The BSIA Magazine is the official publication of The Building Supply Industry Association of BC. They’ve included a profile of PinkWood in their Fall 2011 issue.
Centerfold in the BSIA Fall 2011 Magazine
Contents of article: Richard Dettbarn wasn’t about to interrupt his retirement without a very good reason. The Calgary based entrepreneur sold his I-Joist manufacturing operation in 2008. Unfortunately, this was just prior to the economic crisis and the company went bankrupt under the new owners.
A group of former employees approached Richard in January of 2010 to begin making I-joists again. The fact that there was only one producer of I-joists in Western Canada wasn’t enough for Dettbarn. “After 25 years in the business, doing the same thing again seemed like going backwards.” Richard says. “So I made them a conditional offer: If we can produce a superior product in Alberta that can sell for the same price as joists shipped in from Eastern Canada and the United States, I’m in.”
“We started talking about what ‘superior’ could mean,” Dettbarn explains, “looking at the issues that come up before, during, and after construction, and we identified two big factors – moisture and fire. Moisture gets into the joists and other lumber before and during the construction process. If it’s raining, snowing, or even foggy or humid, that moisture seeps into the wood and often isn’t dry before the building envelope is closed, sealing that moisture in. Then you get mold, fungus, and rot, creating an unhealthy and less durable home.
“The second big issue was fire. I-Joists are the structural support for the floor. When the I-Joists catch fire, the fire spreads quickly and pretty soon, the floor collapses. It’s a dangerous situation for families and for fire fighters,” Richard continues.
Dettbarn already owned a company that produced acrylic coatings with moisture protection. What if they combined that product with a fire retardant and coated the I-Joists with that compound? They tried it, tested it, and perfected it. The coating greatly reduced moisture absorption and when exposed to flame, created an insulating char that significantly slowed the time to ignition and decreased the rate at which the fire spread. They had indeed created a superior I-Joist which could be sold for the same price as un-protected joist.
Why pink? Richard wanted the new company to give back to the community and what better cause than to fight breast cancer. Richard got in touch with the Breast Cancer Foundation, who were delighted with the idea and Pinkwood was born. Pinkwood would definitely get attention.
“I was truly excited,” says Dettbarn. “The new company was making a big contribution to healthier, safer home, and at the same time, helping to prevent breast cancer. We’ve raised $21,000 so far this year.”
Dettbarn quickly realized that coating other building materials in addition to the I-Joists, would add even greater protection and could raise more money for the cause. Pinkwood’s product line was expanded to include coated OSB sheathing and lumber. State of the art I-Joist manufacturing and factory coating of fire rated sheathing is monitored by Warnock Hersey insuring consistent high quality products.