board siding.
The company wants to capitalize on the successful introduction a year ago of its TUF board decking and rail products.
“Our goal is to become one of the top three leading brands in the cellular PVC category,” said David DeRogatis, marketing manager of TUF Building Products for the Livingston, N.J., corporation.
Inteplast helped pioneer Synboard cellular PVC decking nearly 20 years ago, and the company made PVC decking for the private label market for five years prior to its introduction last fall of its own-branded TUF board decking. It still continues to supply the private-label market.
The TUF board siding line, unveiled at Deck Expo, held Oct. 12-14 in Chicago, has a patent-pending Inte-lock locking mechanism designed to minimize expansion and contraction of the product after it is installed. Boards horizontally lock into each other, enabling two boards, in appearance, to become one, the company said.
“There isn't a competing product on the market that interlocks the way it does,” DeRogatis said in an interview at Deck Expo. “The siding has the look of fiber cement or a natural beveled cedar product. It locks in almost a hidden fastening approach.”
Derogatis said the siding is being co-extruded in 15 colors to match regional market demands and is being manufactured at the company's giant eight-plant 700-acre manufacturing complex in Lolita, Texas.
“We had added new production lines for siding in a new building on that site,” he said.
Along with the new siding, Inteplast introduced eight new variegated [embossed] colors for its TUF board decking at Deck Expo.
“We have a total of 12 colors now,” DeRogatis said. “Most companies, at maximum, have four.”
He said the company has added a number of distributors since spring in order to facilitate the rollout of TUF board decking into nationwide distribution.
Sales of TUF board decking, in its initial year in the market, “exceeded industry growth,” DeRogatis said. He declined to discuss the specific sales level of the decking, which was introduced as the company's brand last fall after Inteplast reached a licensing agreement with CEVN Corp. of Somerset, N.J.
As part of that agreement, Inteplast also makes the CEVN brand, which is distributed in 19 northeastern states, and includes what the companies say is the industry's first dual-color, dual-sided decking product.
“We are using a proprietary capstock formulation unique in the market,” similar to what is used on automotive dashboards because of its ability to withstand harsh conditions, DeRogatis said. “These resins are very, very difficult to process, but our proprietary technology allows us to overcome those obstacles in manufacturing.”
He said that at this point Inteplast has no plans to exit its private label business. “We are keeping the two channels separate and independent,” DeRogatis said. “We won't exchange colors or embossing patterns” between the private-label and TUF board/CEVN brands.
DeRogatis said Inteplast added more extruders and production lines at the company's cellular PVC manufacturing plant in Lolita when it began selling the TUF board and CEVN brands last fall. Inteplast also makes TUF board trim, molding and fence products.
“We want to grow the distribution footprint for both decking and siding,” said DeRogatis. “We also want to drive consumer awareness of our brands” through consumer advertising and by utilizing social network sites.
DeRogatis said the biggest challenge facing Inteplast is “the market penetration that some cap [wood-plastic] composites have.”
“Cap composites are lower in prices, but we feel that they are not going to have the long-term performance cellular PVC products offer,” argued DeRogatis. “We also believe consumers are willing to pay for premium [decking and siding] products that have quality aesthetics and high performance, just like they do now when they are buying a car.”
Cellular PVC is PVC that has been extruded and whipped into a less-dense aerated foam that results in a material with a shiny hard surface that has the working characteristics and density of white pine.
As a result, it can be cut, milled, shaped and routed just like wood with normal woodworking tools.
TUF board and CEVN products both have a core of cellular PVC without fiber fillers. The absence of fiber fillers helps eliminate rotting, warping and water retention, according to Inteplast.
Inteplast is best known for its films — including biaxially oriented polypropylene film and stretch wrap — and bags such as can liners, retail and grocery bags, and food-service bags, as well as corrugated boards made from PP and polyethylene.