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Publication: Journal of Forest Products Business Research
Authors: 0
Reference ID: Volume 7 Article No. 5
Publish Year: 2010
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Title: Builder Perceptions of Wood and Non-Wood Products in the U.S. Top 20 Metro Housing Areas
This paper describes the preferences for structural wood products within the top 20 residential homebuilding markets in the United States. A survey of 945 homebuilders segmented across these markets provides the attributes demanded in structural floors, walls, and decking applications. In order to investigate materials substitution, the survey characterized the performance of
wood, steel, and concrete on these attributes. This quantitative design was complemented with focus groups in four of these markets. Results show that wood products are challenged by concrete in wall and floor systems. While the basis for growth in the use of concrete was traditionally found in the U.S. South, the intended future use of concrete as a structural material was high in
some Northern jurisdictions. However, the discussion sessions with builders tempered this trend. The survey shows that, according to homebuilders, concrete significantly outperforms wood on durability, strength/structural integrity, and acoustic performance. The first two of these attributes are among the three most important ones in floor and wall systems. For wood to remain competitive in walls and floors, these attributes should guide future product development. Plywood and OSB are thought superior to foam sheathing for strength, structural integrity, resistance to jobsite damage, environmental friendliness, and code acceptance. Foam is said to perform better than OSB or Plywood for both acoustics and energy performance. Accordingly, acoustics and energy performance in sheathing applications are valuable paths for product development. In decking applications, composite materials suit better the most demanded attributes, including durability, appearance, and longevity. Most generally, green labeling for building materials was not seen as very important. All suggested attributes of green labeling (sustainability, renewability, carbon neutrality, harvest legality, and formaldehyde safety) were rated equally.

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