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15% Growth in Wood-Plastic Composite Materials

08 July 2002

US demand for plastic and wood-plastic composite materials in construction applications is forecast to expand more than 15 percent annually through 2006 to over $1.5 billion.

Gains for plastics and wood-plastic composites will result from both supplantation of wood in existing applications and introduction in previously untapped construction applications.

Composite and plastic materials are expected to capture about one-third of the decking market by volume by the end of the decade. As of 2001, decking represents the largest single application for plastic and wood-plastic composite lumber in the US, where the product benefits from its long life, durability and low maintenance require-ments compared to wood.

Over the forecast period, increasing familiarity with these products on the part of contractors will help generate demand. Continuing material developments, such as the use of foamed plastics, will also fuel gains. In the near term, demand for composite and plastic decking will also benefit from publicity surrounding the planned phaseout in residential applications of pressure-treated wood that uses chromated copper arsenate.

Plastic and composite fencing applications are currently dominated by polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which accounts for more than six percent of the overall US fencing market. That share will rise over the course of the decade as product selections continue to increase and end users opt for the low-mainte-nance of these alternatives compared to wood.

Other established markets expected to see substantial growth through 2006 are windows and doors, where wood-plastic composites offer an alternative to vinyl or wood; and other millwork, where plastics and composites will make inroads in both exterior and interior trim applications.

Composite & Plastic Lumber, a new Freedonia study priced at $3700, presents details on these and other findings key findings. The study provides historical data and forecasts to 2006 and 2011 by product and market. It also presents market share data, identifies and profiles industry players, and discusses key strategic competitive variables.

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