Vinyl siding came in second again to stucco among the primary types of exterior wall materials put on new U.S. single-family houses in 2020.
Even though the number of houses built increased to 912,000 — up from 903,000 in 2019 — little else changed in this year's survey of construction by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Once again, stucco clad 27 percent of the new houses compared with 25 percent for vinyl siding, which had enjoyed a 25-year run as the top exterior material until 2019.
Fiber cement remained the third-most-popular exterior wall material, gaining a percent of use to 22 percent of new homes while brick remained in the fourth spot, dropping a percent to 19 percent.
The fifth-most-popular material, wood, has been installed on 5 percent of new homes since 2013. And other materials, such as concrete block, stone and aluminum siding, were used as the primary material on 2 percent of newly built homes.
Use of vinyl siding peaked in 2002, when it was the primary material installed on 40 percent of 1.325 million new houses for single families.
Depending on the area, vinyl siding is growing at or just below the market average so the rate of its share erosion has slowed, according to Casey Olson, a senior industry analyst at Principia Consulting LLC.
The Malvern, Pa.-based firm puts vinyl siding's share of exterior wall space by volume in 2020 at just over 27 percent, taking into account installations as a primary, secondary and replacement material, the latter of which includes the hot home remodeling market.
By volume, vinyl siding still leads among exterior materials, followed in descending order by fiber cement, engineered wood, brick, stucco, wood, masonry veneer, polymer composites and others, Olson told Plastics News.
"Vinyl's share erosion is expected to slow slightly through 2023 as remodeling and construction activity pick up in the Midwest and Northeast," she added. "Vinyl has [a] strong share in these regions."
To maintain and increase installations, vinyl siding manufacturers have been introducing new colors, profiles and composites as well as addressing environmental issues related to its recyclability and sustainability.
A pilot program called the Northeast Ohio Vinyl Siding Recycling Coalition was launched this month to increase post-consumer recycling of the building product in Cuyahoga County, according to Matt Dobson, vice president of the Vinyl Siding Institute, an Alexandria, Va.-based trade group.
"We're trying to get our manufacturers and their distributors to work in concert with recyclers in this area, which has both strong industry and strong recycling programs," Dobson said in a phone interview. "We will do this for a year and what we learn may become a model to show how people are successfully working together."
The manufacturers most involved in the coalition include some of the biggest companies in the industry: Cornerstone Building Brands Inc. (formerly PlyGem), CertainTeed Corp. and Alside Inc.
With $2.29 billion in profile extrusion sales, Cary, N.C.-based Cornerstone ranks No. 2 among North American plastic pipe, profile and tubing extruders.
Malvern, Pa.-based CertainTeed ranks No. 7 with estimated extrusion sales of $700 million.
And Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based Associated Materials LLC, the parent company of Alside, ranks 15th with estimated extrusion sales of $335 million.