LAS VEGAS — An increasing number of home builders and remodelers are turning to shakes, shingles, boards, battens and trim to dress up dwellings and they are going to have more choices in 2015 from a couple major manufacturers.
“The industry is recovering,” said Mark Orcutt, executive vice president of Royal Building Products. “People are building new homes and we're introducing new products and adding top-notch distribution partners. I think success breeds success and we have some momentum.”
Royal Building Products launched three additional profiles for its Celect Cellular Exteriors line of cellular PVC siding at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas last month. The new options are a 4-inch clapboard, 8-inch board and batten, and a 7-inch shake.
“The Celect line continues to grow and get people's attention. We're adding capacity,” Orcutt said, “It installs easily and although it's a higher price point than other siding products, it ought to be. It looks good.”
The Woodridge, Ontario-based company, which is part of Royal Group Inc. — the No. 3 ranked pipe, profile and tubing extruder in North America with $849.9 million in sales, according to Plastics News — also will bring a new line of vinyl siding called Royal Estate to the U.S. market in the spring.
Both Royal Estate and Celect are designed to replicate the look of wood without the maintenance, or as the company puts it be “what real wood aspires to be.”
“It's more of a wood-like siding than anything out else there out there,” Steve Booz, vice president of product development, said of Celect, which is available in 18 colors. “It has a nice flat face and the coating we have on there is going to last a long time.”
Royal Building Products also is putting out five new colors of its Portsmouth shake and shingles this year for cladding entire homes or providing design accents.
Competition heats up
Also at the show, Ply Gem Holdings Inc. announced it will be out with PVC shake and shingles and it will add onto its offerings of the cellular PVC trim it launched in 2013. The products are scheduled to be released in the second quarter, said Jerry Blais, senior vice president of marketing for Ply Gem Siding Group.
The No. 5 PPT extruder in the Plastics News' ranking with an estimated $750 million in sales, Ply Gem is releasing vinyl shake and shingles to offer products at a more affordable price than its thicker polypropylene line, Blais said. The 7-inch shingles, which are used for a more refined classic appearance, and the 9-inch shake, which is more rustic, will be manufactured with vacuum-formed technology.
“We go to market through a variety of brands,” Blais said. “This will be available in all of them — Mastic, Veriform, Georgia-Pacific, and more. Depending on the brand it will come in 19 to 30 colors.”
By his account, there's only one competitor with a similar product and that's Tapco Group, whose brands include Foundry Specialty Siding and Mid America.
“They're a dominant player in the space,” Blais said. “The difference will be we will offer four variegated colors with our film technology that allows us to get that cedar wood-grain look individuals want. It doesn't launch until June but we're already excited about this product as builders and contractors take advantage of the trend around multiple textures and profiles. A lot of times, on homes these days, you'll have horizontal siding, board and batten siding, a shake and stone.”
(Ply Gem has a line of stone made from cement that Blais said adds another dimension of texture and thickness.)
For the finishing touches, Ply Gem will release cellular PVC trim under the Mastic brand. It will come in white and can be painted.
“You can have great siding but the trim package makes all the difference in the world,” Blais said. “If you use cellular PVC trim you can get the look you want plus the other attributes.”
The other attributes — resilience and ease of maintenance — are a big part of the reason vinyl siding is the leading category in the United States, Blais added.
“There's a value proposition everyone loves,” he said. “How do we continue that? You can accomplish your goals of durability and low maintenance but you don't have to give up the aesthetic side.”