Behind-the-wall plumbing products comprise the pipe and fittings used in water distribution and drain, waste, and vent (DWV) applications, as well as those items used in fire suppression systems, such as valves and fire sprinklers. Growth will be spurred by the expected increase in building construction expenditures, as well as by design trends that call for homes and businesses to have multiple and larger bathrooms with more fittings, which will boost demand for distribution and DWV pipe to carry water to and from supply and sewer mains. However, more rapid demand gains will be checked by continuing consumer demand for low-cost plastic products at the expense of metal products traditionally used in behind-the-wall plumbing.
Pipe lines increase
According to study Behind-the-Wall Plumbing from The Freedonia Group, pipe accounted for the largest share of behind-the-wall plumbing products demand in 2015 and will remain the leading product used in this market going forward. Gains will be supported by rising interest in homes and businesses with more bathrooms. In many cases, bathrooms will be located far from existing pipe networks, necessi-tating pipe runs to connect fixtures to water supply and disposal lines. Increasing demand for such amenities as radiant floor heating, his-and-her vanities, and whirlpool bathtubs will also promote pipe demand, as these features require dedicated plumbing pipe lines.
PEX continues to show ease of use, cost effectiveness
Freedonia forecasts PEX and PVC pipe will see the strongest growth in demand through 2020 because of their low cost and ease of installation. PEX is forecast to experience the most rapid gains of all pipe material types as it continues to supplant copper in water distribution applications. Copper pipe will remain the leading pipe material in value terms due to its high per-foot price. However, copper pipe demand in terms of length will advance modestly in the face of competition from plastic pipe.
Fittings & valves show fastest gains
The increasing length and complexity of pipe networks will boost the use of couplings to connect pipes of varying diameters and tees and elbows to change the direction of pipe runs. Demand for pipe supports will rise as builders add clamps and hangers to PEX pipe installations to ensure consistent flow rates. Valve demand in behind-the-wall plumbing will be supported by the intensive use of valves in fire suppression systems to maintain specific pressure levels and to quickly open supply lines in case of fire.
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