Home Innovation Insights

New Study on Canadian Market for Building Products.

Ed Hudson, MBA
May 1, 2014

Time to Rethink Canada

Some U.S. manufacturers of building materials have overlooked Canada as an important part of their market development efforts, instead concentrating on expanding their presence into new U.S. geographies or penetrating deeper into existing markets. This may have been rational, for example, in 2005 when the Canadian housing market about 1/10th the size of the U.S. market (measured in new homes completed). Last year, Canada’s housing market was about 1/5th the size of the U.S. market. The stability of the Canadian housing market is also noteworthy, and the anemic rebound of the U.S. new home market are more reasons to take a closer look at Canada.

It’s Not Just an Extension of the U.S. Market for Building Materials…

Despite some similarities in U.S. and Canadian home styles and construction methods, new entrants to this market are cautioned against assuming it’s just an extension of the U.S. market. Builder codes, climate, and culture are different, leading to differences in how, why and what building materials are chosen. For example, spray foam insulation is used in about a quarter of all new Canadian homes, about double the share of U.S. new homes. New Canadian homes are much more likely to be sold with finished basements than their U.S. counterparts.

They Don’t Build Them Like They Used To…

And the Canadian market for building materials isn’t static either. Since our last study of this market in 2008, we’ve found some examples of rapid change:

  • Housewrap is used on 86% of all new Canadian homes, up from 63% in 2008
  • Use of wood-based exteriors has increased dramatically—siding, exterior doors and windows included
  • Solid wood interior doors have far surpassed hollow-core doors in single-family homes, but not in multifamily
  • One-half inch drywall still dominates interior finishes, but there is movement towards using 5/8-inch drywall

Canadian Builder Practice Information You Can Use

For the first time since 2008, Home Innovation Research Labs has conducted the Canadian Builder Practices Survey. Like the U.S. version, this study quantifies builders’ detailed purchases of building materials for new homes. The following report categories are available now for building materials purchases in 2013:

  • Beams & Headers
  • Exterior Doors
  • Fire Sprinkler Systems
  • House Wraps and Radiant Barriers
  • Insulation
  • Interior Doors
  • Interior Finishes
  • New Housing Characteristics 
  • Patio Doors
  • Plumbing Fixtures
  • Plumbing Piping
  • Roofing
  • Sheathing - Floors, Walls and Roofs
  • Siding & Exterior Wall Finish
  • Structural Systems - Floors, Walls and Roofs
  • Windows 

A description of each report is available, just click on the report titles to view a summary of their contents.

Reports on Canadian Remodeling Purchases Available Next Month

Home Innovation’s Consumer Practices Survey program documents building materials purchased for Canadian home remodeling as well. Twenty-seven separate reports on products and materials used for residential remodeling are produced each year. About 6,000 responses have already been gathered in this survey, and the following reports will be available in May.

  • Appliances
  • Bathroom Accessories
  • Cabinets for Kitchen & Bath
  • Cement Usage
  • Countertops
  • Deck and Porch Railings
  • Exterior Doors
  • Faucets
  • Fences and Landscape Walls
  • Fireplaces & Woodstoves
  • Flooring
  • Garage Doors
  • Insulation 
  • Interior Doors
  • Interior Finish Materials
  • Outdoor Structures
  • Patio Doors
  • Plumbing Fixtures
  • Radiant Floor Heating
  • Roofing
  • Sheathing
  • Shutters and Trim
  • Siding and Exterior Cladding
  • Soffit and Fascia
  • Structural Systems
  • Windows 

Might the Canadian market be your key to success in 2014 and beyond? I look forward to discussing opportunities with the Canadian market for building products and services. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions or help you discuss a Canadian market strategy.


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