Study: U.S. fiber cement demand growing at 8.5% annual rate

According to a new Freedonia Group study, U.S. demand for fiber cement products is expected to grow at an 8.5% annual rate, reaching 2.9 billion sq. ft. (valued at $2.2 billion) by 2017.

"Advances will be driven by a rebound in residential building construction spending, particularly in the new housing segment," explained Freedonia Group analyst Matt Zielenski. The study also highlights the role of fiber cement's "favorable aesthetic and performance properties."

The growth is expected to be particularly spurred by the new residential market, where the boom may reach beyond 16% annually.

Within the product category, siding made up the largest share of the 2012 demand -- more than two-thirds. Freedonia says fiber cement has all but surpassed wood in this category, being that it's more resilient and requires less maintenance.

The residential improvement and repair market made up the largest share of the demand in 2012, fueled in large part by bathroom renovations requiring the use of fiber cement backboard.

Additionally, nonresidential projects are expected to spur growth, especially coastal resorts and high-end hotels.