US demand to rise 2.4% annually through 2018
US demand for decking is forecast to rise 2.4 percent per year through 2018 to 3.5 billion lineal feet, valued at $6.5 billion. Demand will rebound from the lackluster performance during the 2008-2013 period, when contraction in new housing construction caused a sharp drop in new deck installation and a less favorable lending environment caused homeowners to put off or cancel deck renovation projects. Through 2018, decking demand will be spurred by rebounding residential building construction activity and continuing interest in decks to add leisure space and improve property values.
Plastic, wood-plastic composite materials to see fastest product gains
Among product types, plastic and woodplastic composite materials are forecast to exhibit the fastest gains going forward. Consumers will increasingly opt for these products because of their low maintenance requirements and long lifespans. Plastic lumber demand will rise at a double-digit pace through 2018, fueled by strong consumer interest in cellular PVC decking, which offers a grain and surface texture similar to natural wood. Composite lumber decking demand will be boosted by rising use of capstockcoated decking, which looks like natural wood and provides enhanced protection against mold growth and premature degradation.
Wood decking will continue to account for the majority of demand in volume and value terms. However, wood decking demand is forecast to grow much more slowly than that of composite and plastic lumber, rising 1.1 percent annually to 2.8 billion lineal feet in 2018. Demand for wood decking will be supported by the material’s low cost and the large installed base of wood decks, as some consumers will be reluctant to switch materials when renovating decks.
Dominant residential market to benefit from rebound in housing completions
The residential market was the largest end use for decking in 2013 with threefifths of demand. Through 2018, residential decking demand is projected to grow 2.8 percent annually. In the new housing segment, a rapid rebound in housing completions will drive gains. Residential improvement and repair decking demand will be supported by rising home values and a more favorable lending environment that will make it easier for homeowners to take out the home equity loans often used to finance deck installation and renovation projects. Demand will also be supported by design trends that call for houses with larger decks featuring such amenities as outdoor kitchens and firepits, hot tubs, and areas for seating and gathering. These decks will require not only more deck boards, but also such accessories as railings and stairs.
Nonresidential decking demand is forecast to rise rapidly, driven by rebounding commercial and lodging construction expenditures. Owners and managers of such facilities as restaurants, hotels, bars, resorts, and other entertainment venues install decks to add space for leisure activities.