Ceramic Industry

SPECIAL SECTION/BRICK & CLAY RECORD: Baby Steps

July 31, 2008


Demand for brick and block products is projected to increase 2.2% annually to 15.9 billion units valued at $7.9 billion in 2012. Growth will be greatest in concrete products, reflecting stronger growth in key nonresidential building markets. Demand for clay brick products is expected to benefit from a recovery in residential building activity, especially in new single-family housing, rising from a weak 2007 base. These and other trends are presented in Brick & Block, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc.

Consumption of clay brick is forecast to increase 1.8% annually to 10.8 billion units valued at $2.6 billion in 2012. Clay brick remains a very popular siding (nonstructural) material in spite of its initial cost, which is higher than other siding materials. Gains will derive primarily from rebounding opportunities in new residential markets, enhanced by more moderate gains in both residential and nonresidential improvement and repair applications, as well as nonbuilding uses.

Concrete block and brick demand is heavily dependent upon the nonresidential market. Structural concrete block is the dominant product type, accounting for nearly two-thirds of demand in 2007. These products are commonly used as structural wall and foundation materials in both residential and nonresidential markets. Decorative concrete block products, such as split-face block (which has the appearance of cut stone), will post above-average gains, as will concrete pavers, which are available in a wide range of colors/patterns and are growing in popularity in landscaping uses.

On an application basis, the bulk of demand for brick and block products consists of siding materials and structural products. Smaller applications include chimney work, paving, sewer construction and landscaping. The fastest growth will be for products used in fencing and other applications (such as paving and landscaping), reflecting increasing nonresidential building activity and a growing emphasis on landscaping and pedestrian thoroughfare paving as an alternative to concrete paving.

Brick & Block (published 05/2008, 220 pages) is available for $4500 from The Freedonia Group, Inc. For additional information, contact Freedonia at 767 Beta Dr., Cleveland, OH 44143-2326; (440) 684-9600; fax (440) 646-0484; or visit www.freedoniagroup.com.

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