Vinyl Siding Stacking & Storage Solutions Hot Finds/Doors

Over the next few years, demand for vinyl siding is predicted to decline by less than 1% annually, from 46.8 million squares in 2005 to 44.7 million squares by 2010, due partly to increasing competition from fiber-cement, according to a recent siding study by The Freedonia Group. But specialty vinyl sidings are expected to grow steadily, particularly insulated vinyl profiles, say industry experts.

"Last year in a declining market ... insulated siding was up almost 30%," says Pat Culpepper, president of Progressive Foam Technologies, maker of the foam backer used by the majority of insulated siding manufacturers. Culpepper projects that level of growth will continue, and according to Jerry Blais, senior product manager for Alcoa Home Exteriors, the category's growth will be fueled in part by a desire for more energy-efficient cladding.

Though it's been a favorite among remodeling and replacement contractors since its introduction, insulated vinyl siding is increasingly attractive to builders as a way to differentiate their homes. Insulated siding's strength despite a challenged residential construction market is likely due to its remodeling market appeal, manufacturers indicate. While many production builders are too concerned with first cost of materials to offer what they see as a premium-priced vinyl, remodelers and replacement contractors can take the time to educate their customers on the product benefits–which include R-values that help reduce heating and cooling costs, impact resistance, low maintenance, sound deadening, and a total installed cost less than fiber-cement.

"Insulating panels come with a substantial upcharge from standard vinyl, but when the homeowner understands the financial benefits that can be gained, they see it's well worth the investment up front," says Christine Watson, product manager for Owens Corning's Norandex/Reynolds PolarWall Plus brand.

Still, the category is showing signs of moving out of its remodeling niche. The new construction market for insulated siding is expected to expand as builders continue to look for ways to differentiate themselves and provide more energy-efficient, low-maintenance homes.

The variety of styles and widths available in insulated sidings has been key to the category's growing popularity and also differentiates product lines. Most companies offer 6- and 7-inch-wide profiles, which aren't possible in vinyl without a contoured foam backer. Clapboard and Dutch-lap styles are most common, but board-and-batten and beaded styles also are available. There is even an insulated stone-look siding panel from Exterior Portfolio by Crane. Several companies offer coordinating foam-backed trim and accessory pieces as well.

Alcoa, Alside, Mitten Vinyl, Norandex/Reynolds, RMC Siding, Heartland Building Products, CertainTeed, and Crane all use Progressive Foam's contoured expanded polystyrene foam backing for their insulated vinyl siding lines. Revere Building Products and Royal Building Products use extruded polystyrene foam systems from Dow and Pactiv, respectively.

Insulated vinyl siding's predicted growth in the new construction market indicates you shouldn't limit your sales efforts only to remodelers. Higher-end new-home builders also may be looking to upsell their customers with an easy-to-install, energy-efficient product that gives them higher margins.

–Stephani L. Miller

Storage Solutions

If you're re-evaluating your yard's materials storage and stacking systems, there are plenty of options available to suit your inventory and the capabilities of your materials handling equipment. We've gathered some of the newer systems that may offer exactly the solution you need as well as some existing systems that may fit the bill, too.

Stacking and storage system manufacturers are offering up a range of solutions to maximize your yard's space, increase storage flexibility, and improve safety. (Krauter Storage (left); Sunbelt Racks (right) Ridg-U-Rak offers a new Seismic Storage System that has been tested up to a full 200% of seismic qualification simulation (according to FEMA 460 Seismic Considerations for Steel Storage Racks Located in Areas Accessible to the Public) and performed with little or no merchandise shedding or rack damage, the manufacturer says. The pallet rack features base isolation technology that reduces the effects of violent ground forces created during an earthquake. According to the company, the base isolation system will not impede stocking or restocking, requires no special storage techniques or palletization, and can be moved and repositioned as needed. 866.479.7225.

