U.S. demand for fiber cement products is forecast to grow 5.8 percent annually through 2019 to 2.9 billion sq. ft., valued at $2.2 billion, according to Fiber Cement, a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Siding is by far the largest application for fiber cement, and demand will benefit from it’s popularity in the South and West, the U.S. regions that will experience the strongest growth in population and housing starts going forward.

The residential market accounts for the majority of fiber cement demand. According to Construction Group Leader Tom Bowne, “While new housing demand for fiber cement products will rise at the fastest pace through 2019, residential improvement and repair will continue to account for a larger portion of residential demand. Sales of existing housing will generate demand for fiber cement products as homeowners look to increase the value of their properties before going to market.”

Exterior fiber cement products have seen increasing use in the nonresidential market in recent years, particularly in the form of fiber cement backerboard products. Fiber cement product demand in the nonresidential market is forecast to grow 5.4 percent annually through 2019 to 670 million sq. ft. Rebounding nonresidential building construction demand will primarily drive gains. In addition, fiber cement siding and exterior trim will benefit from a design trend in commercial buildings that favors an exposed-wood appearance for exteriors. Fiber cement product manufacturers have responded to this demand by developing new wood-like products aimed at commercial buildings.

Siding accounts for over 70 percent of fiber cement product demand. Fiber cement manufacturers have found a great deal of success in this application, managing to penetrate a competitive market and becoming a major material option in siding over the course of a couple of decades. Backerboard is the second largest application for fiber cement in the U.S. and is expected to post above average growth in the forecast years.

US FIBER CEMENT DEMAND
(million sq.ft. - 5/16 in. basis)
   % Annual Growth
Item 2009 2014 2019 2009-2014 2014-2019
Fiber Cement Demand 1685 2150 2850 5 5.8
Siding 1275 1510 2000 3.4 5.8
Backerboard 314 497 670 9.6 6.2
Molding & Trim 84 121 152 7.6 4.7
Roofing & Other 12 22 28 12.9 4.9
Source: The Freedonia Group