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


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  2. Linda:
    I appreciate your feedback. It is interesting to learn how other areas of the world are using their living spaces.
    The data you requested can be found by clicking on the links within the original blog. Once again thanks for your feed back.

  3. It’s really interesting to see this trend is happening in the U.S. too – Australians have had the same attitude to their homes for 10-15 years now. I work for the company (Centor) that invented the technology that allowed folding doors to be used externally for the first time in 1998, and I think that’s part of the reason behind the attitude shift. Folding doors are ubiquitous in Australian homes these days because they let the outdoors in so well.

    Our website has some great photos of architects’ projects that have used Centor systems to achieve the outside/inside blurred line (www.centorarchitectural.com). Lots of inspiration there. 🙂

    I would love to have a look at the research you quoted. Are they online, are you able to post links?

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