Exterior building products maker Ply Gem Holdings posted a net loss of $51.6 million in the first quarter of 2014, a $19.6 million loss in the first quarter of 2014, nearly double its Q1 2013 loss of $28.1 million.

The company’s operating loss for the quarter totaled $19.6 million compared to the year ago operating loss of $572,000.

Net sales, however, marked a 4.8% improvement year to year rising to a $269.5 million in the quarter from $247.1 million in Q1 2013.

Ply Gem president and CEO Gary E. Robinette attributed the quarter’s results to the impact of last winter’s severe weather which depressed housing starts in the quarter. However, he said recent acquisitions of Canadian window and door maker Gienow and siding manufacturer Mitten are contributing to current sales growth.

“Our 2014 first quarter net sales growth demonstrate the positive contribution of our Gienow and Mitten acquisitions which were completed in April and May of 2013, respectively,” Robinette said.

“Despite the slow start to the year, we remain focused on our strategic priorities for the remainder of 2014, while striving to outperform the market across all of our product categories,” he said. “We remain positive about the long term recovery for the housing industry and our ability to take advantage of the market as it improves."

The Cary, N.C.-based company’s first quarter 2014 gross profit margin was 14.8% which represented a contraction of 150 basis points from the prior year quarter. The decrease was attributed to a 14.2% fall in sales in the siding, fencing, and stone to $19.5 million due to the hard winter.

The siding, fencing, and stone segment’s net sales came to $137.1 million, down $700,000, or 0.5%, compared to $137.7 million in the prior-year quarter. Excluding the Mitten acquisition, the siding business saw net sales decreased $19.5 million or 14.2% for the quarter compared to the first quarter of 2013.

The company said the severe winter weather impacted significant portions of North America particularly the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Eastern seaboard regions where the majority of its vinyl siding is sold.

Windows and doors unit net sales hit $132.4 million, a 10.9% increase over prior-year net sales of $119.4 million. The net sales increase was due to the April acquisition of Gienow.