Decking demand projected to grow

The demand for decking products in the United States is expected to grow by 2.7% over the next four years, with the majority of this $6.2 billion forecasted demand falling in the composites category, according to a study just released by the Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Wood-plastic composite and plastic lumber decking materials are expected to experience double-digit demand gains through 2014. Composite decking will account for nearly 70% of demand growth in lineal foot terms, according to the report. In addition to its low maintenance requirements, composite decking’s resemblance to wood decking, consumer perception of it as being an environmentally friendly option, and the introduction of hidden fastener systems that facilitate installation will boost demand gains.

Wood decking will continue to account for the majority of decking demand in volume and value terms, although demand for wood decking is forecast to rise only one-half of 1% annually through 2014. While gains will be restrained by competition from composite and plastic decking materials, interest in tropical hardwoods, such as ipe, will provide growth opportunities in the residential building and non-building construction markets. 

The residential market accounted for 59% of decking demand in 2009, a lower share than the historical average and indicative of the low level of housing activity that year. Through 2014, decking demand in the residential market is forecast to advance at the most rapid pace of all markets. Rebounding housing completions and improvement and repair expenditures will spur gains. Growth will also be supported by homeowner desire for larger decks. Decking demand in the nonresidential market is projected to rise 2.4% annually through 2014, as rebounding office and commercial construction expenditures drive growth.  

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