Homeowners are looking to put their personal stamp on their decks, investing more as they spend more time outdoors entertaining. As a result, the markets for railings, lighting, shade structures, built-ins and other creative accessories have skyrocketed. Sorting out the options creates a challenge as more companies enter the market and more deck-board manufacturers add accessories to their lines to create a one-stop approach.
“There’s no question there’s a continuation of the trend to expand outdoor living space,” says Kevin Harris, director of sales and marketing at AGS Stainless. “Homeowners want the comfort of their living room on their decks for entertaining more often.” Adds Rick Kapres, vice president of sales for Versatex, “Deck accessories have become an area of growth every year. Outdoor living activity is expanding more and customers want to do more with their outside living area. They want more than a basic 12 x 16 deck, but they also want it to be low maintenance.”
Railing Options Boom
A key area for growth has been railings, where options are multiplying in all types of materials. “The biggest trend we’re seeing is more style and design attributes coming into play in customer choices,” says Kym Dennis, marketing manager for Fortress Railing Products. “It’s not just a railing you add to the deck as an afterthought, it’s a design feature that’s coming into its own. You see more options today with lighting, post caps, top rails and new colors. There are more material options too, not just metal. The consumer is getting more creative, especially with the many different options manufacturers are bringing to the table to choose from.”
|The new Elliptical railing from AGS Stainless offers an ergonomically designed top rail that fits comfortably into a hand. The railing,|
which is compatible with any AGS system, has a 2-1/4″-wide gripping area and is made of 100% stainless steel, providing both strength and ease of maintenance. It helps extend design elements inside the home to the outdoor living area.
Larry Boyts, vice president of sales and marketing at Digger Specialties, agrees. “We’ve been selling railings for 22 years, and there have been a lot of changes,” he says. “Vinyl railings were very big for a long time, and they are gaining market share away from composites while losing ground to aluminum railing. People wanted more colors and options than vinyl could provide. Dark colors were needed, and aluminum railing is the best choice.”