Homeowner demand for personalized outdoor living space continues to be strong. Now is the time for dealers to dial in their stocking strategy for the 2018 deck-building season.
Here are five industry trends and developments dealers should consider as they plan to meet the needs of deck builders and DIYers this year:
- Maxed-Out Outdoor Space
Today’s homeowners want to make the most of their space. They are looking for creative ways to use their square footage to the fullest—not just within the walls of their home, but between their property lines.
One way lumberyards can capitalize on this interest is by stocking leading deck weatherproofing solutions. These systems can help builders turn the large area under a second-story composite deck into a “dry zone.”
With weatherproofing installed, under-deck space that might have been underutilized or wasted becomes extra living space or a dry storage area for lawn-care equipment, boats, firewood and more.
- Labor-Saving Components
The deck-building industry continues to deal with a major labor shortage. With good labor often hard to find, contractors are seeking products that help them build faster, close jobs more quickly and create capacity.
Builders will make room in their portfolios for on-trend components that are easy to work with and save installation time. Examples include composite deck boards that are strong yet lightweight, pre-assembled railing systems, low-voltage lighting with simple wiring, and solutions that combine weatherproofing and fastening in one product.
- Bringing the Inside Out
Low-maintenance composite decking that resembles tropical hardwood remains popular, but more and more homeowners are pursuing the look of on-trend indoor flooring for their outdoor living space.
In response, some decking manufacturers have introduced composite deck boards that mimic the rustic appearance and texture of distressed hardwood flooring.
One major interior design trend in 2017 was balancing a blend of old and new—for instance, distressed flooring with metallic hardware or granite countertops. As the distressed aesthetic flows outdoors, demand for complementary standout accessories will follow.
- Riveting Railing Systems
Deck railings give contractors and DIYers the design flexibility to personalize outdoor spaces. Available railing options are growing to include even more contemporary styles that can make a deck unique.
As an example, Deckorators introduced for 2018 ALX Contemporary in Brushed Titanium, a sleek and simple aluminum railing with an anodized finish that resists scratches and corrosion.
Glass railing systems that offer clear, unobstructed views are also becoming more prevalent. These systems are perfect for decks overlooking water or mountains.
- Deck Boards with Versatility
Contractors looking to set themselves apart from the competition want truly unique composite decking—boards with technology that gives them more versatility and peace of mind. More lumberyards are considering carrying decking with manufacturer warranty coverage for water and ground contact. Such decking can enable contractors to take on a variety of projects, including:
- Areas around pools and hot tubs
- Docks and floating platforms
- Ground-level decks
When a manufacturer is willing to stand behind decking installations in, or in contact with, water or ground, contractors can be confident that the product will perform in various applications—and minimize callbacks that consume their already limited time.
Contractors and DIYers are looking for decking solutions that deliver aesthetics, performance, value, and labor savings. Consideration of these five industry trends and developments can help dealers meet evolving customer needs—leading to sales growth and competitive advantages this spring.