Residential Wood Panels

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Building Boards

This study examines the US market for wood panels in residential buildings. This includes structural boards (oriented strand board (OSB) and softwood plywood) as well as nonstructural boards:

  • hardboard
  • hardwood plywood
  • insulation board
  • medium density fiberboard (MDF)
  • particleboard
  • low density fiberboard

The residential market includes new and improvement and repair applications for:

  • roofing (e.g., sheathing, decking, framing, trim)
  • flooring (subflooring and finish flooring)
  • wall sheathing
  • cabinets (e.g., cabinet boxes, drawers, drawer fronts, doors)
  • siding
  • doors (and, though a negligible portion of the market, windows – primarily hurricane-proof storm types)
  • interior paneling
  • other construction applications, including moulding and trim, stairways, concrete formwork, temporary shelters, decks, and porches

Residential buildings are structures designed primarily for human habitation. They include:

  • single-family detached houses
  • single-family attached houses (e.g., townhouses)
  • apartment or condominium buildings with multiple dwelling units
  • manufactured homes, which are housing units constructed on a permanent chassis with wheels for on-road transportation to the site at which the unit will be placed

The market can also be considered in terms of project type:

  • New construction involves the creation of a new building or structure on previously unimproved land or on land available after the demolition of a previous building or structure on that site. If, however, the building or structure is being attached to an existing structure, the construction would be considered an improvement and not new construction.
  • Improvements include additions, alterations, conversions, expansions, reconstruction, renovations, rehabilitations, and major replacements (such as the complete replacement of a roof or heating system) to an existing building or structure. Expenditures on improvements are classified as construction expenditures.
  • Maintenance and repairs are occasional or periodic expenditures that are intended to forestall the deterioration of an existing building or structure. They are less extensive in scope than a major rehabilitation of the building or structure. Maintenance and repair spending is not classified as construction expenditure, though it can be added to improvement spending to comprise improvement and repair expenditures.

Historical data for 2009, 2014, and 2019 and forecasts to the years 2024 and 2029 are provided for wood panel shipments and demand in square feet and current dollars. Data in square feet are actually volumetric measurements, since the various types of wood panels are each associated with a standard thickness. These standard thicknesses (as most commonly accepted within the industry) are:

  • 1/8 inch - hardboard
  • 3/8 inch for OSB and softwood plywood
  • 1/2 inch for insulation board and low density fiberboard
  • 3/4 inch for particleboard, hardwood plywood, and MDF

Data for each board type are provided in terms of that product's standard thickness. In order to improve the comparability of wood panel demand in volume terms across different board types, data are converted to a 3/8 inch basis. These measures are used in the market and regional sections, as well as for product aggregations in the product sections. Unless another thickness is specified, square feet measurements in the study are on a 3/8 inch basis.

Wood panels used as a component of other wood panel products, such as particleboard used to make plywood, are counted separately and considered to be engineered wood for the purposes of this study. Although this results in some double counting of wood panel demand, this treatment is in line with that used within the industry.

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