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US demand for decking is projected to advance 2.8 percent per year through 2009 to 5.7 billion board feet, valued at $5.8 billion.
The relative stability of the decking market stems from the fact that more than 85 percent of demand is generated through repair and improvement activity. New markets will offer more mixed prospects. These and other trends are presented in Wood & Competitive Decking, a new study from The Freedonia Group.
The US decking market has seen a shift in product mix in recent years. In 1994, wood decking materials accounted for 97 percent of volume demand, with only minimal use of alternative decking materials. Between 1994 and 2004, the replacement of natural wood materials with alternative materials accelerated significantly. By 2004, alternative decking materials in the aggregate had acquired eleven percent of the five billion board foot market, posting double-digit gains in most markets over the span.
Composite decking will provide the strongest growth opportunities, posting 15 percent annual growth through 2009 to almost 900 million board feet. Demand for composite decking will be fuelled by its high durability and low maintenance requirements, as well as by product advances that provide a more realistic wood appearance. Other alternative decking materials such as plastic and aluminium will also show strong growth, rising nearly eleven percent per year through 2009. Demand for these materials will benefit from many of the same performance characteristics composite materials have. However, these decking materials often provide less favourable aesthetics and a much higher price than composite or wood materials, which often limits use in the key residential market.
Despite significant competition from alternative decking materials, wood will remain the dominant material used to produce and repair decks in the US, accounting for 81 percent of total decking demand in 2009. Wood decking will continue to reap the rewards of its good reputation and preference among consumers, builders and contractors, as well as its aesthetic appeal. Pressure-treated wood in particular will continue to benefit from its lower price compared to other woods and alternative decking materials. However, demand for wood decking is forecast to expand only 1.0 percent annually through 2009, a significantly slower pace than the overall decking market.
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