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U.S. demand for decking to increase.

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U.S. demand for decking is projected to advance 2.2 percent per year through 2011 to 3.6 billion lineal feet, valued at $5.6 billion, according to a report by the Cleveland-based market research firm the Freedonia Group.

The U.S. decking market has seen a shift in product mix in recent years. In 1996, wood decking materials accounted for 95 percent of volume demand, with only minimal use of alternative decking materials such as wood-plastic composites, vinyl and polyethylene. However, over the course of the past decade, alternative decking materials in the aggregate accounted for 17 percent of the 3.3 billion lineal feet of decking.

Alternative decking materials will continue to lead the decking market in terms of yearly gains through 2011, according to the report, further eroding the market share of wood materials. Wood plastic composite decking will provide the strongest growth opportunity, fueled by its high durability and low maintenance requirements, as well as by product advances that provide a more realistic wood appearance. Plastic decking materials will also show strong growth through 2011, the Freedonia Group projects. Vinyl, polyethylene and other resin-based products, will benefit from many of the same performance characteristics as composites.

Through 2011, wood decking is expected to see a slight decline in demand, restrained by growing competition from alternative materials and by ongoing concern over the safety of preservatives used to treat wood. An anticipated weakness in new housing, a key market for wood decking, will also hamper growth. Nevertheless, wood will remain the dominant material used to produce decks in the United States going forward and continue to benefit from its good reputation and aesthetic appeal. Pressure-treated wood in particular will continue to benefit from its lower price compared to other woods and alternative decking materials. Tropical hardwoods will lead gains in the wood segment, particularly in the high-end residential decking market.

The full report, "Wood & Competitive Decking," is available for purchase through the Freedonia Group at www.freedoniagroup.com.
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Title Annotation:COMMODITIES
Publication:Construction & Demolition Recycling
Date:Sep 1, 2007
Words:334
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