American homeowners have rediscovered the pleasures of the great outdoors, and this has meant a boom in the exterior remodeling market and a great increase in the options available in decking materials, furnishings and everything in between.
The term "outdoor rooms" has become used to describe this consumer trend toward adding backyard living space with all the amenities and convenience usually found indoors.
Deck construction has grown at roughly a 5 percent annual rate since 2000, and there isn't a sign of a letdown anywhere in sight. In fact, decks and patios now are built to include outdoor kitchens, dining rooms and entertainment areas where relaxation and convenience are paramount.
According to a 2004 survey by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 74 percent of U.S. households have a barbecue grill, and 56 percent of barbecuers cook outside year-round. No wonder grills, many of them built in, now feature side burners, rotisseries, griddle pans, smokers and more.
The consumer is also asking for outdoor refrigerators, freezers, sinks, firepits, stereos and televisions, while all-weather furniture resembles what's already found in the living room.
The Ring of Fire outdoor hearth brings a combination of fire, water and light to a deck, patio or outdoor room. Decorative options include inner and outer brass moldings and polished stones or molten glass beads for the bed. The 36-inch diameter cartridge unit can be installed in a tall or short concrete pedestal, flush with the deck or patio, or in a custom-built surround. It comes with a 10-gallon reservoir at the base, and the gas burner puts out 89,000 Btus of heat. Operated from a three-button remote control pad, the unit requires a 110-volt GFI electric connection, a gas line for either natural gas or liquid propane and a continuous flow of water.
EverNew Selects, a new line of vinyl fencing includes classic picket- and privacy-style fences and other styles that can be custom ordered. This bracketed system is easy to install and requires less material and fewer posts than other fence products. The thru-picket style uses no rivets or screws since the crimped pickets drop through the rails to lock into place. The privacy style features tongue-in-groove picket design for quick installation. Available in 8-foot-wide preassembled or unassembled sections, it requires no sanding, painting or staining and has an attractive appearance on both sides of the fence.
The DrySpace deck drainage system channels water away to keep the area below the deck dry and functional, especially for second-floor decks. It uses three solid extruded vinyl profiles and installs to the underside of any deck spanning 12-, 16- or 24-inch on-center joist spacing. DrySpace diverts water away from a house's foundation before it falls through the gaps of the deck. It can be installed on new or existing decks.
Available in: Off-white.
The Outdoor Entertainment line of weather-resistant, stainless steel appliances includes built-in or freestanding grills, bar/serving carts, refrigerators, commercial-style icemakers and accessories. Available in 27-, 36- and 39-inch sizes, the built-in grills are convertible for LP or natural gas and feature the SureSear system with 22,000-Btu stainless steel burners and sear plates. Outfitted with a rotisserie, warming rack and a smoker drawer. Comes with an insulated jacket required when installing a built-in grill in a combustible enclosure. The refrigerator can be built-in or used as a portable patio service with optional commercial-type casters.
Products shown: 36-inch built-in grill, 30-inch built-in refreshment center and 24-inch refrigerator
The Patio-Glo Light from the Heat & Glo Lifestyle Collection is fueled by replaceable liquid propane canisters that last up to 15 hours. The base stores 14-16 ounce canisters. The lights feature a metal finish and can be mounted onto a solid deck rail or other solid structure within the area. The light eliminates the need for electricity or gas lines.
Enclose an existing porch or create a custom sunroom using Eze-Breeze Sliding Panels. These durable, aluminum-framed, puncture-resistant vinyl panels are lighter in weight and more affordable than glass. Panels can open three-quarters of the window area to allow a breeze or can be removed for storage, leaving the screens in place.
Colors: White, bronze and almond.
Brilliance Series garage door windows offer the look of beveled glass using 3M's Accentrim technology. The optically enhanced glass filters light and casts a rainbow of colors that create the illusion of cut glass. Available in long and short panel styles and insulated or non-insulated glass.
Available in three design patterns: Solitaire, Marquise and Trillian.
Vycor Deck Protector is a self-adhered flashing formulated to protect decks and reduce corrosion of galvanized metal connectors. Installed between the connector and the wood, the flashing membrane seals around the tops of deck joists to create a barrier against water and moisture. Made of a skid-resistant coating, it includes measurement markings and may be used under all decking materials.
The Exterior Wood Care System from Dever cleans and protects exterior wood surfaces. The four-step approach includes a wood cleaner and coating remover, natural wood color rejuvenator, wood conditioner and wood protector. The cleaner, rejuvenator and conditioner spray on and rinse off, while the protector can be applied with a roller, brush or spray. The system is available in kits of 1-gallon and 5-gallon containers. A gallon covers approximately 200 square feet.
Colors: Natural wood tone, Cape Cod grey, country cedar, log cabin brown, California redwood and Ponderosa brown.