As the market revives, preferences are changing.
BY: CRAIG A. SHUTT
As the housing market revives, so too does the desire among homeowners to expand their space, often using their recovering home equity. With outdoor living continuing to increase in popularity, deck projects are gaining more attention, and more products are being introduced to compete for those dollars. The expanding options require dealers to ensure that customers are educated on the different benefits and to make sure to have the right products in stock.
“Sales are picking up in remodeling, but we’re also seeing growth in decks for new-home construction,” says Jonathan Wierengo, vice president of marketing for The Tapco Group, maker of Kleer decking products. “Homeowners want to start out with a deck on their homes now, even in the upper Midwest, and builders want to provide that amenity more often.” It’s an especially strong trend with smaller builders in the 25- to 50-home annual range. “They’re trying to differentiate themselves by adding more outdoor living amenities so they stand out.”
The popularity of outdoor living spaces is helping fuel the growth, says Steve Booz, vice president of new product development and product management for the Exterior Business unit at Royal Building Products. “People are spending more time outside, and a natural extension of that is wanting larger decks with more features and better aesthetics. They are adding lighting, sound, fire and water features.”
They also expect more from their decks, notes Adam Zambanini, vice president of marketing at Trex. “Consumer expectations keep rising,” he says.
“They now want more value, after the recession, at every level.” Trex has condensed its offering but still provides a good-better-best approach. “It’s a simplified portfolio, in large part balancing price point versus aesthetics.”