Led by WPC, U.S. decking demand set to rebound with housing

Alternative decking materials, including wood-plastic composites (WPC) and polymers, will lead the way as demand for decking in the United States picks up steam. U.S. demand for decking is forecast to rise 2.7% per year to 3.5 billion lineal ft in 2014, valued at $6.2 billion, representing a rebound from the 2004-2009 period, when demand fell.

Through 2014, decking demand gains will be driven by an expected advance in housing completions from their low in 2009, according to a new market report from the Freedonia Group titled  "Wood and Competitive Decking." Decking demand in the residential market accounted for 59% of decking demand in 2009, a smaller share than the historical average, although indicative of the low level of housing activity in that year.

Through 2014, however, decking demand in the residential market is forecast to advance at the fastest pace among all market segments. Growth will be a result of housing completions, home improvement projects, repair expenditures, and homeowner desire for larger decks. Wood-plastic-composite (WPC) and plastic lumber decking materials are expected to experience double-digit demand gains through 2014. WPC decking will account for nearly 70% of demand growth in lineal foot terms through 2014, says Freedonia Group's 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 combine to boost demand gains.—Clare Goldsberry

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