Domestic demand for construction chemicals used in on-site applications is projected to grow 8.2% per year through 2018 to $12.1 billion, according to “Construction Chemicals,” a recent study from The Freedonia Group Inc. Gains will be primarily driven by double-digit increases in building construction expenditures, supported by healthy economic growth and an improved consumer financial outlook.

Increased economic activity and greater government investment in the aging infrastructure of the U.S. will also support healthy consumption of construction chemicals in non-building applications. While overall growth will be underpinned by the strong increases in construction spending, the product mix is expected to continue to shift toward new, higher-value formulations and technologies as the market adapts to environmental regulations and more stringent building codes.

“Following several years of recovery, a fully healed U.S. housing market will lead to a jump in new residential construction activity,” said analyst Nick Cunningham. Nonresidential building construction activity is also expected to increase rapidly through 2018. Economic growth will support a rebound in both the industrial and office and commercial sectors.

Greater economic activity will also require increased investment in infrastructure, both public and private, particularly for the U.S.’ aging transportation network. This will lead to healthy growth in non-building construction chemicals demand, especially for cement and asphalt additives and coatings. Growing demand for chemical additives and coatings will also result from the increasing use of new concrete technologies that offer superior performance and ease of placement, such as high performance concrete and self-consolidating concrete.

Higher value formulations will continue to gain share in many product segments in response to both environmental and performance concerns. Volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations have been enacted at both the federal and state level; this trend will be further intensified by consumer preferences for low-odor and easy cleanup water-based products. The transition toward better-performing, longer-lasting products will boost the value of the construction chemicals market going forward, though the decreased replacement frequency and volume of chemicals required will serve as a check on further growth. 

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