by Nick Cunningham
December 16, 2016
As the housing market in the US continues to strengthen, homebuilders are searching for ways to set their properties apart. One cost-effective method is the inclusion of decorative exterior trim. These products facilitate the visual transition between windows, doors, and siding, and are being manufactured to be more aesthetically pleasing and durable.
As exterior trim is increasingly used, sales of products made from plastic materials are especially well positioned to benefit. Historically, wood was the preferred material type because it was less expensive and better looking than plastic. However, plastic trim manufacturers have steadily been working to narrow the gap in aesthetic quality between materials.
Plastic exterior trim is also growing in popularity due to its durability. As homebuilders and homeowners increasingly focus on using more durable building materials, plastic exterior trim will benefit due to its rot resistance and ability to prevent moisture and insect damage. More and more consumers are willing to overlook the higher price point of plastic molding and trim products.
Large building materials manufacturers such as Ply Gem and Westlake Chemical have already expanded their offerings of plastic molding and trim products to take advantage of this trend. For example, in 2014 Ply Gem acquired SimEx, a vinyl and PVC foam extrusion operation, in order to grow its plastic molding and trim line. In June 2016, Westlake Chemical bought Axiall, a major manufacturer of vinyl building products including molding and trim.
While the decision of these companies to expand their plastic molding and trim product lines was initially done because they thought the appeal of plastic was due to its attractive look and low maintenance requirements, the increased focus on durability will further boost demand for these products.
For more information about this and other trends in the US molding and trim industry, check out The Freedonia Group’s Industry Study Molding & Trim in the US, which offers:
Nick Cunningham is an Industry Analyst at The Freedonia Group where he covers the US and global construction and building products industries.
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