The siding market is expecting above-average gains fueled by a slight rise in housing completions, according to forecasts by the Cleveland-based market research group Freedonia, which predict 8.4% annual growth in siding demand through 2016, hitting 96.5 million squares at a value of $11.4 billion.

Normally driven by new construction, the largest percentage of demand in 2011 came from residential improvements and repairs. Yet the harbinger of growth for next five years will likely be the nonresidential market, which is expected to grow by 6.4% annually to 22.5 million squares.

Among material types, vinyl is expected to remain the industry leader through 2016. Yet its forecasted hold of 34% of the siding market represents a loss of three percentage points from 2011, largely to the growing fiber cement and stucco product segments. While insulated vinyl siding will continue to attract consumers by emulating natural wood or stone, it will be forced to compete and have its growth checked by the longer-term durability of fiber cement and stucco, the survey found.

In annual growth through 2016, demand for vinyl siding is forecasted at 6.6% to reach 32.9 million squares in 2016; fiber cement's 10.5% annual growth will place demand at 15.5 million squares by 2016; stucco should see annual gains of 10.8% to total 14.5 million squares in 2016; and brick is expected grow by 11.3% annually to claim 12.3 million squares by 2016.

The numbers are part of a 365-page report called "Siding to 2016" that Freedonia is seling for $5,100