Survey: Building Envelope Materials Selection

Survey reveals home builders' quest to find the ideal weather, air, and thermal barrier.

By By Mike Beirne, Senior Editor | June 22, 2015
Tract houses being built.
More than half of the 255 respondents in Professional Builder’s survey said that they tried new building-envelope products or construction methods in the past two years, and 31 percent were still assessing the benefits of those new approaches. However, 21 percent indicated that they were pleased with their trials, and the specifics about what they deemed effective are briefly detailed at the end of this report.
Building-envelope components are out of sight and out of mind for buyers. Consequently, only a third of builders noted that building envelope construction was a top concern for their clients compared with 54 percent who said that other factors were more important than understanding the long-term benefits of a quality-built shell for their home. Thirteen percent indicated that the envelope was not a factor at all in their customers’ buying decision.
Yet durability and energy efficiency begin with shell construction, and 61.5 percent of builders said that their companies are investing more resources in building-envelope materials and construction compared with the past two years, and 53.9 percent devoted more resources to caulking and gasketing systems for sealing.


This survey was distributed between April 2 and May 1, 2015, to a random sample of Professional Builder’s print and digital readers. No incentive was offered. By closing date, a total of 255 eligible readers returned completed surveys. Respondent breakdown by discipline: 30.3 percent custom home builder; 24.7 percent diversified builder/remodeler; 11.2 percent architect/designer engaged in home building; 10 percent production builder for move-up/move-down buyers; 4.4 percent luxury production builder; 4 percent production builder for first-time buyers; 3.6 percent multifamily; 2.8 percent manufactured, modular, log home, or systems builder; and 9.2 percent other. Approximately 58.1 percent of respondents sold one to five homes in 2014, and 18.3 percent sold more than 50 homes. PB