The global demand for fiber cement products is anticipated to reach 34 million metric tons by 2020
The need for safe, sustainable and secure shelter is an innate problem across the world. With growing population, the demand for residential construction has seen an upsurge in the recent past. There are many inventions pertaining to the kind of materials being used in the construction activities. One such important innovation is the fiber reinforcement of cement to increase the strength of the cement. Some of the fibers being used in this industry include asbestos, polypropylene, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), mineral fibers, carbon, Kevlar, lignocellulose and many more. This reinforced cement is used to manufacture products like flat sheets, corrugated sheets, planks, slates and many others. Recently there is an increasing demand for environmentally friendly products in construction. Following this trend, many companies are coming forward with the introduction of eco-friendly fibers like sisal, jute fibers and other vegetable fibers which can replace the usage of asbestos.
Fiber cement products have found its way into construction application of various areas like, residential buildings, non-residential buildings, agriculture, industrial and consumer sectors. The products used for these purposes vary based on the requirements. Fiber cement products are majorly used for cladding, siding and roofing purposes. They are used in agriculture for both building and ancillary purposes. In industries, they are used for fire proofing walls and in household application for ceilings, switch boards and so on.
Residential building sector is forecast to be the fastest growing application for fiber cement market
The new housing market is all set to experience rapid growth in fiber cement demand in the near future. The demand for planks is on a surge under this application as, builders will prefer siding and roofing done from fiber cement over the traditional wooden planks as it offers a similar appearance, but would require little maintenance when compared to its counterpart wood. Also the resistances from external environment or insect attacks, which fiber cement products provide are far superior than wood.
Residential improvement and repairs are forecast to account for the largest share of fiber cement products in the coming future. Consumer interest in bathroom renovation projects supported demand for fiber cement backer board installed beneath decorative tile flooring and bathtub and shower surrounds.
North America leads the global fiber cement market followed by Asia Pacific
The demand for fiber cement is growing at a steady pace across the globe, with a few regions growing much faster than others. The North American market is the largest and the fastest growing market followed by Asia Pacific (APAC). The US is a major market in the North American region growing at 8.0 % annually; it is forecast to reach $2.7 billion by 2017.
Growth in APAC is attributed to the increase in residential construction. With the increase in population and a higher per capita income, the growth of fiber cement products is on an upsurge. On the contrary, the growth in Europe and rest of the world is seen to be steady.
Some of the companies which hold a major share in the production of fiber cement products include, James Hardie Industries PLC, Saint Gobain, Nichia, Maxtile among others.