Weather-resistant Barrier Market Will Grow

According to a new report, “Weather Resistant Barriers 2014”, from Malvern, Pa.-based Principia, total demand for weather-resistant barriers (WRBs), including building wraps, roofing underlayment, membranes, wrapped sheathing, rain screens, insulating board stock, spray polyurethane foam and building paper will grow at about 7 percent per year from about $3.7 billion in 2013 to $4.5 billion in 2016.

Multifunctional products are leading the growth in WRBs. These products have higher average growth rates and gross margins and represent about 45 percent of the industry’s total value, yet only account for 20 percent of the total volume. Code changes and installation efficiencies are the primary factors driving the product mix shift away from traditional barriers and wraps toward products that offer multiple functionalities.

Sue Ross, project manager for the report, comments: “Many new products have been recently launched by current industry suppliers, as well as new entrants. The new products and systems are designed to prevent air, vapor, water and thermal transmission from transferring across the building envelope, whether it’s inside-out or outside-in, thus reducing a building owner’s heating and cooling costs and improving the integrity and comfort of the building. Balancing energy transfer and moisture management within the building envelope has driven major changes in WRB material demand and will continue to drive product innovation.

“Many new WRB market entrants have roots in other product categories that are used in and around the building envelope and already have established distribution and contractor customers, including waterproofing and coatings, sheathing and panels, foamed insulation, roofing and roofing underlayment, and traditional wraps and membranes,” she continues. “Companies are combining several material technologies to form multifunctional products that are easier and faster to install and are going to market through established channels to take advantage of existing relationships and expand the value of their product portfolios.”

The report contains key market data, trends and strategic insight into all aspects of the business from supply through distribution to designers and end users. Principia conducted discussions with 600 industry participants, including contractors, architects, specifiers, building-envelope scientists, dealers, distributors and manufacturers to compile its comprehensive assessment.

Principia’s interactive Market Model and Forecasting Tool is included with the report. This tool allows subscribers to model hypothetical market performance based on their own assumptions of metrics, such as housing starts, commercial-construction growth, remodeling rate and material market share.