Outdoor living space has evolved from a value-added luxury to an essential residential feature. The traditional 10 x 20 ft. wood plank deck had its place in the era of the rotary telephone but things have changed.
Smart remodelers recognize the profitable niche of functional outdoor living space. Still, many construction professionals do not take advantage of marketing themselves in this specialty trade.
The Evolution of Outdoor Living Space
The increase in demand for functional outdoor living space did not happen overnight. It was a gradual development over the last 20 years.
From simple decks and patios to completely functional outdoor rooms, this growing trend affects every region from coast to coast. However, the interest levels of various types of outdoor spaces show a range in popularity depending on the region.
One thing does remain consistent – Outdoor living space is a national trend that shows no signs of slowing down.
Remodeler Expertise in Outdoor Living Space = Profit
When Qualified Remodeler Magazine conducted a QR Outdoors Reader Survey around the country, one similarity across all regions was evident. Remodelers reported that more outdoor living space projects directly translated to more profitable jobs.
Outdoor construction presents a unique set of challenges and techniques. It also often involves a wide variety of trade contractors. Remodelers that are able to differentiate themselves and demonstrate expertise in outdoor living increase their level of success.
The really surprising thing is that with all of the companies that indicate they handle outdoor living projects, most of them do not go out of their way to market themselves for their outdoor services.
This highlights huge potential for remodelers to grow their businesses whether they handle exterior project details directly or sub-contract to a specialty trade.
The Most In-Demand Outdoor Living Space Products
Regional preferences in what is most desired for residential outdoor living varies slightly from region to region. For example, in the North Central, porches were revealed as the most popular feature, followed closely by expanded decks. However, in the west, expanded decks were the most desired featured with porches falling slightly lower.
According to the Qualified Remodeler survey, the top 5 types of outdoor living areas that clients want are:
- Expanded Decks
- Outdoor Dining Areas
- Outdoor Kitchens
- Outdoor Living Rooms
Who Wants More Outdoor Living Space
At one time, building an outdoor kitchen was reserved for those in the highest of income brackets. According to the QR Outdoor Living Survey, now it doesn’t seem to matter if the neighborhood has home values of $400,000 or over $1 million. The common thread appears to be that it is people who are successful in their careers and want to entertain in their homes.
Empty nesters want a place they can gather the whole family. From aging parents to children and grandchildren, the extended family can demand a lot more space than a small front porch will allow.
What Drives the Demand for Outdoor Living Space
There are more options than ever for types of outdoor living space and the accessories that accompany them. However, the motivation for upgrading outdoor space seems to be a much more relevant influence than any individual feature.
The Qualified Remodeler survey shows consistently across all regions that the number one motivator for increasing outdoor living areas was to create entertainment space. The survey presented the top 5 reasons that clients pursued outdoor living projects as:
- Add entertainment space
- Create more living space
- Correspond with remodeled interior
- Changing lifestyle or needs
- Increase home value
See the Qualified Remodeler article on Outdoor Living Regional Trends by Patrick O’Toole.
Building Product Choice Affects Long-Term Enjoyment of Outdoor Living Space
Homeowners have no problem spending money to gain the valuable outdoor living space they desire, but they also want it for a good value. There are more product options available today than ever before so there is no reason to sacrifice quality for price.
Deck building products that meet more than one need add to profit
For example, an elevated deck will often serve as a roof for a lower level patio below. Some methods of achieving that involve multiple products. You need a walking surface on the upper deck and a ‘dry-below’ system to route water away from the lower patio. Other alternatives like Duradek vinyl membranes that meet building code as both a pedestrian surface and roofing membrane allow you to achieve the same result with a single product solution.
Homeowners value low maintenance home features
Another trend that has been growing rapidly over the last decade is that homeowners want low maintenance features. Previous generations worked hard to maintain their homes, but today’s homeowner values their free time and expects to have to do less. And they don’t mind paying for it.
The AIA Home Design Trends Survey consistently shows low maintenance products an important consideration. This architectural survey also reiterates that outdoor living space is consistently in high demand with increases each year. A special item to note is that Roof Decks has made its way onto the list as a unique feature of its own.
While traditional slotted wood decks are a very high maintenance outdoor item that requires ongoing treatment for waterproofing, a Duradek vinyl membrane performs throughout its lifetime from a single application. Homeowners have peace of mind from its longevity, as well as a warranty that has some teeth with 3 levels of protection: waterproofing, appearance, and workmanship.
Remodelers are Wise to Consider an Outdoor Living Specialty or Sub-Contracting Relationships
It is evident that the outdoor living space piece of the remodeling market is not something that should be ignored. Remodelers can add outdoor living specialties to their list of product offerings whether they take them on with their own teams, or sub-contract to a niche specialty.
Either way, Remodelers can take advantage of the added profitability that comes with outdoor living space projects.
Quick-step to remodeling profitability
To look at the potential of adding ‘authorized Duradek vinyl decking installer’ to your outdoor living remodeling offerings, check out Duradek’s business opportunities. Alternately, simply inquire with your local Duradek Dealer to develop a relationship and be armed with an advantageous outdoor living product that can add profitability to your projects.