Plastic registers and grilles are becoming increasingly popular in Canada, where contractors have been looking for reasonably priced products that work well and are of a consistent quality. The United States has been slower to hop onto the plastic bandwagon, but manufacturers say there is increasing interest in that market as well.
"Our plastic registers and grilles are scratch-resistant, unlike many metal products," said Ray Gatt, vice president of sales and marketing - HVAC, Decor Grates Inc., Toronto.
"Metal products are notoriously susceptible to scratching and denting, and many contractors end up with a lot of products they can't use because they've been damaged in this way. Plastic products are much more difficult to damage."
Another reason why contractors and builders may prefer the standard metal registers and grilles is simply tradition: They've always used metal products, they've worked well for them, and they don't want to change.
By introducing plastic registers and grilles, Gatt said his company came up with something that is more consistent, of a higher quality, has a better range, doesn't rust, and is less susceptible to damage. Best of all, these new products are less expensive than their metal counterparts, he said, noting that the steel market has been extremely volatile during the past two years.
Indoor pools are an-other application in which plastic products do well, because they don't rust as metal products in this environment can. "We're also finding our plastic products are moving into factory-built homes, trailers, boats, horse trailers, and truck cabs," said Gatt.
In addition to being scratch resistant, plastic registers and grilles provide excellent air distribution, and they are easy to clean.
Plastic grilles and registers are also resistant to mold and mildew and can be put in the dishwasher for cleaning.
"The registers or grilles will last the lifetime of a home unless an individual wants to get into something more of a decorative nature, and we make those available as well," said Gatt.
Gatt hopes home builders will include the company's many registers and grilles in design centers as well - or at least that contractors will offer customers register options they may not have considered before.
"Cost is not an issue, because plastic is less expensive than metal. We just need to have the contractor get our product in front of the builder or the homeowner."
Given the benefits of using plastic registers and grilles, it probably won't be too much longer before these products are just as popular as metal in the United States.
Publication date: 12/06/2004