Test Plan: Distributor samples unique new decking on his own home

As a longtime building material distributor, Steve Rhone figured he was familiar with most types of decking on the market. But he was so impressed with one versatile new product that he not only used it for his own deck, he agreed to distribute it to his customers.
Rhone, the president of Weston Forest Products in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, lives in a 20-year-old custom home about 45 minutes north of Toronto. It had a large wood-plastic composite deck off the back, terraced into three sections at different levels.
“The original owner of the house was behind one of the first composite decking companies, and he used their product mix,” Rhone says. “It was a real showpiece, extending all around the backyard. It had a three-tiered, angled-patterned deck that looked beautiful, but functionally it was not as great. And after 19 years in the field, it was starting to look pretty tired.”
He and his wife considered resurfacing the old structure, but ultimately opted for a new design. After researching a number of builders, they settled on The Deck Store, Oakville, Ontario. Among the wares on display at the installer/retailer’s showroom was a unique product that was produced locally by Tiva Building Products and just sneaking into the market.
Rhone recalls, “We were looking for something that was very durable, and fade and crack resistant—something that wasn’t going to be guilty of the shortcomings of the earlier product. My wife picked out three different pieces—and all three were Tiva products.”
Most composite makers now offer a capstock line, covering their WPC core with an all-plastic outer layer. Tiva has gone one better—capping its PVC core with ASA (acrylic-styrene-acrylonitrile), a tough, rigid plastic known for its heat resistance, color retention, and weatherability.
Tiva’s originators, Rhone explains, “went looking for a proven technology, something that provided greater durability, fade resistance, and richer colors. They ended up stealing a little bit of technology from the automobile industry, which conquered these problems decades ago. Remember the car dashboards of the 1980s, which used to fade, crack and split? The difference today is the development of ACS plastics.”
Tivadek was developed about four years ago, but just secured North American distribution this year—through Weston in Canada, and Sherwood Lumber in the Northeastern U.S. The decking is extruded and molded in China from North American plastics and resins.
The Rhones selected medium-gray decking with black borders (Tiva was the only textured black they could find). They approved a simplified, 1,200-sq. ft. deck design, squaring the edges and creating a single level with clean, straight lines. It is framed by aluminum railing from Ultra Aluminum Manufacturing.
The project, completed last fall, took about three months. The extended build time came in adding a louvered roof system and having to relocate one of the support systems for the canopy so it didn’t block a window. As well, the hot tub had to be moved over about five feet.
The result: a new showplace that will not only last a lifetime, but will look good doing it.

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