The Freedonia Group recently released research suggesting that decking material demand is on track to reach 3.5 billion lineal feet in the next three years. That’s a 2.4 percent annual rise from 2015 through 2018, which totals around $6.5 billion.
It’s not surprising that from 2008-2013, the demand for decking materials was subpar at best given the housing bubble burst and Great Recession. The installation of new decks and upgrading of others was put on hold as Americans scrambled to simply keep their houses and jobs (let alone improve upon them).
However, it wasn’t just the shaky economy that led to a pause in decking materials. There was also a tougher lending economy, so homeowners who would otherwise take out a loan to improve their home were left out in the cold. It was tough to get a loan, the rates weren’t great, and many homeowners chose to wait awhile before installing decks.
However, recently the residential building construction industry has been thriving. This means more demands for quality decks, and it’s estimated that this trend will continue. Decks are a fantastic way to optimize a home’s value, add a place for rest and relaxation, and gives a boost to curb appeal. In particular, plastic and wood-plastic composite materials are slated to be the most popular.
According to Matt Zielenski, an analyst with Freedonia, “Consumers will increasingly opt for these products because of their low maintenance requirements and long lifespans.” For many homeowners, installing a deck can easily last a lifetime assuming proper care, maintenance and repairs are upheld. This makes choosing durable materials a must.
What’s on Deck
Freedonia estimates that the overall demand for plastic decking will surge to the tune of double digits for at least the next three years. Consumers are looking closer at PVC decking, which looks like wood at first blush complete with the same type of natural grains and textures. However, there are no issues with warping, wood rot or having to seal a porous material every year.
The analysts also expect composite lumber to enjoy a revival, especially now that capstock-coated decking is an option. It looks like wood but offers optimal protection against the elements. Less degradation, mold and general wear and tear wood isn’t privy to. However, that doesn’t mean genuine wood decking has retired—it’s still supposed to be the most in demand in terms of value and volume (but it’ll grow a little slower).
Last year, the residential market was the demographic that most demanded decks. In fact, 60 percent of all deck sales were routed towards the residential industry. It will continue to grow according to Freedonia, but the commercial market for decking will also get bigger.
For those interested in installing or upgrading their deck, spring is the perfect time to schedule installation but shopping can begin in the winter. It’s often easier and more cost effective for installation during warmer weather so contractors (or you) aren’t battling the cold, rain and snow. Getting a deck installed just in time for BBQ season (or house selling season) is perfect timing.