Best in Class: The Survey Says!

Custom Builder magazine’s annual Best in Class survey takes a look at the top manufacturers in the building industry and rates them on awareness, use and preference of their products.

November 01, 2007
Sidebars:
How it Works
Noteworthy observations about this year's survey


Therma-Tru - Named Best Entry Door

The 2007 Best in Class survey for Custom Builder put the microscope on brand awareness, use and preference of the products from top building industry manufacturers. Those products named Best in Class rated highest in preference these categories.

Our respondents were plucked at random from the magazine's readership and completed our survey between Aug. 22 and Sept. 17. The competition among manufacturers is fiercer and the products are getting smarter, greener and cheaper, resulting in tighter margins. Take a look at the middle of each product category to see how close the brands are nipping at each other's heels.


Trex - Named Best Decking product.


Overhead Door - Ranked highest in awareness, use and preference for garages.


James Hardie - Ranked best in use and preference among siding manufacturers.

A total 381 custom builders and designers completed the e-mail survey. The respondents identified the products they evaluate, recommend, specify, approve or purchase for use in the homes they build or design. To minimize respondent fatigue (and to make it easier on our research department) each survey participant was asked brand questions for no more than six products for which he or she has purchased. Following are the results of 2007's Best In Class survey.

Aware Used (Past 18 mos.) Prefer
Brick & Stone Total (Base) 119 108 108
Owens Corning 79% 51% 37%
Eldorado Stone 57% 31% 16%
Boral Bricks 42% 22% 12%
Hanson Bricks 24% 12% 5%
Decking Total (Base) 114 112 112
Trex 79% 61% 40%
Georgia-Pacific 53% 18% 8%
CertainTeed 46% 12% 9%
Weyerhaeuser 46% 11% 4%
TimberTech 30% 11% 7%
Entry Doors Total (Base) 150 147 147
Jeld-Wen 82% 33% 14%
Pella 79% 24% 9%
Therma-Tru 79% 56% 39%
Marvin 75% 20% 6%
Peachtree 71% 10% 3%
Simpson 47% 10% 6%
Garage Doors Total (Base) 128 125 125
Overhead Door 77% 50% 39%
Wayne-Dalton 63% 32% 17%
Clopay 59% 22% 16%
Jeld-Wen 50% 10% 4%
Amaar 17% 10% 9%
Housewrap Total (Base) 134 134 134
Tyvek 96% 77% 69%
Typar 57% 22% 6%
Owens Corning 52% 11% 5%
Insulation Total (Base) 117 115 115
Owens Corning 94% 72% 48%
CertainTeed 66% 33% 10%
Dow Styrofoam 65% 30% 3%
Johns Manville 61% 25% 6%
Interior Doors Total (Base) 138 133 133
Masonite 83% 56% 34%
Jeld-Wen 81% 44% 26%
Pella 57% 20% 10%
Peachtree 52% 13% 6%
Exterior Molding Total (Base) 122 117 117
James Hardie 70% 47% 24%
Azek Trimboards 66% 38% 21%
Fypon 66% 37% 15%
Georgia-Pacific 57% 20% 5%
CertainTeed 56% 20% 6%
Interior Molding Total (Base) 145 131 131
Georgia Pacific 52% 27% 16%
Fypon 52% 28% 9%
Azek Trimboards 48% 27% 7%
CertainTeed 43% 20% 8%
James Hardie 39% 22% 4%
Roofing Total (Base) 130 128 128
CertainTeed 79% 44% 18%
GAF 76% 38% 16%
Owens Corning 72% 34% 13%
Georgia-Pacific 65% 15% 5%
Timberline 59% 23% 7%
Johns Manville 57% 8% 0%
Elk 55% 26% 19%
Siding Total (Base) 134 133 133
CertainTeed 78% 36% 12%
James Hardie 74% 51% 38%
Georgia-Pacific 67% 21% 6%
Alcoa 66% 16% 5%
Windows Total (Base) 157 157 157
Andersen 94% 50% 22%
Pella 92% 36% 15%
Marvin 83% 27% 13%
Jeld-Wen 83% 29% 6%

 

How it Works

The respondents represented an interesting mix of builders. Of those surveyed, 51 percent reported building under five custom homes valued at $400,000 or more (excluding the cost of land) in a year, and 29 percent built 10 or more homes last year.

For each product, respondents were presented with a list of brands and manufacturer names and were asked three questions:

  1. Of the brands/manufacturers listed, which are you aware of?
  2. Which of these brands/manufacturers has your company used in the past 18 months?
  3. Which one is your preferred brand/manufacturer?

Owens Corning - The pink stuff is still the top dog in the insulation market.

Noteworthy observations about this year's survey

  • Awareness and preference of manufactured stone tops the brick and stone category, 44 percent of custom builders report using Owens Corning's Cultured Stone in the past 18 months.
  • In decking, composite board manufacturer Trex holds a distinct advantage in brand awareness, use and preference. Georgia-Pacific holds a solid second place in use and awareness.
  • Entry doors is an extremely competitive category. Few of the major manufacturers enjoy a commanding lead over their competitors. Therma-Tru doors, interestingly, ranks slightly behind others in awareness, yet 56 percent of those surveyed reported using a Therma-Tru entry door.
  • The garage door market is competitive, too. Manufacturers have been stepping up style and durability in their products, such as carriage style doors. Half of our respondents used overhead doors on the job within the past year and a half.
  • It's safe to say Tyvek still has the housewrap segment all wrapped up, with nearly all of those surveyed reporting brand awareness and more than ¾ reporting using the venerable product. Typar and Owens Corning housewrap products, in second and third place respectively, still hold significant market share.
  • The siding market has seen tremendous innovation in recent years; most major players have released reformulated or new products. Partnerships with paint giants such as Sherwin-Williams are common. More than half of our custom builders used James Hardie's siding products in the past 18 months.
  • Windows are probably the first thing your customers are concerned with. Andersen Windows & Doors and Pella are locked tightly in awareness, with Andersen being specified and used slightly more often. Marvin and Jeld-Wen are dead-even in awareness and use as well.
  • R-values are a chief concern among homeowners. Although newer alternative-material insulation products have hit the market, Owens Corning's old-fashioned "pink stuff" enjoys the highest awareness, use and preference.
  • According to our research, higher wind resistance, greater durability and decades-long guarantees are the hallmarks of the latest roofing products. CertainTeed, GAF and Owens Corning snag most use in the field, but innovation is high and the competition is fierce as more manufacturers have entered the fray in recent years.

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