Shifting Market Share
As the market rebounds from its recession lows, some of that growth is coming from wood products rather than the higher-end options, says Steve Van Kouteren, business director of industry reports at Principia. “Since 2006-2007, the adoption curve of synthetic decking has flattened, and wood products started to take market share back, especially as wood prices dropped,” he says. “However, synthetic decking continued to grow in the high end of the market, where price is not as important.”
As decks grow in popularity, they also grow in size. “Decks are definitely getting bigger,” says Morgan Raganyi, marketing coordinator for Gossen. “The housing crash caused the square footage to drop some, but now it’s recovering and getting large to suit the size of the home. It’s becoming a natural extension of the home, and homeowners want a beautiful look with high-end boards that will last.”
Jim Seeger, national sales manager at Genova, agrees. “I’ve seen dramatic growth in the size of decks and the amount customers will spend. A few years ago, spending $20,000 on a deck was a huge deal. But in the past year, I’ve seen people spend $50,000 to $70,000 on decks. The bigger the deck, the higherend the products that are used.”
Outside of the high end, though, decks are more modest. “Some decks are getting bigger as homes get bigger, but others are sticking with traditional sizes; 16-ft. by 16-ft. is common,” says Mike Descoteaux, marketing manager at Integrity Composites, maker of DuraLife decking. Rick Wearne, sales and marketing manager at Enduris, has a similar perspective. “The average homeowner’s deck is still about 200 square feet, but when they’re resurfaced, they can grow by about 20%.”
One reason for the growing size is that decks’ functions are expanding. “The size of the deck today depends on the mindset of the customer and their state of life,” Tapco’s Wierengo explains.
Baby Boomers want more space to entertain friends, while younger couples want functional space for family meals. Trex’s Zambanini agrees.
“Customers tend to upgrade as they get older. As they become more experienced and see that the cost per square foot of higherend boards is not that much more in an overall deck project, they make the decks larger to get the deck of their dreams.”