Home Innovation Insights

Strong market growth for ZIP System sheathing, flat-panel cabinets, and engineered wood trim.

Ed Hudson, MBA
July 18, 2018

Builder Survey Data Analysis: Trends in Trim, Insulation, Sheathing, Cabinets

The data is in! Home Innovation’s 2018 Builder Practices Survey continues to reveal many new trends and reversals. Some of the most notable changes we’ve seen so far have been highlighted in my recent Trends posts. Here are a few more points I’ve found interesting during my ongoing analysis…

Exterior Trim Material

The biggest winner in this category is Engineered Wood – which includes wood fiber, strand, and ply products – now representing about 31% of exterior trim purchased on new homes. Following in the second position, also advancing this year, is Fiber Cement with 21%. Both Lumber Board and PVC categories experienced moderate growth in the past year, now representing 16% and 11% of the new home trim market, respectively. Materials in decline according to this year’s survey included Aluminum and Vinyl Wraps, typically cut from coil and bent to cover a non-appearance-grade lumber.


Spray Foam’s overall share of new single-family home insulation continues to remain flat at about 12% for the past few years. Meanwhile, Fiberglass Batt’s share has rebounded somewhat to 55% in 2017. Batts have their greatest share in walls at 71% (up from 66%), and the lowest share in flat ceilings at 38%. The increased popularity of fiberglass batts is likely linked to two factors—the growing labor shortage that favors quick-and-easy installation and the demographics of new home buying that sees the market for modestly-sized homes expanding.


ZIP System now represents about 11% of all wall sheathing installed in new home construction, showing continued growth from 2016 to 2017. In addition, while it’s not as popular as a roof sheathing, ZIP System now has a respectable 4% share in new homes for that category.


Big changes are underway in kitchen cabinet design. Simpler, less ornate, and more painted finishes continue to grow in popularity. In 2017, 42% of kitchen cabinets in new homes had a painted or laminate finish (the rest had wood-finishes); 50% had flat-panel doors (the remainder had raised panels). About one-third of new home cabinets now have frameless, Euro-styled boxes, representing another growth trend. Multifamily homes are about equally likely as single-family homes to have wood-finish cabinets, but they are much more likely to have flat-panel doors and Euro-style boxes.

Kitchen Cabinets in New U.S. Homes, 2017

Source: Home Innovation's Annual Builder Practices Survey

Home Innovation publishes Builder Practices Reports on more than 40 building products categories.

New Construction Topics

It’s always interesting to see the story our data tells us – often, the trends that develop help us predict what’s coming next. If you’d like more detailed information on any of our reports or our survey methodology, get in touch. I’d be happy to discuss how we can help you keep apprised of building industry trends and opportunities using our Builder Practices Reports.

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