Ply Gem Holdings fell into the red with a $70.9 million net loss during the first quarter, compared with a $54.1 million net income during the same period a year ago. Net sales also declined just over $4 million dollars to $200.1 million, the company reported today.

The Cary, N.C.-based exterior building products manufacturer saw gross profit decrease 25% to $27.8 million, compared with the year earlier period. The company also deepened its operating loss to $14.3 million, compared to a $3.7 million operating loss a year ago.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was $6.5 million, an almost $6 million fall from first quarter 2010. The company cited the weak housing market at the driving force behind the poor performance.

"Given that market conditions for 2011 are expected to remain challenging, Ply Gem will continue to focus on maintaining a lean overall cost structure while maximizing cash flow and striving to outperform the market place in all business units," said president and CEO Gary Robinette.

Ply Gem manufactures a number of exterior building products including vinyl siding, vinyl windows, aluminum clad windows, and steel and fiberglass doors. Ply Gem brands include Mastic Home Exteriors, DuraBuilt, Ply Gem Stone, and Gutter Warrior. The company sells through both big-box retailers as well as pro dealers and currently employs more than 4,200 people throughout the country.