SIC 3442

Companies in this industry are engaged primarily in manufacturing ferrous and nonferrous metal doors, sash, window and door frames and screens, molding, and trim. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing metal covered wood doors, windows, sash, door frames, molding, and trim are classified in SIC 2431: Millwork.

NAICS Code(s)

332321 (Metal Window and Door Manufacturing)

Industry Snapshot

The metal doors, sash, frames, molding, and trim industry is an extremely competitive industry with a low profit margin. It has experienced moderate but steady growth in shipments since 1982, except for a slight dip in 1990 and 1991. Shipments were valued at $4.69 billion that year. Shipments grew to $8.2 billion in 1996, and to $12.01 billion in 2000. Employment levels grew slightly in the early 1980s but flattened between 1986 and 1988. In 1982 approximately 66,300 people were employed by this industry, 47,600 of those being production workers. These figures grew to 83,885 total employees and 61,177 production workers by 2000.

Workers are paid poorly in this industry compared to average pay in all manufacturing industries combined. In 1982 the average hourly wage was $6.61; the figure grew to $9.73 by the end of 1996. That same year the average hourly wage for all manufacturing workers was $12.40. By 2000 the average hourly wage had reached $11.33, still well below the national manufacturing average. Other comparative ratios indicate this industry rates below the manufacturing average in terms of value added, cost, shipments, and investment per establishment, employee, and production worker. In fact, in terms of investment this industry ranks more than two-thirds below the average manufacturing industry.

Organization and Structure

This industry is dominated by small independent companies with fewer than 20 employees. In 1982, of the 1,738 establishments engaged in this industry, only 673 employed more than 20 people. By 1996 the total number of establishments fell to an estimated 1,268, while those employing more than 20 people fell to 553.

The product share is divided into six areas. Metal doors and frames, except storm doors, held 47.54 percent of the total market share in the early 1990s. Metal window sash and frames, except storm sash, held 24.16 percent; metal molding and trim and store fronts held 4.86 percent; metal combination screen, storm sash, and storm doors held 6.09 percent; metal window and door screens and metal weather strip held 3.97 percent; and metal doors, sash, and trim, not specified by kind, held 13.39 percent of the market share in the early 1990s.

In the early 1990s the leading states in employment were California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. California led the industry in shipments with 192 establishments engaged in the manufacture of metal doors, sash, frames, molding, and trim. These establishments shipped 10.6 percent of the U.S. total in this industry, amounting to $756.8 million for that year. The total number of people employed in this industry in California was 7,700, averaging 40 people per establishment, who earned an average of $9.21 per hour. Ohio's 62 establishments shipped $601.2 million worth of product and employed 4,200. Ohio's employees earned an average $10.67 per hour. Texas's 105 firms engaged in this industry shipped $545.5 million worth of products and employed 5,600 workers who earned an average $7.51 per hour. Pennsylvania's 67 establishments had gross revenues of $460.5 million and employed 4,600 who earned an average $10.08 per hour. Tennessee's 42 companies had sales of $403.4 million and employed 3,600 earning $9.56 per hour. Florida's 116 companies had sales of $386.2 million and employed 4,200 who earned an average $7.80 per hour.

Current Conditions

According to U.S. Glass Metal & Glazing projections, U.S. demand for windows and doors reached $26 billion by the year 2000. Older house maintenance helped increase sales of windows and doors within the U.S. by 4.7 percent per year in the late 1990s. More energy-efficient products and regulations coupled with a lack of timber resulted in the highest demand increase for vinyl/plastic products, although wood windows and doors still made up more than 56 percent of sales through 2000. Sales of metal doors and windows were slow because of the lack of insulation of metal products.

Anything involved in the building industry, both commercial and residential, has an effect on this industry. A strong real estate market coupled with a strong economy created more growth and expansion, causing small companies, like Hollow Metal Door of Wichita, Kansas, to expand and grow in the late 1990s. When housing was up, sales were up. But even when housing was not up, people were remodeling, adding skylights, columns, and stairs; this created even more sales than housing.

Total industry shipments grew from $10.2 billion in 1997 to $12.01 billion in 2000. The cost of materials over the same time period grew from $5.45 billion to $6.23 billion.

