As materials improve, the race is on for market dominance.
When it comes to trim and siding, homeowners and production builders share a common desire: They want a material that’s durable and aesthetically pleasing and requires little maintenance. But when price enters the picture, the two groups split: Homeowners can accept higher prices for higher quality, while builders prefer to keep costs at a minimum.
This quality-versus-price tug-of-war is nothing new for the construction industry, but what is new is how emerging technologies can shift the balance one way or the other. With trim, the common trend from our Product Monitor last year was that PVC was gaining ground in a category still largely dominated by wood, as it provided the best durability and least maintenance, albeit with a higher price tag. Now, however, it looks as though PVC isn’t as hot as previously thought. “PVC is a high-end product, and builders want to maximize their bottom lines,” says Casey Olson, an industry analyst at Principia Consulting. “If durability and maintenance are comparable, builders, especially volume builders, will choose the cheaper product.”
Though PVC still wins outright on durability, especially in areas with moisture, Olson and others say warranties on treated wood are starting to become competitive. “Treated-wood products now offer an almost comparable warranty to PVC. And people like wood,” Olson says.
While wood trim continues to account for 53% of the $1.7 billion exterior trim market in the United States, wood-alternatives like cellular PVC, fiber cement and engineered wood continue to take share. The market remains evenly balanced between new construction and repair/ remodel.
Exterior trim is one of over 12 residential building product categories currently monitored through the Principia BuilderSeries® set of data products. A short list of 5 observations from our recent industry research is shown below:
- Prefinished wood trim products competing on performance, branded for market identity
- Fly ash composites making inroads against traditional incumbent trim products
- Specialty 1-step channel growing as distributors expand further into siding and trim
- Several cellular PVC trim producers now offering complementary cellular PVC siding products
- Expected rationalization based on acquisition of quality suppliers, exit by low margin producers
Exterior Trim Demand Overview – Principia DemandBuilder® Exterior Trim
The image above provides a high level snap shot of Principia’s data product DemandBuilder® Exterior Trim. DemandBuilder® subscribers have the ability to:
- Accurately measure current share and revenue potential
- Identify opportunities to pursue in sales territories
- Set benchmarks for business using comparative market data
To learn more about Principia’s data products or exterior trim market data please contact us today.
Wood trim still dominates the market, but PVC is steadily gaining ground
Wood is still king in the world of exterior trim—for now, at least. But a desire for low-maintenance and longer-lasting material means PVC is making strides in the market. Freedonia, a Cleveland-based research group, predicts demand nationwide for molding and trim will rise 5.5% annually by 2020 and boost the product segment’s value to $9.9 billion. “Wood will remain the top material for molding and trim, though competition from plastic and engineered wood is expected to intensify,” Freedonia notes.
The exterior trim and molding market is worth about $1.6 billion, estimates Loi McLoughlin, general manager of trim and molding at AZEK Building Products. Of that, about 20% is PVC-based products.
By Craig A Shutt, LBM Journal
The bulk of the market is located east of the Mississippi, with growing popularity the further east and north the markets are. “Cellular PVC trim originated in the Northeast as a low-maintenance alternative to wood trim, and the style of architecture in that region lent itself to this style,” explains Ply Gem’s Short. Labor costs also are higher, so customers were willing to pay more to avoid having to replace pieces. Royal’s Booz agrees. “PVC products are pretty well understood, if not used, by most builders. There’s less usage west of the Mississippi.”