No doubt vinyl siding has critical mass when it comes to single-family housing. It has been the top cladding selected for newly built homes since 1994, giving it a 25-year reign after it took wall share from mostly aluminum and wood but also brick.
Of the 840,000 single-family dwellings constructed in 2018, vinyl siding was installed on 215,000, or 26 percent, compared to stucco on 25 percent, brick on 21 percent, fiber cement on 20 percent, wood on 5 percent and other materials like aluminum siding on 2 percent.
Vinyl siding is king of cladding again, although the crown has slipped from its peak of 40 percent of the distribution in 2002, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which releases figures about new housing every July in its survey of construction.
The U.S. residential siding market is valued at $7.3 billion as of 2018 and is expected to reach $8.2 billion in 2021, Casey Olson, an industry analyst at Prinicipia Consulting LLC, said in a phone interview.
But new construction is only part of the picture, she added, noting that vinyl siding also is a popular cladding in the expanding remodeling market, where its use outstrips new construction.
In 2018, spending on exterior and interior remodeling reached $172 billion and is expected to grow 1.6 percent this year and 1.1 percent in 2020, according to the National Association of Home Builders, a Washington-based trade group.
Homeowners looking to update their curb appeal tend to replace with like materials so that bodes well for vinyl siding, Olson said. Nowadays they have a wider selection of vibrant colors, smooth modern profiles and products engineered to withstand sunlight and winds of 210 mph, resist moisture and impact damage, and provide energy efficiency if insulated.
Prinicipia puts the size of the siding market in 2018 at 63 million squares. A square is equivalent to 100 square feet. The firm tracks 10 siding materials, which in descending order by volume are: vinyl, fiber cement, brick, engineered wood, wood, stucco, masonry, veneer, polymer composites and others like metal.
Overall, vinyl siding has 28 percent of the national volume, or just under 18 million squares, Olson said.
"We estimated over three-quarters of the demand for vinyl siding in the U.S. comes from the replacement market. That's one of the highest among materials," Olson said. "It works to vinyl's benefit to already be on so many houses. That's why competing materials sell against it."
The competition is playing out at manufacturing plants, builder shows, design conferences and state capitals as product innovations, material rivalries and home design restrictions have vinyl siding in both the limelight and the crosshairs. Everyone is vying for piece of the wall.
A big piece of the wall currently goes to Cornerstone Building Brands Inc., which includes Ply Gem and NCI Building Systems. With $2.1 billion in sales, Cornerstone ranks No. 2 among North American pipe, profile and tubing manufacturers, according to Plastics News' latest ranking.
Other major players are CertainTeed, Royal, AMI, Kaycan, Style Crest and Provia, which sells a lot to manufactured housing.