The Growing Opportunity for Outdoor Living Space Construction
Over the last several years, homeowners have increasingly looked outside their homes for new places to relax and entertain. That’s not to say that they’ve necessarily looked very far. Each year, homeowners are seeking new and creative ways to transform simple outdoor decks and patios into unique outdoor retreats. Residential construction industry research reveals that homeowners are asking for outdoor living areas that offer ‘all the comforts of home’ such as comfy furniture, cooking appliances and even refrigeration!
As contractors, it’s important to communicate with customers about what they see as their ultimate use for the new – or newly remodeled – area. For example, in areas of the country where homeowners will be using the deck throughout the year, the furniture and appliances they install will likely be there for several seasons. In such cases, it makes a lot of sense to recommend to the customer that they go with a high-quality composite decking material that doesn’t need to be painted or re-stained every year. Moving around large, heavy furniture can be a drag. Installing a composite decking product, especially one that resists fading and staining, allows the homeowner to enjoy more time outside without having to worry about rotating their outdoor setup to avoid discoloration from one section to another.
Here’s a quick look at some of the other trends that Qualified Remodeler magazine recently published after surveying its readers from around the country.
Trend #1 - Deck Expansion Projects Are Consistently Rated as One of The Most Popular Remodeling Projects in Every Region.
From downsizing empty nesters to homeowners with 3-4 bedroom homes designed with very little open space for entertaining, the appeal and convenience of an outdoor living area is something that many homeowners want. And, as new materials such as wood composites and lightweight metals encased in vinyl dramatically improve the appearance, comfort and longevity of outdoor furniture and other accessories, it’s becoming more feasible for homeowners to furnish their outdoor spaces more lavishly than ever before. That may be one reason that some contractors and home remodelers are getting new business from clients that they’ve previously worked with on interior projects. Many times, homeowners will want to create the same ‘look and feel’ in their outdoor space as they have (or have seen elsewhere) indoors.
Once a homeowner has a good relationship going with a building pro, it’s not unusual for them to want to work with them again on other projects around their home.
Trend #2 – People (Everywhere) Want Outdoor Kitchens.
In the Northeast, cooking outdoors in the summer is a cherished tradition that many seek to extend well past Columbus Day. We’ve all seen – and some of us are – one of those people outside firing up the grill in the middle of a snow storm to cook a steak. While people in coastal California may not have to worry as much about blizzards and frozen pipes when designing an outdoor living spaces, there’s still a substantial amount of water and moisture in the air to consider.
Storage cabinets and appliances should be air tight and moisture resistant and the cooking area should be covered (shaded) to further protect it from things falling from the sky. Depending on the location, homeowners are also requesting their outdoor spaces be able to accommodate various degrees of entertainment – from fire pits and pizza ovens to televisions and movie projector screens.
In either environment, contractors should recommend installing a composite decking product that will provide the homeowner with a safe, stable and maintenance free surface in all types of weather.
Trend #3 – Customers Can’t Find Companies That Excel at Creating Outdoor Living Areas.
For one reason or another, many contractors do not promote themselves as providing “outdoor design and building services.” As a result, customers can become frustrated when trying to locate a company to install, repair or remodel their outdoor deck. Sometimes, weather can prohibit builders from realistically working outdoors year-round. However, firms that offer deck building, hardscaping and other outdoor remodeling services should at least incorporate these into their marketing communications materials – if only for 6 months of the year. Otherwise, customers who search (online) for companies to consider for their upcoming outdoor project may pass over a business that they believe only does interior work. If you are a remodeling company that is able and willing to do this type of job, it only makes sense to let prospective customers know this. Even if it doesn’t turn into new work, it may lead to a future opportunity to provide the customer with other services.
Trend #4 – Customers Building Outdoor Living Spaces Are Doing So Because They Want To – Not Because They Have To.
Qualified Remodeler’s research found that the homeowners who are interested in building outdoor additions are wealthier and have more discretionary income than the average homeowner. Whereas someone looking to add/repair/remodel a bathroom may be ultra-sensitive to the project’s budget, clients interested in adding an outdoor living are to their home will more likely be more concerned about the final result and less so about the cost of each individual component. This budgetary freedom can give contractors the confidence to suggest products and building materials such as high-quality, long lasting wood composite decking, that may initially cost a little more, but whose aesthetic appeal and overall performance will eventually prove to be a wise investment.
In the same way, the installation of an outdoor living area is a project that tends not to be too disruptive to the homeowners while construction is underway. Unlike most interior remodels, including kitchens and bathrooms, there’s not as much pressure to finish the job in order for the homeowners lives to return back to normal. Here again, there’s an opportunity for an outdoor builder to shine by incorporating some basic project management efficiencies and by using new products and technologies (such as the innovative DuraLife Step-Clip™ hidden fastener system) to finish projects earlier than a customer might expect.
Conclusion About Outdoor Living Spaces
Whether it’s your primary business or something that you’re able to incorporate into your existing workload, it seems the outdoor living trend is here to stay. From new tools to help you design more elaborate sites to new building materials that make it faster and easier to create beautiful, durable composite decks, construction businesses nationwide are thinking outside the box when it comes to outdoor living areas.
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.