Professional Builder's Annual Best in Class Survey Results

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Professional Builder’s annual “Best in Class” survey profiles the products and manufacturers our readers from all over the U.S. use and recommend. Included is data on entry doors, windows, siding and more.

December 01, 2007
Survey Methodology
Noticeable Trends

Professional Builder's 2007 Best in Class product survey turned up some

surprising results. The competition among manufacturers is tight. After all, once builders find a product they like they tend to stick with it.

Although the industry product giants top most of the categories, the survey should give some of the larger producers some concern. There are upstarts in several categories, and in others, the leading manufacturer only has a small margin of market share ahead of its competitors — a testament to the realities of today's downturn as builders are looking for better deals and newer products to help keep them in the black.

Like the other Best in Class surveys conducted by our sister publications Custom Builder and Professional Remodeler, respondents were plucked at random from the magazine's readership and completed our survey between Aug. 22 and Sept.17. Those surveyed include builders, architects and producers of manufactured or modular homes.

A total 504 builders and architects 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, each survey participant was asked brand questions for no more than six products for which he or she has purchased. The results of 2007's Best in Class survey can be found on the following page.

Aware Used (Past 18 mos.) Prefer
Brick and Stone
Total (Base) 253 231 231
Owens Corning 79% 48% 33%
Eldorado Stone 54% 24% 16%
Boral Bricks 35% 20% 13%
Hanson Bricks 23% 9% 6%
Total (Base) 230 226 226
Trex 74% 52% 40%
Georgia-Pacific 51% 19% 9%
CertainTeed 47% 9% 6%
Weyerhaeuser 43% 11% 7%
Entry Doors
Total (Base) 302 297 297
Jeld-Wen 81% 29% 13%
Pella 77% 26% 10%
Therma-Tru 76% 50% 37%
Marvin 70% 16% 6%
Peachtree 67% 9% 4%
Garage Doors
Total (Base) 264 257 257
Overhead Door 77% 44% 35%
Wayne-Dalton 61% 30% 19%
Clopay 58% 27% 19%
Jeld-Wen 48% 9% 5%
Total (Base) 259 257 257
Tyvek 95% 79% 70%
Owens Corning 53% 12% 5%
Typar 47% 17% 5%
Total (Base) 255 250 250
Owens Corning 93% 75% 51%
CertainTeed 69% 32% 10%
Johns Manville 64% 30% 10%
Dow Styrofoam 59% 25% 4%
Interior Doors
Total (Base) 268 257 257
Jeld-Wen 78% 42% 28%
Masonite 74% 49% 31%
Pella 59% 19% 11%
Peachtree 52% 11% 5%
Exterior Moulding
Total (Base) 224 215 215
James Hardie 62% 37% 18%
Fypon 59% 29% 13%
Azek Trimboards 58% 33% 21%
Georgia-Pacific 56% 25% 11%
CertainTeed 54% 21% 7%
Interior Moulding
Total (Base) 256 227 227
Georgia Pacific 56% 27% 16%
Fypon 48% 22% 7%
Azek Trimboards 45% 24% 7%
CertainTeed 44% 16% 6%
James Hardie 34% 20% 7%
Total (Base) 265 262 262
CertainTeed 79% 39% 19%
Owens Corning 73% 34% 13%
GAF 72% 32% 14%
Georgia-Pacific 63% 12% 4%
Timberline 56% 20% 7%
Johns Manville 51% 6% 0%
Elk 51% 26% 18%
Tamko 44% 17% 6%
Total (Base) 266 264 264
CertainTeed 76% 35% 14%
James Hardie 76% 50% 37%
Alcoa 66% 18% 6%
Georgia-Pacific 65% 17% 4%
Owens Corning 58% 13% 2%
Weyerhaeuser 55% 8% 2%
Lousiana-Pacific 48% 6% 2%
Total (Base) 302 302 302
Andersen 94% 46% 23%
Pella 93% 36% 16%
Jeld-Wen 83% 27% 7%
Marvin 82% 22% 10%
This table shows the products each builder was asked to rank in terms of awareness, use and preference. The bold items denote the top percentage earner in the preference category.


Survey Methodology

The respondents represented builders from all segments of the home building industry. Of those surveyed, 67 percent of production builders reported building 10 or fewer homes in a year, with 20 percent building 10 to 99. Only 7 percent identified themselves among the top-tier of building 500 or more homes in a year. Most (80 percent) identified themselves as a builder, with architects (15 percent) and manufactured home builders (3 percent) rounding out those surveyed.

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

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

Noticeable Trends

Awareness and preference of manufactured stone tops the brick and stone category with 22 percent of builders who report using manufactured stone in the past 18 months. Eldorado Stone, Boral Bricks and Owens Corning take the largest bites of market share.

In decking, composite board manufacturer Trex holds a distinct advantage in brand awareness, use and preference. The market appears to segment significantly in preference with the remaining competitors.

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 Jeld-Wen and Pella in awareness, yet 37 percent of those surveyed preferred Therma-Tru entry doors.

Similarly competitive is the garage door market. Manufacturers have been stepping up style and durability in their products, such as carriage style doors. 44 percent our respondents used overhead doors on the job within the past year and a half use Wayne-Dalton and Cloplay neck-and-neck for second.

Like the results in our sibling surveys, Tyvek housewrap is still the number one contender. Nearly all of those surveyed reported awareness of the product and more than 3/4 reported using the venerable product on their homes. Owens Corning and Typar housewrap products, in second and third places, respectively, still hold significant market share.

The siding market has seen tremendous innovation in recent years — most major players have released reformulated or brand-new siding products. Half of the builders reported using James Hardie's siding products in the past 18 months, with CertainTeed just behind at 35 percent.

If there's one category that can be ranked the most contentious, it would be windows. Andersen and Pella are locked tightly in awareness, with Andersen (46 percent) ahead of Pella (36 percent) in terms of use. Marvin and Jeld-Wen are dead-even in awareness, with Jeld-Wen holding a minor advantage over Marvin in use in the past 18 months.

Despite the fact newer alternative-material insulation products have hit the market, Owens Corning's old-fashioned "pink stuff" enjoys the highest awareness, use and preference. CertainTeed, Johns Manville and Dow's Styrofoam each account for most of the remaining market share.

Severe weather is always a homeowner's nightmare. But today's roofing products are much more durable than their predecessors, offering higher wind resistance and decades-long guarantees. CertainTeed, GAF and Owens Corning snag most use in the field, but interestingly, slightly more (20 percent) of builders report a slight preference for Elk's roofing products.

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