The Vinyl Siding Institute has released its who's who list of certified vinyl siding product lines, and there is at least one notable absence.
Inspectors put the stamp of approval on more than 200 brands from 15 producers, Washington-based VSI announced April 3. Each of those products can now display a special label certifying they meet the American Society of Testing and Materials D-3679 standard for vinyl siding.
But Columbus, Ohio-based Crane Plastics Co. chose to create its own certification program for its Vipco siding line rather than be part of VSI's effort. The company dropped out of VSI late last year.
``Crane believes that the VSI certification program fails to adequately focus on genuine performance-based criteria and, instead, seeks to create new standards that will lead to higher prices without improving product performance,'' the company stated in a news release.
``Crane believes that VSI's new certification standards will discourage future development of new and improved vinyl siding products. Crane is unwilling to allow its innovative abilities to be stifled for the benefit [of] an industry trade group dominated by ever fewer but larger competitors.''
Vinyl siding extruders that want their products certified by VSI must submit to inspections by Architectural Testing Inc., an independent laboratory based in York, Pa.
ATI tests the manufacturing process and products of certification candidates for weatherability, impact resistance, heat shrinkage and dimensional consistency.
Even after initial certification, product lines must survive two unannounced inspections per year to maintain their rating.
Crane Plastics uses another independent testing group — Radco Resources Applications Designs & Controls Inc. — to make sure its products meet the ASTM D3679 standard, company President Tanny Crane said in an April 8 telephone interview. Radco is a nonproducer member of VSI.
But other industry members say an individual company contracting with a testing laboratory on its own does not measure up to the VSI program.
``It's not the same thing,'' Richard Rowland, executive vice president of Jannock Inc.'s vinyl siding business, said.
``VSI's program gives true, third-party certification. It has teeth,'' Rowland said, emphasizing updated lists of certified producers are available to the public.
``It's a public hanging if you've been decertified,'' he said. ``You're put in the stockade in the middle of the town. There is tremendous pressure to do your job well.''
Crane said Radco also can conduct announced inspections — and can take away its own version of a certification label if Crane Plastic's siding products fail to meet ASTM D3679.
``Their reputation is at stake, too,'' she said.
There may seem to be little difference in the two methods, but VSI ``enhanced'' the ASTM standard's nominal thickness of the siding for its program, Crane said.
``There is no relationship between thickness and performance on a wall,'' she said. ``The VSI has taken an advertising stance instead of a scientific stance.''
The thickness of a siding profile is a main contributor to cost because more resin is needed to make the product thicker.
The split from VSI was not easy for Crane Plastics, which started producing the first vinyl siding 50 years ago, according to company literature.
``Crane Plastics had been a VSI member for over 20 years,'' Tanny Crane said. ``Our company had been a leader in that group. Dropping out was a hard decision. We do believe in that type of trade organization. We feel they just went down a separate path.''
Crane said her company also is investigating the possibility of creating another separate certification program for the industry.
``We're looking at a another trade organization,'' she said, referring to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association of Schaumburg, Ill. AAMA administers a certification for vinyl windows.
The AAMA staff member in charge of technical specifications was not available for comment before press time.
Companies with VSI-certified products include ABT Building Products Corp. of Neenah, Wis.; Alcoa Building Products of Sidney, Ohio; Alside Inc. of Akron, Ohio; CertainTeed Corp. of Valley Forge, Pa.; Gentek Building Products Inc. of Cleveland; the Bird, Heartland, and Master Shield business units of Jannock Inc. of Pittsburgh; North American Pipe Co. of Houston; the AmeriMark, Fabwel and Norandex divisions of Owens Corning of Toledo, Ohio; Rollex Corp. of Elk Grove Village, Ill.; Royal Group Technologies Inc. of Woodbridge, Ontario; and Variform Inc. of Kearney, Mo.
VSI does not announce companies that are trying to be certified, only those that are.
VSI formally announced the program in January during the International Builders Show in Dallas. The certification list will be updated every month and is available at VSI's Web site (www.vinyl siding.org) or by calling (888) 367-8741.
VSI is a division of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Washington.