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Weather resistant barriers (WRB) demand increased from $3.7 billion in 2013 to $4.5 billion in 2016, a 7% annual increase. Residential construction, which accounted for 79% of demand, grew fastest at 8% annually driven largely by increases in new housing starts, as seen in the figure below.

What are Weather Resistant Barriers and Why Used?
Weather resistant barriers are membranes, either mechanically applied or self-adhered, or coatings that provide protection from moisture, bulk water, and air (wind) through walls or rooftops. These products are part of the building envelope, and are designed to protect building areas from damage and/or deterioration. In addition, by controlling moisture flow into and out of a building, WRBs are used to improve occupant comfort as well as protection of equipment and fixtures within the building.

Weather resistant barriers are evolving with respect to product definitions and requirements. Traditionally, WRBs have been defined as products that prevent water from entering buildings while under construction. However, now WRB products also have performance characteristics controlling air, vapor, bulk water and thermal transmission from both inside and outside of a building structure and throughout the building envelope. Understanding how this works helps prevent condensation from forming, which may cause rot and associated problems if it cannot escape the building envelope.

Weather resistant barrier requirements vary throughout the U.S., especially in areas with extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes, heavy rain and humidity in the South, or blizzards, extreme cold and gusting winds in the Northeast. For instance, new construction and remodeling standards regulated by the Miami-Dade codes focus on impact, windows, waterproofing, and roof-to-wall connection stability. The figure below shows the 2016 Miami-Dade residential demand for WRB products totaling $30 million, which is up by $7 million from just a year prior.

Market Landscape and Product Trends
WRB was marked by several key business transactions in the last few years. In 2016, Henry Company which offers solutions in managing water, vapor and air in building structures was acquired by American Securities which has a strong investment focus on acquiring companies that offer energy-efficient building solutions. Others have created industry partnerships to extend and strengthen their reach into the market. One such partnership resulted in the Cavity Complete System, created by two Ohio companies, Owens Corning and Tremco. to help contractors installing air and vapor barrier systems assure successful and compatible performance and code compliance. Tremco has also partnered with USG to develop Securock ExoAir 430, an integrated gypsum sheathing panel with a factory applied fluid air barrier membrane. Both system trends were identified in the WRB 2014 report and have begun to see advances in the marketplace.

Latest Market Coverage
Principia’s continued monitoring of this market space is the foundation for our upcoming report on the WRB industry that is planned for release in the fourth quarter of 2017. The information and insights in this report will provide an in-depth view on current and projected demand for these products, product flow through supply and distribution, with a focus on the product and market trends shaping the ever-changing requirements of the building envelope.

To learn more about Principia’s weather-resistant barriers data or upcoming 2017 industry report, click on the link below.