In Depth: Insulation and Housewrap

Sunday, February 16, 2020
U.S. demand for insulation is projected to see strong gains, as many states are adopting the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) mandates, which call for nearly 30 percent more insulation in new housing construction that previous versions. In addition, interest in increasing the energy efficiency of existing structures will help growth in these product segments. These trends should support growth in the U.S. insulation market through 2021, according to the Freedonia Group.
 
Meanwhile, Home Insulation Research Labs' "2019 Annual Builder Practices Survey" found that home buyers are beginning to favor smaller homes, and increasing labor and materials costs are forcing builders to find lower-cost alternatives. Fiberglass remains the dominant material in the insulation and housewrap markets.
 
The 2019 Annual Builder Practices Survey found that fiberglass batts and blown fiberglass made up a combined 71 percent of insulation used in single-family homes in 2018. Furthermore, the Freedonia Group predicts that fiberglass will continue to be the market leader thanks to the fact that construction professionals and hobbyists continue to favor the material because of its affordability, decent performance, and ease of installation. However, rising demand for sustainable residential building materials, techno-logical enhancements in thermal insulation, research in transparent thermal products, and an increasing demand for products that deliver higher R-value and better moisture management drive product development and innovation.
 
LBM distributors must be able to provide sound product knowledge for both the builder and homeowner. In the case of housewrap, it is the responsibility of the deal to educate builders and homeowners alike on the necessity of the product, according to Scott Tennison, director of innovation and launch management for Kimberly-Clark. Sheathing tape systems, also known as integrated air and water barrier systems, continue to gain acceptance among builders and contractors. LBM deals can make a product switch easier for customers by staying up-to-date on product information and by being a resource for product knowledge.
 
Michael Berger (LBM Journal) 2/16/2020

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