The Waiting is Over
One week ago today, my town was hammered with 10 inches of snow. Today, the temperatures are forecast to enter the 60s, which will all but eliminate any remaining snow on lawns and houses. Even though this was a relatively mild winter (thanks to our friends in the Northeastern states for taking on snow duty this winter), spring is always welcome. This year, it’s even more so. Because all indications are that this spring marks the beginning of what promises to be a solid year for the residential construction industry.
One more thing that I love about spring is that April marks our big annual deck issue. This year, in addition to interviewing 16 leading deck manufacturers for the InDepth: Decks feature (p. 44), we talked with eight companies who specialize in deck fasteners for the InDepth: Deck Fasteners feature (p. 58). Plus nine companies who manufacture deck lighting, railings, trim and accessories for the InDepth: Extra feature (p. 66). And lest we leave anyone out, we include 23 more products in our Decking products roundup (p. 72). Not only is this our most complete deck coverage ever, this is the single biggest issue of LBM Journal in our 13-year history.
Why the big deal? According to Principia, U.S. decking demand will top $4 billion in 2015. That number should only continue to grow. And that spells opportunity for dealers who are actively looking for categories with potential to generate healthy margins via brands that aren’t carried at every store in town. Indeed, as the market grows, product differentiation is evolving…and exploding. Today’s treated lumber boasts features unheard of just 20 years ago, with better protection and solid warranties. Boards made of PVC, wood-plastic composites and capstock composites look more like wood than ever before, and many carry longer warranties to give homeowners peace of mind. And you can’t talk decking without looking at redwood and cedar, modified wood like Accoya and Thermory, or exotic hardwoods like ipe and tigerwood.
The evolution doesn’t stop at the boards. New fastener technologies, and new ways to apply those fasteners, continue to emerge. And the finishing touches—railings, lighting, trim and other accessories—allow homeowners to give their backyard oasis a unique, personal touch.
While decking is a focus of this issue, you won’t want to miss this month’s “Real Issues. Real Answers.” feature, in which hundreds of readers weigh in on Firing Customers. Our unmatched columnists, led by industry veteran Bill Lee, share invaluable business insights to help you make the most of opportunities that will present themselves as the year progresses.
Whether you’ve been waiting for winter to end, or for a fresh building season to begin, it’s safe to say the waiting is over. And unless I’m mistaken…it’s gonna be good.