The 4 Composite Deck Features that Matter Most to Clients
As an experienced decking contractor, it can sometimes be easy forget what clients care about most when they are researching options for their new composite deck project. Too often, contractors mistakenly assume that the price of materials and the overall cost of the job is always the deciding factor. Often, it’s not.
To understand what matters most to homeowners when building a new composite deck, we conducted a DuraLife customer survey – and the results were surprising.
Here’s a look at the top 4 factors that clients considered most when deciding to build a new deck:
1 – Color – Across the board, customers all said that finding the right color of composite decking material and complementary products such as railings, gates, lights and other accessories was very important. When a homeowner ‘falls in love’ with a particular shade of brown, grey or tan that coordinates with their homes’ style and the surrounding landscape, it can become difficult for them to consider anything else.
Unlike some composite decking manufacturers who place a premium price tag on specific ‘high end’ colors, DuraLife offers each of its colors on both its premium Siesta profile and value MVP profile products. This helps ensure that customers can get the color they want at the price they can afford.
2 – Reputation Matters – Most contractors know that their reputation matters. Our survey shows that it matters when it comes to building products, too. Installing or upgrading an outdoor living space with new composite decking represents a significant investment for many homeowners. What’s more, the expectations surrounding the decision to take on this type of home improvement project are that once it’s done, it will be a source of fun and relaxation.
Unlike, for instance, deciding to install a new boiler in your home, a new deck is something that potentially dozens of people – from the homeowners to friends, family, neighbors and others passing by – are going to be physically and visually interacting with for many years to come.
Homeowners want the peace of mind that comes with selecting a reputable, trusted brand of composite decking. Contractors should be prepared to share not only satisfied customer testimonials and references for the homeowner to contact, but also provide them with information about the decking products features and benefits.
3 – Price - Yes, how much a project costs is a very important part of the decision-making process. That said, it’s important that contractors take the time to explain the difference between price and value. For example, the cost of installing a deck made with traditional ‘pressure treated wood’ (PTW) will likely be lower than the cost of building a deck made with a composite material made with reclaimed hardwood, polypropylene, post-industrial and post-consumer recycled content.
However, while the initial cost of the project may be lower, homeowners should also understand that unlike composite decking, pressure treated wood must be maintained year after year with paint, stain, sanding and cleaning. All of this care and attention begins to deteriorate almost immediately after it’s finished. Not only are there additional (forever) costs associated with purchasing materials such as paint and prime, there’s also a time-value cost to consider for the homeowner to actually complete the work.
Along the same lines, not all composite decking materials are created equally. Some types are more susceptible to fading and discoloration. While others have less strength and can either warp or feel ‘spongy’ underfoot. Uniquely designed and made with polypropylene plastic and hardwood, DuraLife composite decking outperforms all other wood and composite decking products made with polyethylene.
4 – Product Availability – Here in New England, and especially in Maine, the amount of time that people can comfortably enjoy themselves outside is relatively short – and precious. When a client decides that they want to add an outdoor living area to their home, they typically will also want the project to be completed in time for them to actually use it before the season ends.
Contractors should keep this in mind and partner with suppliers and manufacturers that either maintain a strong inventory or have the ability to quickly produce and/or source products and materials nearby. This can also become a factor when customers request ‘special order’ types of finishes.
As the premier provider of tough, all-weather polypro composite decking, we understand that while pricing a project competitively is important, being able to communicate the long-term value of installing a higher quality, longer lasting composite decking material to the homeowner can also alleviate much of pricing pressure, too. As Ben Franklin once said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.”
This article is made possible by DuraLife. DuraLife’s unique polypropylene and hardwood composite decking materials simply outperform all other wood and composite decking products. More solid and safe under foot, DuraLife decking is backed by a 25-year warranty. It is stain and fade resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and is available in the colors and deck railing options you want. Get Samples, try our Composite Deck & Railing Visualizer, or contact DuraLIfe now to learn more.