Demand for cast polymers in the US is forecast to increase 5.3 percent per year to 248 million square feet in 2016. Gains will be driven by a sharp rebound in housing completions from the depressed levels of 2011; however, even by 2021 the number of new homes built will not reach the peak levels achieved in 2006 before the downturn. The residential improvement and repair segment will continue to account for the majority of cast polymer demand, thus an upswing in US residential remodeling activity. Demand for cast polymers will be further aided by a recovery in the nonresidential construction spending market. Greater market penetration by cast polymers in place of more traditional surfacing materials, such as laminates, will further benefit demand. In most applications, cast polymers offer low maintenance requirements as well as resistance to stains, moisture, impact and other damage caused by wear and tear.
Engineered stone is expected to post the most rapid advances in cast polymer demand through 2016. Residential consumers will continue to be attracted to the material because of its performance advantages and because it is designed to resemble high-end natural stone but with more color options and greater durability. Engineered stone demand in the nonresidential building construction market will be supported by specifiers seeking materials materials that are impervious to biological contaminants and requiring minimal maintenance.
Solid surface materials will continue to account for the largest share of cast polymer demand, with 41 percent of the total market in 2016. While solid surface benefits from cost advantages, increased competition from natural stone and engineered stone will limit gains. Many consumers perceive stone as superior in performance and aesthetics over solid surface. Demand for gel-coated composites (e.g., cultured marble) will be supported by their rising use in nonresidential building construction applications. Gains will also be driven by trends in residential bathrooms (a greater number and more elaborate designs), an area where gel-coated composites are most frequently applied.
The countertop market will account for 86 percent of cast polymer demand in 2016. The new housing segment will provide the most rapid gains, as housing completions rebound and builders looking to make homes more marketable increasingly choose cast polymer countertops instead of laminates or tile. Nevertheless, the residential improvement and repair segment will continue to account for the majority of cast polymer countertop demand. Designs that call for larger kitchens and multiple bathrooms will also promote demand. In nonresidential countertop applications, solid surface materials will make gains in institutional settings, such as hospitals and schools, because these materials offer resistance to biological contamination.
Details on these and other findings are contained in the upcoming Freedonia industry study, Solid Surface & Other Cast Polymer Materials, presents historical demand data for the years 2001, 2006 and 2011, plus forecasts for 2016 and 2021 by material, product, end use, and geographic region of the US. The study also assesses market environment factors, evaluates company market share and profiles competitors in the US industry.