March 03, 2014

Trex Forecasts Trends For 2014 Outdoor Living Season

DECKED OUT COAST-TO-COAST

WINCHESTER, Va., March 3, 2014 – From genteel porches in the East to sleek, seaside balconies in the West, the popularity of outdoor living spaces is poised for significant growth from coast to coast with industry analysts predicting it will be a $5.7 billion market1 by 2016.  Reinforcing these projections, 63 percent of architects cite an outdoor living space as the most popular ‘special function room’ in housing construction2, while homebuilders list decks among the top three features most requested with new home buys3.

“Decks and porches are now considered true extensions of a home’s living space,” explains Adam Zambanini, vice president of marketing for Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance wood-alternative decking and railing. “People are showing increased interest in maximizing the function, comfort and personalization of their outdoor spaces and are realizing that it’s far more economical to expand their living space outside than to enlarge or renovate their home’s interior.”

As planning and preparation for the 2014 outdoor living season begins, the experts at Trex offer a glimpse into the national and regional trends that will be emerging outside homes across America in 2014.

NATIONAL TRENDS

Size Matters
The biggest trend in decks right now is the increase in square footage. Gone are the days of the 20-by-10-foot rectangle with room enough for a grill and some patio furniture. Today’s decks are expanding both horizontally and vertically. According to Trex, demand for decks with multiple tiers is increasing as are requests to finish the space below the deck.

Thinking Outside the Box
When it comes to deck designs, today’s homeowners also are thinking way outside the box and customizing nearly every aspect of their outdoor living spaces. Remodelers and architects report increased interest in pergolas and walls to define different functional areas and create privacy, as well as integrated features like built-in benches, planter boxes and storage. Similarly, consumer interest in accessories such as deck lighting, ornamental post caps and decorative balusters also is on the rise.

“We are seeing a lot more mixing of materials,” reports Zambanini. “Contractors and consumers alike are creating highly customized deck designs combining two or more decking shades and also mixing materials such as composite railings in white with contrasting black aluminum balusters. At Trex, our product offering allows for more than 1,200 different design combinations so there truly is something for every taste and lifestyle.”

High Performance/Low Maintenance
In addition to design aesthetics, homeowners across the country are increasingly concerned with performance. Specifically, they want materials that allow them to spend more time enjoying their outdoor living space rather than maintaining it. This motivation has contributed to the continued innovation and popularity of composite decking and railing. Unlike wood or even traditional composites, high-performance wood alternatives like Trex Transcend® resist fading, staining, scratching and mold – and won’t rot, warp, crack or splinter. Upkeep is hassle-free and requires no sanding, staining or painting. Food and drink spills wash off easily with just soap and water.

Sustainability
Composite decking also responds to another growing trend among U.S. homeowners – interest in sustainable, eco-friendly building materials.

“High-performance Trex decking provides the look and feel of real wood, but without the environmental impact, making it an ideal choice for today’s eco-conscious consumers,” notes Zambanini.

The entire high-performance Trex decking portfolio is manufactured from more than 95 percent recycled content, including reclaimed wood and sawdust, as well as plastic from many common household items. In fact, Trex salvages and keeps more than 400 million pounds of plastic and wood scrap out of landfills each year.

REGIONAL TRENDS

While demand for high-performance, eco-friendly materials is echoed nationwide, design and color preferences tend to vary by region. Following are some of the top outdoor living trends from across the country:

Northeast
Residents along the East Coast tend to stay true to tradition when it comes to deck designs, opting for lighter decking colors that fit the region’s coastal themes. Case in point, the most popular shade of Trex decking in the Northeast is Gravel Path, a light, coastal gray.

Coastal proximity and unpredictable weather are major contributors to another Northeastern trend: steel decking substructures, which require fewer posts, offer longer spans and are a preferable alternative to wood in the wet and rocky soils of New England. Steel framing like Trex Elevations® won’t warp, rot, twist, or split like wood, and Trex backs the performance of its system with a 25-year limited warranty.

Southeast
When it comes to decking colors, Southern homeowners lean toward browns, tans and rich, natural tones that bring to mind the tropics. The most popular shades of Trex decking in this region are Spiced Rum, an earthy umber with the streaked look of tropical hardwoods, and Rope Swing, a warm taupe color.

As far as aesthetics, Southern staples such as stately porches with rocking chairs and swings remain in high demand. Pergolas that diffuse the impact of the Southern sun continue to grow in popularity in this region, as do elaborate, well-appointed outdoor kitchens.

Central
Midwesterners have found a solution to shorter prime-time daylight hours in outdoor lighting, which has become increasingly popular among homeowners in the Central U.S. According to Zambanini, “Landscape and deck lighting can significantly extend the amount of time you’re able to spend enjoying your outdoor living space. Flexible systems like Trex DeckLighting™ help to create a more inviting – and safe – outdoor environment.”

Popular decking shades in the Central region reflect the area’s natural environment. Homeowners tend to prefer colors, like the welcoming Trex Transcend in Tree House, which complement both the prairie and deciduous Midwest landscapes.

Northwest
Given the expansive beauty of the Northwest, it’s not surprising that decks in this region are among the largest in the country. It’s also no surprise that composite decking performs especially well here due to its ability to withstand the abuse of the region’s extreme weather.

As for color, this region’s most popular Trex decking shade is Saddle, a warm brown resembling the rustic look of cedar.

Southwest
The exotic appeal of tropical hardwoods dominates in this region, where the most popular shade of Trex Transcend is Tiki Torch, which features rich, realistic hardwood streaking. And, while the rest of the country leans toward traditional, wide railings, Southwestern homeowners prefer slimmer, more modern designs and railings made of natural materials such as iron or aluminum. They also use more glass paneling than any other region – most likely to maximize the stunning views of the Southwestern landscape.

To see examples of Trex outdoor living settings reflecting each region’s distinct tastes, visit the Inspiration Gallery at www.trex.com/inspiration/gallery, where images are sorted by region and environment. For more information about high-performance Trex products, go to www.trex.com.
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Sources:
1. Freedonia Group
2. AIA Home Design Trends Survey
3. Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA)

About Trex Company
Trex Company is the world’s largest manufacturer of high performance wood-alternative decking and railing, with more than 20 years of product experience.  Stocked in more than 6,000 retail locations worldwide, Trex outdoor living products offer a wide range of style options with fewer ongoing maintenance requirements than wood, as well as a truly environmentally responsible choice.  For more information, visit trex.com.  You also can follow Trex on Twitter (@Trex_Company) or Pinterest (trexcompany), “like” Trex on Facebook, or view product and demonstration videos on the brand’s YouTube channel (TheTrexCo.).

Contact:  Lindsey Lucenta or Leslie Marshall
L.C. Williams & Associates
800/837-7123 or 312/565-3900
llucenta@lcwa.com or lmarshall@lcwa.com 

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