Demand across America for decking will revive from the 0.6% annual drop in 2004 to 2009 to increase 2.7% per year and reach 3.5 billion lineal feet--worth $6.2 billion--in 2014, the Freedonia Group forecast today.

Wood products will continue to dominate the market, accounting for 77% of the market in 2014 vs. 86% in 2009, but demand will rise just 0.5% per year, going from 2.604 billion lineal feet in 2009 to 2.67 billion in 2014. In contrast, wood-plastic composite and plastic lumber decking will enjoy double-digit growth rates, the Cleveland-based market research firm said.

Wood-plastic composite decking, which saw demand shrink 1.4% per year between 2004 and 2009 to reach 349 million lineal feet, will see 12.9% annual growth through 2014 to hit 640 million lineal feet. Meanwhile, plastic and other lumber (PVC, mainly), which had seen demand fall 2.1% per year to total 73 million lineal feet in 2009, is forecast by Freedonia to grow 13.9% per year over the next five years, hitting 140 million lineal feet in 2014.

Freedonia tied its predictions to the housing market's decline and expected recovery. The residential market accounted for 59% of all decking demand in 2009, it said, noting that the percentage normally would be much higher had it not been for the recession in home building. Nonresidential market demand will rise 2.4% annually through 2014, it said.

"Through 2014, decking demand gains will be driven by an expected advance in housing completions from their low 2009 base," Freedonia predicted. "Rebounding housing completions and improvement and repair expenditures will spur gains. Growth also will be supported by homeowner desire for larger decks."

It said demand for wood decking "will be restrained by competition from composite and plastic decking materials. Interest in tropical hardwoods, such as ipe, will provide growth opportunities in the residential building and non-building construction markets."

The forecasts are part of a new 350-page report on the decking market that Freedonia sells for $5,100.

Craig L. Webb is Editor of ProSales.