Gains will be driven primarily by the widespread shift among preserved wood retailers toward stocking a greater concentration of ground-contact-rated decking materials and taking smaller orders for above-ground-rated decking. According to analyst Matt Breuer, “New American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) standards language suggests that some structural components may need to be treated for ground contact even if they do not touch the ground but are near to the ground, are critical to the structural integrity of the deck, are poorly ventilated, or would be difficult to repair or replace.” Although this language means that the decisions are to be made on a case-by-case basis by contractors, inspectors or consumers, many preserved wood retailers have already begun converting their decking stock to ground-contact-rated lumber.
As non-wood decking cuts into demand for wood decking materials, demand for preservatives in this application in turn will suffer. Similarly, there are a number of wood species, including cedar and redwood, that require little or no preservative to offer a long and reliable service life. Decking material made of these types of wood have consistently gained market share and will continue to do so, limiting slightly the gains that preservatives will make in this application overall.