Fortress producing bamboo


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May 22, 2023

Fortress producing bamboo

Garland, Texas-based Fortress Building Products quietly entered the wood-plastic composites decking market in 2016 with a coextruded bamboo-capped board that it says is 40 percent lighter yet twice as

Garland, Texas-based Fortress Building Products quietly entered the wood-plastic composites decking market in 2016 with a coextruded bamboo-capped board that it says is 40 percent lighter yet twice as strong as the competition.

Three years later, the privately held company has ramped up U.S. and Canadian promotion of what it describes as a first-of-its-kind WPC decking for residential and commercial uses.

Called Infinity I-Series, the capped decking has a core made from 55 percent renewable bamboo fiber and 35 percent recycled polyethylene, according to an online technical guide. The company says replacing basic wood fillers with bamboo improves moisture resistance and structural properties, such as durability and longevity.

The Infinity line of decking is grooved lengthwise to both hide fasteners and give the boards an I-beam shape that company officials say adds to its strength.

"We are excited for builders and contractors to see the Infinity I-Series Decking line in action," Toby Bostwick, vice president of product and brand for Fortress Building Products, said in a news release. "This revolutionary design incorporates the historically proven I-beam shape, which is uniquely capable of handling heavy loads; the result leading to the creation of the highest performing deck board to hit the market."

The Infinity brand of decking was developed about 10 years ago by Eva-Last of Johannesburg, South Africa. The technical guide says the niche of bamboo-plastic composites came about after "the introduction of well-known North American manufactured composite decking had led to numerous product failures in the harsh South African environment."

Infinity was designed to offer improved heat dissipation and increased slip resistance in addition to higher moisture resistance, but it can withstand a range of environmental conditions, according to the technical guide.

Founded in 2008, Eva-Last also offers other building products like indoor flooring, cladding, railing, fasteners and support systems.

Eva-Last had been selling Infinity decking in Africa, the Middle East and Europe until Fortress started introducing the bamboo-plastic composite in North America for backyard entertainment areas, commercial developments, mountain lodges and ocean marinas.

In 2016, sales were mostly limited to Colorado. The decking line was rolled out next to most of the central U.S. through three distributors in 2017. The following year, Fortress expanded to Canada when a retail lumber yard supplier in Ontario began distribution to complement its suite of residential and marine decking.

Infinty decking and other Fortress Building Products are manufactured near Dallas at a 400,000-square-foot facility on a 10-acre campus with offices and 130,000 square feet of warehousing.

Fortress says bamboo flour and PE pellets are mixed and processed with significant amounts of heat and pressure to form the composite material. Earth-tone colors are then blended in and the boards are embossed on two sides with different grain patterns for either a distressed or natural appearance.

In addition to Fortress Deck, the company has business units called Fortress Railing Products, Fortress Fence Products, Ozco Building Products and Fortress Framing, which serve residential, multifamily and commercial building markets.

Fortress Building Products made the 2018 list of the Dallas Business Journal for the 50 fastest-growing middle-market companies in the North Texas area. The list includes private and public companies with annual sales between $25 million and $750 million.

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