Last month in this space, I reviewed a series of market projections for 2014 from Harvard University as well as the industry’s leading associations.
With more double-income families and increased drive times, consumers have less time than ever to spend on maintaining their residences. Older homeowners hoping to age in place may be less able to do work around the house. Whatever the individual situation, remodeling clients are leaning toward products that are not only functional and beautiful but also easy to clean and in need of little upkeep.
Consequently, many building product manufacturers are introducing both interior and exterior products that require little or no maintenance. These products range from vinyl siding with the look of real wood to decking material created from pressure-treated wood to flooring with the appearance of natural wood and the durability of laminate.
Offering these choices to your clients shows them you've got their best interests in mind, builds value into your projects and differentiates you from the competition. It also shows prospects that you've done your homework and are up on the latest and greatest materials in the marketplace. Considering the fact that homeowners are more savvy than ever about what's out there, it makes good business sense to stay up on what's new for the offering.
Whatever the project, low-maintenance materials offer clients something everyone can use more of. Time.
Xclusive resilient sheet flooring features a Scotchgard Protector that is built into the wear surface. The flooring is constructed to withstand day-to-day traffic, and the easy-to-clean surface repels tough spills and stains. Xclusive comes in 12′ widths and includes a patented nylon and aluminum oxide reinforced surface and extra thick construction that is wear and scratch resistant. It comes with a limited Five-Star Lifelong Warranty.
Available in: 10 new patterns (solitaire shown above) and 46 colors
CorrectDeck CX with SafeGuard is a composite decking with an antimicrobial coating that resists mold, mildew, staining and color fading, and enhances traction. The CX (co-extrusion) process applies the SafeGuard coating to each plank. The company says the coating resists mold and mildew by preventing colonization of bacteria that causes black spots. SafeGuard also coats wood fibers with plastic, reducing their exposure to stains. The addition of concentrated UV inhibitors enables the decking to resist color fading.
Available colors: Coastal grey, mahogany, cottage green, merlot, cedar
Reinforced with aluminum for strength, Savannah vinyl railing for decks and porches is designed to outlast traditional wood products and other vinyl railing products. It cuts, drills and fastens without special tools. Application kits come with all components for successful installation — brackets, trim, hardware, balusters and rails. Top rail choices include standard and T-rail, baluster choices include picket and spindle. Available in white.
Rail height: 42" commercial, 36" standard
Rail length: 6', 8' or 10'
Portsmouth Shake low-maintenance vinyl siding features the deep-grain appearance of cedar shakes in traditional and half-round shake options. The newest offerings are the hand-split style shake and corner posts in both the traditional and hand-split shake look. The new shake offers a double 9-inch profile with a rustic split cedar look. The authentic cedar wood-grain pattern covers not only the face of the panel but also the area under the profile edge. Made of durable injection-molded polypropylene, the Portsmouth Shake line can be used alone or as a complementary accent with other sidings and exterior surfaces.
Available in: Nine colors
LP Moulding offers a complete line of wood-grain moldings in a variety of styles, colors and grain patterns. All styles come prefinished and ready to install — no sanding, prepping or staining needed. Made of strong, lightweight polystyrene with the look of hand-finished wood, they resist splitting and warping. The Affinity collection (shown) is available in 11 profiles and three colors.
Available styles: Ultra, Affinity, PinePlus, Cameo and OakTrim
The QuickRail synthetic railing system uses multi-layered composite technology that provides greater strength and a lighter weight than standard PVC systems, the company says. The thicker walls' greater rigidity increases impact resistance and helps the product stand up to harsh weather. QuickRail does not need painting and won't decay, warp, fade, chip, splinter or rust. Rail kits include the top rail, bottom rail, spindles, crush block, brackets and coated screws.
Colors: White, desert tan
FrameSaver has added to its line of door systems by introducing rot-resistant frames for garage doors. The patented FrameSaver technology protects the base of the frame with a wood composite material that resists rot and insect damage and is guaranteed for life. The frames machine, sand and finish like wood and have a factory-applied primer.
Lengths: 8' and 10'
Dimensions of: 2"×6", 2"×8", 2"×10"
Primer: White, gray, tan
The Red Label Hand Scraped collection of high-pressure laminate flooring has the appearance of handcrafted, hand-scraped hardwood flooring. The only required maintenance is damp mopping. The collection has a lifetime wear, fade, stain and topical moisture residential warranty and uses Wilsonart's Tap-N-Lock technology. Eight options of matching laminate trim are available.
Available designs: Spanish maple, Olde oak, hickory plank, burnished maple and aged timberwood (shown)
DuraPlank insulated vinyl siding has an extra thick .054" gauge that increases strength. Additional rigidity comes from its ribbed extruded foam backing. The Energy Star rated free-floating backing locks into the panel and has a drainage system that protects against moisture damage. The panels have a low-gloss cedar wood-grain surface that never needs painting.
Profile: Single 7"
Accessories: 5" outside corner post, aluminum starter strip, 3½" window casing,
3½" designer window casing starter strip
Wolmanized Outdoor wood — formerly known as Wolmanized Natural Select wood — is pressure-treated with a copper azole preservative composed of recycled copper (primary protection against termites and decay) and an organic fungicide (for resistance to copper-tolerant fungi). The clean, odorless wood can be painted or stained like ordinary wood and is available with built-in water repellent to minimize moisture damage. Ideal for decks, fences, outdoor furniture, walkways and landscape projects.
Through the Roof is a clear, flexible caulk roof sealant that permanently seals around all rooftop fixtures. This sealant stays clear, repels water immediately after application and can be applied directly to wet or dry surfaces. It maintains its elasticity, which allows it to absorb significant degrees of movement. Can be applied to custom tile, brick, wood, shingles, metal downspouts and vents, PVC and ABS vent pipes, and a host of other roofing materials.
The 9800 Series fiberglass-clad steel garage doors by Wayne-Dalton combine the maintenance and insulation benefits of steel with the look of wood. The fiberglass provides increased energy efficiency and a resistance to warping, splintering or denting. The doors are easy to paint or stain and maintain a natural-looking grain finish. Doors can be enhanced with 3M Accentrim products. All doors feature the idrive wall-mounted opener that requires less space and is quieter than traditional openers.