For the fifth consecutive year, homeowners are investing more in their existing homes to replace the failing exterior, and improve curb appeal while also reducing their maintenance costs, according to the 2014 Professional Remodeler Exterior Project Trends survey.
The survey revealed that 91 percent of remodelers generated at least some business over the past year from replacing siding or some other aspect of remodeling the exterior of a home. In 2013, 92 percent of remodelers reported they generated at least some business over the past year from replacing siding or otherwise remodeling the exterior of a home. Fifteen percent of respondents said exterior projects made up more than half of their work during the last 12 months. This is down slightly from the 18 percent who reported an exterior project made up greater than 50 percent of their work in 2013.
“Our clients are not moving so they want their house to be a statement of who they are, one of a kind, not cookie cutter. They’re making an investment in their property with plans to stay for the long term,” says one Pennsylvania remodeler.
Exterior growth continues
Exterior replacement projects continue to remain a positive business segment for remodelers, as 30 percent of respondents reported doing more exterior work in the past year compared with 7 percent who reported doing less work. Sixty-percent reported their level of exterior work was unchanged.
This is the fifth consecutive year the number of remodelers reporting more exterior work has outpaced the remodelers who reported a decline in exterior work from the previous year.
“My clients want the most for their money. They also want to guarantee their investment is going to last a long time and lower their monthly operation costs,” says an Illinois remodeler.
When homeowners finally decide to replace their siding, it is commonly part of a larger remodeling project. Similar to the results recorded in last year’s survey, only 5 percent of the remodelers we surveyed said their typical siding replacement project involved siding only. Thirty-four percent of remodelers said their typical siding replacement project included the replacement of existing windows. Twenty-five percent said the exterior replacement job typically involves a new door or multiple doors. Twenty-one percent said their typical exterior project is usually part of a larger addition or whole house remodel. Finally, 15 percent of remodelers reported they usually replace the roof when accepting a siding project. These results vary just slightly from those recorded in our 2013 Exterior Project Trends survey.
Three reasons for replacement
Why do homeowners remodel or replace the exterior of their homes? Quite simply, the “replacement of a failing or damaged product” remains the biggest reason homeowners choose to replace their existing siding. Fifty percent of remodelers who responded to the Exterior Project Trends survey indicated the “replacement of a failing or damaged product” was a “very important” driver for projects. For the past three years, “replacement of failing and/or damaged product” was the only reason cited by at least 50 percent of respondents as “very important.” Furthermore, 74 percent cited “replacement of failing or damaged product” as “somewhat important” in our most recent Exterior Project Trends survey.
We asked remodelers for the major trends they are seeing in exterior projects. Here is some of what we heard:
"We are starting to use more vinyl shakes and trim boards with more design options.”
“Any materials that would provide a different look for the home.”
“Our clients are keen to match existing materials for a seamless transition.”
“Vinyl and fiber cement siding are still the choices for exterior cladding.”
“Combination of stone and vinyl, also heavy timber for detail work.”
“Decorative sidings (shake, shingle sidings), decorative trim (crown mouldings), wide outside corner posts, wider trim around windows.”
“My clients are constantly asking about materials that are more easily cared for and require little maintenance.”
“Cost-effective selections that are attractive, maintenance-free, and enhance the exterior are the desires. Most are done to address and solve a problem or poorly functional old items, and then the new either match the style of the existing home or make a major transformation.”
“Matching existing finishes remains the dominant feature of exterior replacements in our high-end market.”
“The projects are getting larger. Roof, windows, siding, doors. They are completely redoing the exterior.”
“Improving curb appeal” and “reducing maintenance” remain the two top drivers of work for the exterior remodeling business. An average of 25 percent of respondents indicated the topics as “very important” drivers of remodeling. “Reducing maintenance” was at least “somewhat important” for 59 percent of remodelers while “improving curb appeal” was cited as “somewhat important” by 62 percent of respondents.
“Curb appeal is very important as well as low maintenance,” says an Illinois remodeler.
“Most customers I meet seem to put the cost factor as the most important factor. Discussing value of materials and their benefits seem secondary,” adds a Maryland-based remodeler.
Down from the 30 percent recorded last year, only 22 percent cited “energy efficiency” as “somewhat important” and only 23 percent cited it as “very important,” also down from the 28 percent recorded last year.
“In our region, exterior replacement is coordinated with energy efficiency,” says a Nevada remodeler.
When the homeowner does opt to remodel or replace the exterior of their home, fiber cement, vinyl, wood, and stone remain the overwhelming material choice for the third year in a row. In regard to the most commonly installed material over the past year, 18 percent of remodelers indicated fiber cement, 16 percent indicated vinyl, 15 percent indicated wood, and 13 percent indicated stone.
The most commonly replaced products include wood (56 percent), vinyl (24 percent), and stucco (6 percent).
As in year’s past, the remodeler continues to have a large influence on the product and brand homeowners choose when replacing their siding. Sixty-two percent of remodelers said their average client relies on them to make all material and brand recommendation for siding. Twenty-three percent said that clients might have a material in mind, but as the remodeler they still recommend the brand. Thirteen percent of clients come to remodelers with a specific brand and material in mind, but remodelers still end up influencing their final decision.
Project costs increasing
In the last year, 30 percent of remodelers charged homeowners between $5,000 and $10,000 for exterior remodeling work. Twenty-one percent charged between $10,000 and $15,000; 41 percent charged greater than $15,000; and 8 percent charged less than $5,000.
Sixty-six percent of remodelers indicated the average price of an exterior replacement job has increased over last year; 31 percent reported no change; and 3 percent said the price has decreased from last year. PR