Tips for Celebrating Memorial Day in Your Own Backyard

CB_SpringLake_house_morning_FlagMemorial Day presents an opportunity to remember those who have served our country. Remembering that service
and sacrifice is often symbolized by hanging a flag from a porch or patio.

It also marks the unofficial beginning of summer. We at CertainTeed love to take advantage of outdoor living
spaces and we want you to get the most out of yours. Usually when a household is expecting guests, the rule of thumb is to start with cleaning. This includes your outdoor living space. Power washing a patio, deck or siding is an effective way to remove dirt and debris – leaving the intended area ready for enjoyment.

And it may just be time to take on that major renovation project you’ve been putting off. Choosing new, fresh siding or trim can give your home a much-needed face-lift. If you’re unsure how a certain style, profile or color may appear, online design tools are available that can assist with the visualization process. While exploring the different options, you might also start dreaming about stretching the budget for a new roof, deck or railing that suits your home’s unique look.

Warmer weather drives the desire to enjoy the outdoors without reservation – so embrace it! Take full advantage of your yard by installing a privacy fence. String lights around your extended living space; gather around a fire pit and you have the perfect additions for entertaining or just kicking back and relaxing.

Homeowner Trends: Remodeling is In

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 3.38.39 PMHouzz indicates that the vast majority of homeowners prefer to remodel their home rather than move. In a webinar hosted by Qualified Remodeler magazine, Liza Housman from Houzz — an online remodeling and design platform —  provided an in-depth look into their annual Houzz & Home study, which included the participation of more than 155,000 homeowners. A few key highlights…

  • 91 percent of homeowners said that reviews and recommendations are a top priority in hiring a contractor. A valuable reminder that customer service should always be top of mind!
  • 5 percent of homeowners spent more than a year researching a remodeling project — a sign that remodelers might need to exercise more patience in closing the deal with some customers.
  • Top remodeling projects included kitchen (31%), bathroom (27%), and patio (22%).
  • The highest-ranking replacement projects involved flooring (26%), window and door (21%) and roofing (15%)
  • For kitchen and bath remodeling, more than 40 percent of projects entailed framing or structural work — which definitely caught our attention since any project that guts to the stud is a great time caulk, seal and insulate in addition to aesthetic improvements.

Overall, the survey uncovered great opportunities for growth potential. Let’s get to work!

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Robert Frost coined the phrase “good fences make good neighbors” in his 1914 poem “Mending Wall.”  While the meaning in the poem may have been slightly more about ‘turf protection,” it can also be applied to adding value to a home and property.  Good fences can offer beauty, privacy and safety.

According to reports by the U.S Census Bureau, 60 percent of new homebuyers remodel within the first six moths of purchase; adding decks, yard enhancements and fences that create a comfortable relaxing outdoor sanctuary. 

Fences can keep your family safe while providing additional curb appeal to a property. The benefits of fences include:

  • Preventing children from getting outside an area and keep out potentially dangerous intruders, such as stray dogs.
  • Provide safety for your property.  If you own a pool, for example, most local building codes require pools to be fenced in with gates that are self-closing and self-latching.
  • Add privacy to a yard which encourages outdoor living.
  • Are now available in splinter-free and no maintenance materials such as vinyl, or composite products.
  • If you live in a hurricane- or tornado-prone area, look for fence products that are design to withstand 75-mile winds and meet the Miami-Dade building code.

Maximize the overall safety and performance of your fence by working with a professional contractor to ensure proper installation.

Good fences not only make good neighbors, they make an attractive addition to your home and outdoor living areas.

Patti Pellock is Senior Marketing Manager for CertainTeed Fence, Railing and Deck Products

Taking the Inside Outside

The average square footage of a new home is declining for the first time in recent history and there is a growing trend among homeowners to expand their living space to the outdoors. The economic downturn has created what has come to be known as “staycations” in which homeowners, rather than travelling to enjoy their time off, are electing to stay at home.  This means homeowners are utilizing decks, porches and patios as extensions of their living areas and as a means of providing additional but affordable options to their homes. 

According to Kermit Baker, American Institute of Architects, “As households place greater emphasis on using their properties, they are looking for home designs that blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor features.”

While outdoor living space is generally less expensive to create than interior space it also may mean bringing electrical, plumbing, water, cooking, heating/cooling, lighting, insect control and (of course) landscaping into the equation. The new outdoor area is becoming more complex to construct. It’s not just a matter of “wood bangers” putting up 10’x10’ decks. Today’s remodelers need to be able to accommodate homeowners’ expectations for enhanced outdoor amenities such as exterior kitchens, water features, electricity, and low maintenance building  products.

The data confirms the trend. According to a wide range of research reports including the U.S. Census Bureau, Hanley-Wood Media, the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association and the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard:

  • 45% of new single-family homes have backyard patios (up from 32% in 1992)
  • 75% of new-home buyers said they want or must have a rear patio, while 82% said they want or must have a deck or porch
  •  Half of households with incomes above $75,000 and who own a grill, actually have outdoor rooms
  •  Homeowners are building or replacing 33 million decks per year
  •  60% of new-home buyers remodel within the first six-months of purchase, with decks, yards enhancements and fences near the top of the list

All across the country outdoor living is a trend that is expanding and changing in many exciting ways. The addition of decks and porches is much more cost effective than construction of an additional room on a home and provides flexibility to add additional enclosures at a future time.  In response to this trend, CertainTeed’s “Living Spaces™” suite of exterior products presents designs and solutions to make the most of a home’s outdoor living areas. 

What living space trends are you seeing in your community?

Drew Brandt is Director of Marketing for CertainTeed Siding