Change comes slowly to the construction industry as builders often stick with what they know best to lower their risks. But change does come, and the current shortage of skilled labor is one factor encouraging builders to use products that make tighter, more energy-efficient building enclosures in less time.
Industry analysts call it “multi-functionality” or the “systems approach,” but the result is enhanced sheathing, insulation and weather-resistive barriers that help builders do more in less time by combining several steps into one. At the same time, manufacturers are introducing products that help builders meet growing expectations for tighter, better-insulated enclosures.
“There is a shortage of construction workers in the United States,” says Nancy Musselwhite, an industry analyst with Principia. “Anything you can do to take time off the application of a product—if you can combine two products into one, if you can make it go faster, if you cant take labor out—a builder is likely to look at it.”
Total demand for weather resistant barriers in North America was valued at $4 billion based on manufacturers’ factory gate level in 2017. Residential construction, led by roofing applications, accounted for the majority of market demand. Principia Consulting’s recent report Weather Resistant Barriers – Residential & Commercial 2018 covers products with a primary or secondary function of providing air, water or vapor barrier properties and are applied either to an exterior wall behind exterior cladding or to a roof underneath the exposed roofing during construction. Over the next three years, the forecast for weather resistant barriers demand in North America is estimated to reach $4.4 billion, or nearly a 4% CAGR through 2020.
Capturing Market Share
Suppliers need to consider how to capture more share of this expected market growth. For roof underlayment, demand typically follows the repair and remodel market with over 55% of the roof underlayment replaced on a re-roofing project. However, only 10% of the time is the roof underlayment the same brand or manufacturer as the roofing materials selected. Many suppliers provide complete product lines, from base sheets to cap sheets, shingles, underlayment, accessories and flashing.
Figure 1 provides a look at how often the roof underlayment is the same as the roofing material, shown by respondent type for both residential and commercial projects.
Figure 1: Percent Roof Underlayment Match to Brand of Roof Materials Selected
Architects and builders typically are inclined to pay greater attention to warranty and be encouraged by the manufacturer to use the same brand of roof underlayment as the roofing materials selected. However, when contractors are involved in choosing the roof underlayment they are more likely to select the product they are most familiar with rather than the brand that matches the roof materials used. This preference is found to be similar for both residential and commercial projects.
Commercial builders also are the most likely to match the brand of roof underlayment product with the brand of roof materials. These builders are more brand and product sensitive regardless of whether specified or promoted as best practice.
Suppliers who sell to both residential and commercial markets and offer a full complement of products for roofing would benefit from targeted marketing and incentive programs. Such programs may entice contractors and residential builders to use the same brand of roof underlayment as the roof materials used. The benefits realized for a supplier could range from increased revenue and market share to less price competition and minimized technical risks.
For more insights on the market dynamics and growth for roof underlayment and other weather resistant barriers, contact Principia about its latest report Weather Resistant Barriers – Residential & Commercial 2018.
Learn more about our deeper coverage of weather resistant barriers in residential construction through our Principia BuilderSeries® data products at www.principiaconsulting.com/principia-builder-series.
Total demand for weather resistant barriers in North America was valued at $4 billion based on manufacturers’ factory gate level in 2017. Residential construction, led by roofing applications, accounted for the majority of market demand. Principia Consulting’s recent report on weather resistant barriers includes products with a primary or secondary function of providing air, water or vapor barrier properties and are applied either to an exterior wall behind any cladding or to a roof underneath the exposed roofing during construction.
Weather Resistant Barriers Continue to Grow and Evolve
Weather resistant barriers penetration into North America has increased over the last several years in wall applications for both residential and commercial markets. For the residential market, although housewrap remains the dominant material for wall applications, other materials have made inroads. In roof applications, synthetic roofing underlayment has increased its share of the market significantly since Principia’s first weather resistant barriers study in 2010. As Sue Ross, Principia’s industry analyst for weather resistant barriers, points out, “Expected industry growth is a function of organic growth in the underlying construction markets, both new and existing structures, and the continued focus on energy efficiency in both residential and commercial construction driving increased market penetration. Weather resistant barriers are expected to reach almost $4.4 billion in 2020, growingnearly 4% annually over this three‐year period.
Direct to Dealer Remains the Primary Channel Outlet
The primary channel to market varies significantly depending on whether roof or wall. For roofing underlayment, 1‐step distribution is the primary method, for the most part bypassing 2‐step distribution. Overall, more than half of weather resistant barrier products flow through the 1‐step distributor channel, which includes roofing, gypsum and masonry supply houses. Traditional distributors with a focus on roofing and siding products generally account for most of 1‐step distribution sales of weather resistant barriers.
The Weather Resistant Barriers Residential & Commercial 2018 includes market demand by census region/division and product type, roof vs wall application, as well as by construction market (residential versus commercial), construction type (new versus repair and remodel), building type, and distribution channel. Using 2017 as a baseline year, the report provides forecasts through 2020.
To purchase the report or learn more about the scope and content covered, please contact Frank Dix, Director of Business Development at email@example.com.
About Principia Consulting
Principia is a leading research and consulting firm focused exclusively on the building materials and construction industry. For over 20 years, we have helped our clients grow faster and more profitably by providing high quality information, analytics and insights. Visit www.principiaconsulting.com for more information and the latest building materials and construction industry insights.
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 everchanging 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.