Demand nationwide for windows and doors will rise 6.6% per year from 2009 through 2014 to reach $31.2 billion in sales, with demand for plastic products growing faster than the overall average and demand for metal goods trailing the field, the Freedonia Group forecast Monday.

The Cleveland-based market research firm credits an expected recovery in new home construction as spurring a turnaround from 2004-2009, when demand dropped 4.3% per year to reach $22.7 billion.

Plastics-based windows and doors--including building products made of fiberglass and vinyl--will see a rise in demand of 10.2% per year, rising from $4.53 billion in sales in 2009 to $7.35 billion in 2014, Freedonia predicted.

"Gains will be spurred by rising demand for fiberglass entry doors, which will take market share from wood and steel entry doors," according to Freedonia. "Fiberglass doors are less costly, more aesthetically pleasing, and more energy-efficient than steel doors. While traditionally wood doors were seen as more attractive than those made from fiberglass, improvements in processing techniques have enabled manufacturers to make fiberglass that more closely resembles wood. Further gains for plastic windows and doors will be supported by continuing demand for vinyl windows because of their low cost, durability, minimal maintenance requirements, and superior energy efficiency."

This contrast with more sluggish demand for metal windows and doors, which saw only a 1% annual drop between 2004 and 2009 to overtake wood as the most popular material for these categories. Demand should rise 4.3% per year, going from $10.47 billion in 2009 to $12.95 billion in 2014, according to Freedonia.

"Rebounding housing activity will drive gains" for metal, Freedonia’s forecast predicted. "Moreover, population growth in the South and West, where metal products are most often installed, will also spur advances. Homeowners concerned with preventing storm damage, such as those in coastal regions, will continue to install metal windows and doors. Demand will also be supported by the nonresidential market, where metal products are preferred due to their low cost and durability."

Wood products have been hurt the most over the past five years, incurring a 7.9% annual drop in demand between 2004 and 2009, primarily because of the steep drop in spending on residential building construction, the Freedonia forecast said.

But the firm predicted that demand for wood-based windows and doors would increase 7.2% over the next five years, with demand rising from $7.7 billion in 2009 to $10.9 billion in 2014. "Wood windows and doors are seen as aesthetically pleasing products that add value to a home," according to Freedonia. "However, strong plastic window and door demand, which is taking share from wood, will prevent wood products from supplanting metal products as the market leader."

The forecasts are part of a just-issued report by Freedonia that can be purchased for $5,100.

Craig Webb is editor of ProSales magazine.