Nichiha Sierra Premium Shake

Numbers released last week by research firm the Freedonia Group say consumer demand for siding in the U.S. is expected to climb a healthy 6.5 percent per year through 2014. The Cleveland-based market research firm attributed the gains to a rebound in housing completions from the depressed levels from 2007 to 2009.

Among material types, the survey says fiber cement and stucco products will see the most rapid advances in the building material industry through 2014. Matt Zielenski, research analyst for The Freedonia Group, says fiber cement is growing in popularity due to its durability and design versatility whereas wood options have taken a slight dip in sales due to maintenance issues.

NAHB Research Center’s Annual Consumer Practices Survey (CPS), conducted in 2009 of about 40,000 U.S. households, reports that the siding and exterior finishes market continued to see an erosion of vinyl siding market share. However, that’s not to say vinyl products should be counted out – the survey also says the category is still the most popular material for re-siding, which saw a 45 percent share in 2009.

“Of course you’ll get differing opinions within different industries and depending on who you ask, but our personal experience is that requests for fiber cement siding are way up over the past three to five years in New England than prior to that time period,” says Peter Martino, owner of United Home Experts & United Painting Co. Martino says an increasing amount of homeowners are aware of fiber cement products such as Nichiha or James Hardie’s Hardieplank (or at least have heard of them).

According to Remodeling magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value” survey, the only upscale projects that cracked the survey’s “Top 10” were the home maintenance projects of fiber-cement siding replacement and vinyl window replacement. The average cost of fiber-cement siding is more than $13,000, but its return on investment reached 83.6 percent, placing it squarely in second place in the survey.

Worldwide, according to Freedonia’s August 2009 global outlook, the use of fiber cement siding is expected to increase in a number of countries, including China and India.