As the AAMA/WDMA 2011/2012 U.S. National Statistical Review and Forecast indicates, residential prime window volume fell approximately 9 percent in 2011 versus 2010. This decline was largely driven by the lack of stimulus effects from tax credits, as new construction volume was off only 2 percent. The outlook for residential window demand continues to be optimistic however, with estimates for a 6.9 percent increase in 2012 driven largely by expectations for stronger new construction activity.
For fiberglass residential windows, sales for 2011 (the most recent year for which final figures were available for the study) held their ground, bucking the post-2006 trend in terms of unit volume except for the 2009-2011 dip. Even then, setting aside an apparently anomalous 2011, fiberglass share increased every year and is well poised to continue to build on those gains.
Looking at the numbers by type of construction, the report shows that fiberglass residential window products for new construction remained steady at 0.5 million units during the volatile period from 2009 to 2011, while maintaining about a 4.3 percent market share. Meanwhile, sales for remodeling and replacement also remained flat around 0.7 million units, maintaining an approximate 2.7 percent market share.
For the future, sales of fiberglass residential window products are expected to continue their climb out of the 2011 dip, with 1.8 million units forecast for 2013, 2.2 million for 2014 and 2.5 million units in 2015.
This represents a gain in share of overall residential window sales from 3.2 percent in 2011 to a projected 4.2 percent in 2015.
The worst of the recessionary days thus appear to be largely behind us, with most signs pointing to increased sales for fenestration products in both construction and remodeling. But it is fiberglass that is emerging from the doldrums poised for the greatest gains. Helping set the stage for these gains is the evolution of a reliable specification and foundation for objective third-party performance verification.
First issued in 2000—as fiberglass began coming into its own as a framing material—AAMA 305-11, Voluntary Specification for Fiber Reinforced Thermoset Profiles, is the linchpin of AAMA fiberglass profile certification. AAMA 305 specifies the foundation of fiberglass profile performance, establishing test procedures and minimum requirements for verifying dimensional stability, impact resistance and color weatherability. It lists physical property requirements for tensile strength modulus, flexural strength modulus, compressive strength modulus, water absorption, coefficient of thermal expansion, heat deflection temperature, weight tolerance and lead content. Joining the updated AAMA 305 in 2011 was AAMA 112-11, Procedural Guide for the AAMA Fenestration Exterior Fiber Reinforced Thermoset Profile Certification Program, establishing a stand-alone profile certification program for fiberglass windows built to meet the requirements of the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS).
In general, the future looks especially bright for fiberglass.