Designed to store more items in less space than standard shelving, the Adjustable Racking system from Stanley Vidmar is a rack-and-pallet system with roll-formed fixed steel uprights that feature integral steel hooks spaced every 7 inches apart; pallets fit into the spaces between the uprights and are supported by the hooks. Users can adjust the height between pallets in 7-inch increments to accommodate different-sized pallets and make use of all vertical space. Yard operators place and remove pallets with a standard forklift. A variety of pallet types are available. 800.523.9462.

Structurally designed to manage unbalanced loads, Prest Rack's roll-formed and structural cantilever rack systems can be configured to accommodate light-, medium-, and heavy-duty storage applications. The company offers single-sided and double-sided cantilever systems with bracing and 4-inch, 5-inch, or 6-inch arms. Arms are bolted to uprights and are adjustable in 3-inch increments, allowing storage flexibility. The racks are protected with an impact- and corrosion-resistant hybrid powder finish. 800.877.3744.

Steel King's SK2000 boltless pallet racks offer shelf adjustability without the need for tools or a third-party installer, in many situations. The system utilizes closed tubular columns for greater resistance to accidental forklift impacts than open-back roll-formed columns, the manufacturer says. The SK2000 boltless pallet rack uses three-rivet connections for beams and heavy 10-gauge footpads that are welded to the uprights to disperse column loads more efficiently than conventional footpads. Two-inch beam adjustments allow load flexibility. A variety of column sizes are available, including a 4-inch-wide column to meet seismic design requirements. 800.826.0203.

Narrow-aisle drive-through buildings from Sunbelt Racks allow yard operators to cut aisle space from 20 feet or 24 feet down to 7 feet or 12 feet, depending on the side-loading forklifts the yard uses. The company says the only limitation on the cantilever storage height in the building and on aisle width are the capabilities of the forklift being used. The company works with the forklift manufacturer to ensure it works in conjunction with the storage building's design. Buildings also can be designed with aisle spacing that allows future conversion to narrow-aisle storage. 800.353.0892.

Stacking frames from Krauter Storage can be designed for storing and transporting a variety of materials and products. Stacking frames allow operators to transport product directly from the warehouse to the delivery vehicle by picking up the entire rack frame.

A window and door stacking frame unit features collapsible side and back panels with slotted rails to which product is secured with bungee cords or strapping. Once product is delivered to the jobsite on the frame, it can be collapsed for easier transport back to the yard. 317.542.0822.

–Stephani L. Miller

Hot Finds: Doors

Plastpro Doors. Distinction Doors Signature Series Rustic Collection fiberglass entry doors utilize the manufacturer's Hydroshield Technology to protect against moisture and water damage and to prevent rotting and rusting. The doors feature a deep wood-grain and have proportionate stile-and-rail configurations, the maker says. 800.779.0561.

Andersen. Made from the company's glass-fiber material with an exterior aluminum frame, the 200 Series Hinged Inswing Patio Door combines low maintenance with traditional French styling. High-Performance Low-E or Low-E Sun tempered glazing options, adjustable hinges, full-perimeter weather-stripping, and a drainage sill help ensure energy efficiency and performance. The door is available in single-panel and double-panel configurations. 800.426.4261.

Integrity Windows and Doors. The Wood-Ultrex Outswing French Door is made from the company's pultruded fiberglass material and features wood interiors. Corrosion-resistant hinges and hardware, dual weather-stripping, a DP-50 rating, and Energy Star?qualified performance make the doors ideal for coastal applications, the maker says. Factory-assembled frames, pre-hung panels, and factory-applied jamb extensions save time on the jobsite. 888.419.0076.

Masonite. The Glenview 3-Panel Smooth interior door is constructed with a hollow core and features a molded Shaker-style profile. The door is also available in a solid-core unit that provides sound deadening and the weight of a wood door. Glenview has a smooth surface and comes in several widths and a 6-foot-8-inch height. 800.663.3667.

Milgard. More than 40 door styles and configurations and 12 triple-pane decorative glass designs comprise the manufacturer's new line of fiberglass entry doors. The doors are available in several finish options. Each fiberglass panel has a polyurethane foam core and a 16-inch wood lock-block-and-jamb security plate to resist forced entry. Transoms and sidelites are available. Energy Star-qualified configurations also are offered. 800.645.4273.