Vinyl is closing in on wood as the top window framing material, according to the latest figures from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association.
AAMA said vinyl continues to gain market share, and is expected to grow nearly four times faster than the overall market for window materials between 1990 and 2000.
1995 was a pivotal year in the industry, as vinyl windows surpassed aluminum in new constructions, and wood in remodeling and replacement applications. AAMA said vinyl will continue to pick up market share from wood and aluminum, growing fastest in new construction.
In total residential construction —combining both remodeling and new building—AAMA predicts vinyl will pass by wood in 1998—with 19.5 million units for vinyl and 18.2 million units for wood.
The statistics are contained in the annual ``Statistical Review and Forecast,'' co-published by AAMA, a trade association in Schaumburg, Ill., and the National Wood Window and Door Association of Des Plaines, Ill.
The report shows vinyl gaining market share each year, even as the total construction market for windows declines this year and in 1998. Vinyl windows grew by an estimated 20 percent in 1996, to 17.3 million units. Vinyl should grow another 6 percent in 1997 to hit 18.4 million. Meanwhile, wood grew 4.7 percent in 1996 to 22.1 million, but should decline to 20 million in 1997 and 18.2 million in 1998. Aluminum continues a steady decline.
Right now the AAMA report tracks those three framing materials, but in the future the trade group plans to expand into new materials, including pultruded composite windows and window frames that combine plastic and wood.
AAMA projections include:
New construction. Vinyl, for years a popular choice for replacement windows, began to crack the new-construction market in the late 1980s. Today, most vinyl extruders and fabricators have a line of windows for new homes.
In the category, vinyl reached 6.4 million units in 1996, up 33 percent from 4.8 million units in 1995. AAMA thinks vinyl will grow another 15.6 percent in 1997 to hit 7.4 million. By 2000 vinyl should equal wood in new homes, each with about 10 million units. Wood will decline from its 1996 peak of 12.5 million units.
Remodeling. Last year, the report predicted that vinyl would decline a bit in 1996 and 1997, but now AAMA number-crunchers are more optimistic. The report said vinyl remodeling windows totaled 10.9 million units in 1996, up 13.5 percent from 9.6 million in 1995. Vinyl will level off in 1997 to 11 million units before resuming its climb.
The study also examines other products, including entry doors, skylights and storm windows and doors.
In entry doors, AAMA does not expect much growth in glass-fiber-reinforced composite doors. Steel will continue its entry-door dominance, gaining market share through the year 2000, when steel will account for 78 percent of the 13.8 million front doors sold. Composite doors will slip from 3 percent of the market in 1996 to 2 percent in 2000. Wood will account for 20 percent.
Skylights are an important market for some plastics, such as acrylic for glazing. AAMA does not break out separate materials. But the report said 1,640 skylights were installed in 1996, a 2.5 percent increase over 1,600 in 1995. In 1997, the number should dip again to 1,600.