Jery Huntley is president of the Vinyl Siding Institute, a Washington, D.C., trade organization representing manufacturers.

REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR: Is vinyl siding losing share of market?

Jery Huntley: In July we looked at 2007 Census figures, which showed that vinyl siding holds a 32% market share in new homes. That's up 1 point from the 2006 Census figures. Vinyl siding is still the No.1 cladding choice for both new construction and replacement.

Vinyl siding is holding its own because it's now used across the spectrum of high-end, midlevel, and affordable housing.

RC: What's the biggest trend in the siding market right now?

JH: Combining various materials in cladding. For instance, vinyl siding plus stone or cultured stone. That trend includes other cladding, such as fiber cement and brick.

RC: What's different about vinyl siding today vs. 10 years ago?

JH: Vinyl siding went through really strong growth from the '70s through the early '90s. But the growth was in sales, not product quality. There were also aesthetic issues. By the mid-90s, the industry got to a point where manufacturers realized that they needed to attend to quality. They started working to create the product standards that we have now, followed by a product certification program in 1998. Today, 95% of the vinyl siding in the U.S. is certified.

RC: How has that made a difference?

JH: It has brought a major change in impact-resistance and thickness. In addition, manufacturers instituted a new program to test for color fading or non-fading. Right now there are 400 colors certified to ASTM standards for color retention.

RC: What's the response from end users, i.e., builders and replacement contractors?

JH: The International Code Council [ICC] Building Codes require use of vinyl siding certified by a quality control agency. Our program filled the bill. So that as states accept the 2006 ICC model codes?and half have already done so?the local building inspector is going to be looking for siding that's certified via the VSI program. Every siding contractor should be looking at the VSI Web site to see if the siding he's using is certified, and that the colors are certified.