Industry Leaders

Lowe's Companies Inc. of North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, led this industry with overall sales of $12.2 billion for its fiscal year ended January 30, 1999, representing an increase of 21 percent over the previous year's sales. In April 1999 Eagle Garden & Hardware, which experienced sales of $1.1 billion for its 1998 fiscal year, a 12 percent increase over its previous year's sales, merged with Lowe's. Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning generated $5 billion in 1998 sales. Atlanta-based Alumax Inc. posted sales of $2.9 billion in 1997 and $1.6 billion for the first six months of 1998, before it was taken over by the Aluminum Co. of America (Alcoa). Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Armstrong World Industries Inc. garnered 1998 sales of $2.7 billion.

None of the above companies listed this industry as their primary focus, however. Jeld-Wen Inc. of Klamath Falls, Oregon, on the other hand, was considered the biggest door and window maker in the world. In 1998 Jeld-Wen created sales of $1.5 billion, employed 11,000 workers worldwide, owned more than 150 companies in 40 states as well as overseas, and was listed 119th on the Forbes private 500. The company followed an unorthodox diversification strategy that did not create apparent synergies; its list of subsidiaries included resorts, a dairy farm, a wood pellets manufacturer, and, as of January 1999, a multimedia marketing house. Nonetheless, Jeld-Wen continued to thrive.


Jeld-Wen was renowned for its tactic of buying out a company, dismissing all its employees, and then rehiring them at lower wages in the name of creating efficiencies. While this strategy might make sense from a corporate perspective, the workers viewed the action as unfair and cut-throat, prioritizing profits over providing a living wage. In 1998, when Jeld-Wen acquired an Oshkosh, Wisconsin, door and window manufacturing plant run by Morgan Products Ltd. for the previous 128 years, it cut all jobs and then rehired workers at wage rates as much as $2.70 per hour lower, with no signed labor agreement, and without healthcare benefits. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 1363 picketed the plant in response.

As the industry looks toward the year 2005, a decrease in demand for workers overall is anticipated. Sheet metal workers and duct installers were expected to be reduced by 58.8 percent, followed by structural metal and precision fitters with a 50.6 percent decline; those were the sharpest declines estimated for this industry. Coating, painting, and spraying machine operators were expected to be reduced by more than 50 percent. Other occupations expected to be reduced between 30 and 50 percent included metal and plastic machine forming operators; drafters; hand freight, stock and material movers; and bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. In 2000 the industry employed 83,885 people, 61,177 of whom worked in production.

Research and Technology

A process called UNI-SAN 6500 that fuses glass and metal was made available in viewing windows from Jacoby-Tarbox. The process is reported to eliminate common causes of window breakage through its improved strength. Increased safety and durability are key to these single-unit windows.

In 1996 Wayne-Dalton Corporation of Mt. Hope, Ohio, premiered the Ironmax Classic Entry Door. The product was made of durable, 26-gauge steel panels; its core was filled with forced-in-place high-density polyurethane. The doors featured electrostatically applied prime coating and a warranty against warping or peeling was included.

Further Reading

"Alcoa buy pulls down Alumax net." American Metal Market , 10 July 1998.

Bump, Greg. "Workers at Oshkosh, Wis., Door Manufacturer Protest Lack of Labor Agreement." Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News , 16 July 1998.

Darnay, Arsen J., ed. Manufacturing USA: Industry Analysis, Statistics, and Leading Companies , 5th ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 1996.

Infotrac Company Profiles. 14 January 200. Available from .

"Local Door Company to Expand." Witchita Business Journal , 23 August 1996.

"Lowe's and Eagle post record years." Do-It-Yourself Retailing , April 1999.

Lubove, Seth. "Construction." Forbes , 13 January 1997.

United States Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industries and Industry Groups: 2000." Annual Survey of Manufacturers. February 2002. Available from .

United States Census Bureau. Survey of Manufacturers , 10 February 2000. Available from .

"U.S. Demand for Windows and Doors to Reach $26 Billion by 2000." U.S. Glass Metal & Glazing , 1 December 1995.

Ward's Business Directory of U.S. Private and Public Companies. Vol. 5. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 1997.

"Wayne-Dalton Releases Ironmax Door." National Home Center News , 5 August 1996, 230.

Wojahn, Ellen. "The 1 billion-pound elephant." Oregon Business , June 1998.

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