By Tommy Knappich, Johns Manville General Manager of Building Insulation
Johns Manville has seen strong momentum across all facets of our Insulation Business – we saw an uptick beginning in the second quarter of 2018 and have maintained a steady increase into the third quarter of this year. While all channels are performing well, the market has grown from mid-single digits to high-single digits based on growth in the blowing wool and spray foam categories.
Multifamily, hospitality and warehouse segments, have been drivers in commercial growth with continued sales of blowing wool, metal building insulation, mineral wool and sheathing. The residential new construction channel is also showing strong growth with batts, blowing wool, and rigid polyiso sheathing all showing strong sales.
JM recently restarted our Penbryn, NJ fiberglass facility due to our confidence in the continued growth of the market. This facility will be key to delivering product solutions to our customers in the Northeast and to also support the overall insulation market growth.
One of the primary challenges that we continue to keep a close eye on is inflation on raw materials and transportation. Transportation costs is an area we are working on diligently- driver shortages, strong industry demand and the implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) are all key factors in driving up overall transportation costs.
August housing starts were up 9.4 percent year-over-year. While there are some headwinds in the residential segment – including interest rates and high home prices – growth is steady. We’re optimistic that growth will continue through at least 2020. All in all, it’s a great time to be in the insulation business whether you are a manufacturer, contractor or distributor.