Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning Corp. will acquire the WearDeck composite decking division of JR Plastics Corp. to strengthen its position in the building and construction market and help it grow sales to $10 billion by 2024.
WearDeck boards are extruded from high density polyethylene reinforced with Owens Corning glass fiber at JR Plastics' headquarters and manufacturing site in Ocala, Fla. The division employs about 100.
Owens Corning is acquiring the WearDeck business and associated assets, but not the facility. The acquirer will assume a third-party lease of the building and portions of the real estate.
WearDeck sales are expected to reach $60 million in 2022 and to significantly grow in the coming years, according to a news release about the deal. The purchase is set to close in the second quarter.
Owens Corning sales are up, too, by 20 percent to $8.5 billion in 2021 for its three business units: insulation, roofing and composite products. Company officials see the acquisition of a composite decking manufacturer as a good way to continue the trend.
The North American decking market is valued at more than $7 billion and will grow about 5 percent per year, according to Owens Corning estimates. Composite decking products capture about 30 percent of this market.
Owens Corning Composites President Marcio Sandri said the company is pivoting to focus on "high-value material solutions within the building and construction space." Right now the company offers ready-to-be-spun rovings, nonwovens and binder technology for window lineals, flooring, ceilings, wall coverings and insulation.
"WearDeck brings exciting opportunities to further leverage our building materials expertise and glass-fiber material science technology to significantly expand our current addressable markets," Sandri said.
WearDeck is produced with HDPE reinforced with fiberglass and a proprietary blend of additives — pigments, stabilizers and UV and static inhibitors — for strength and durability. The product does not use recycled HDPE, nor organic materials like wood.
The boards are twice as strong as the competition, the website says, and are rated for ground contact and underwater applications, which opens the door to more building opportunities.
WearDeck boards come in eight colors and profiles for marine, residential, commercial and municipal applications. Two sizes of the boards are rated for use as understructure, which means completely wood-free projects are possible.
Owens Corning can take WearDeck to the next level, according to founder James Wear.
"I am very pleased with WearDeck's strong performance over the years and would like to sincerely thank our highly motivated team for their dedication and hard work to build a thriving composite decking business," Wear said in the release. "The combination with Owens Corning will accelerate the growth of this business and greatly benefit our customers."
Wear has been selling the composite decking bearing his name for three years, according to his LinkedIn page. Before that, he worked for a year as a production analyst at JR Plastics, which was preceded by a four-month stint as the company's marketing coordinator.
JR Plastics remains in business and after the acquisition closes will continue to operate other product divisions for corner boards and plastic sheeting. The corner boards, which are made from 100 percent recycled HDPE, were developed in 1996 for the banana industry's shipping needs.
Terms of the WearDeck deal were not disclosed.