The demand for decking in the US is expected to remain stagnant at 3.8 billion lineal feet in 2027, valued at $12.7 billion, primarily due to slow growth in residential improvement and repair activity. Despite this overall weakness, growth is predicted in segments such as the commercial market, driven by construction in hotels and resorts, the nonbuilding market due to design trends in public parks, and the adoption of non-wood decking materials for their durability and low maintenance. The popularity of wood-plastic composite decking is expected to increase in the US market through 2027, surpassing pressure-treated wood, due to its durability and wood-like appearance. Meanwhile, wood decking prices, which reached record highs in 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic-induced shortages, have moderated in 2023 and are expected to remain below 2022 levels for the rest of the forecast period as supply chains normalize and construction activity dampens.
The Advantages of Alternative Non-Wood Decking Materials
Alternative non-wood decking materials, such as composite or PVC decking, offer numerous advantages over traditional wood. They are known for their enhanced durability, resistance to rot and insects, and low maintenance requirements, eliminating the need for regular staining or painting. These materials also resist moisture and mold, making them suitable for various climates. With a wide range of color options and finishes, non-wood decking provides homeowners with greater design flexibility, while some environmentally friendly options are made from recycled materials. The uniformity of these materials, splinter-free nature, and ease of installation contribute to their appeal. Although the initial cost may be higher, the long-term benefits, including lower maintenance costs and extended lifespan, make non-wood decking a compelling choice for those seeking a durable, attractive, and sustainable outdoor flooring solution.
Innovative Non-Wood Materials
There are many non-wood material options for consumers to choose from outside of PVC and composite. Each unique material offers its own set of benefits and pitfalls…
Bamboo – Bamboo decking material has gained popularity for its eco-friendly and sustainable qualities. It is a rapidly renewable resource, making it an environmentally responsible choice. It has natural resistance to pests and decay, reducing the need for chemical treatments. Additionally, bamboo is known for its strength and durability, making it a reliable choice for outdoor decking. However, bamboo decking can be susceptible to color fading and weathering over time, requiring regular maintenance and protective coatings.
Recycled Rubber – Rubber decking is slip-resistant and durable, providing a resilient surface that can withstand various weather conditions. Using recycled rubber helps in repurposing waste materials, contributing to environmental sustainability. It serves as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional decking materials, reducing the demand for new resources. However, there are downsides to consider. Recycled rubber decking may have a limited aesthetic appeal compared to other materials, and it can be prone to fading over time. There are also concerns about the environmental impact of the production process for rubber products, including potential emissions during manufacturing.
Recycled Glass Tiles - Recycled glass tiles and pavers used for decking materials contribute to sustainability by repurposing waste glass, reducing the demand for new resources. Recycled glass tiles are available in a variety of colors and styles, offering a visually appealing option for eco-conscious consumers. Additionally, they are durable and resistant to fading, providing a long-lasting solution for outdoor spaces. However, there are potential concerns about slipperiness when wet, as glass surfaces may become slick. Also, the production process of recycling glass into tiles can be energy-intensive, offsetting some of the environmental benefits. The initial cost of recycled glass decking materials may be higher compared to traditional options, although long-term savings may be realized through reduced maintenance and replacement needs.
If you are interested in learning more about decking materials in the US and industry insights, Freedonia Group’s team of experts presents “US Wood & Competitive Decking”.