Monday, August 25, 2008

Trends in The Deck Business 2008-2009

Deck Business Trends 2008 - 2009



2006’s Trend of using IPE for decks has crashed for the main reasons of quality and price. It doesn’t arrive kiln dried so it tends to crack and twist badly as it dries. We’ve seen some poor quality product retailed locally and it is extremely difficult to work with.


Apparently Ipe is on the list of endangered species so we have ceased using it at all.

Lighted post caps are a trend, however built in low voltage lighting seems to be a permanent part of the deck business.



When it comes to materials, Tigerdeck is the king of 2008. It is sustainably harvested from more than 40 countries and comes kiln dried with a warranty—yes, it is a hardwood and is expected to last 30 years on a typical platform.


There's a new product going by Envirowood "Heat Treated Lumber". Last time it was marketed as "SilvaWood". It is not new. They believe that by superheating pine lumber they can make it last longer out of doors. The heat treating makes it uninteresting to insects--however the glue that prevents moisture from penetrating (sap), gets burned up in the process. In effect you can successfully turn Jack Pine or Southern Yellow Pine into Poplar... which lasts only a year or two outside.

Composites are yesterday’s news in my opinion. Azek seems to be the best of the group, it used to be Pro-Cell before being bought by another company.

Brite closed it’s doors this spring due to cash flow problems, The Dexx plant burned down a couple of years back (they were making composite from recycled gas tanks), Xtendex was closed permanently last year and the in stock product was sold for pennies on the dollar. We expect a few others will do likewise due to a shrinking market for composite and increased operating costs.


Trex has issues with products made at their Arizona plant deteriorating prematurely, so they have set aside many millions for warranty replacement. “Weatherbest”—also has a serious problem with structural failure. They are proactively trying to seek out the defective product before injuries occur, so kudos to them for being so responsible.

Nevertheless composites are NO LONGER seen as “The” premium product in the business due to aging in a chalky and simulated way. Putting plastic or vinyl outside leads to deterioration—and there is just no way around that fact.


Pre-finishing of wood decks is a major trend again this year. When we can pre-finish red cedar and have it age more gracefully than composites at a competitive price to premium composites… and then refinish in 5 years and make it new again, folks understand the advantage.

Curves and Brows are a trend that won’t go away. Organic looking, free flowing decks will never go out of style. The decks we are designing today look very different than 10 years ago.

Built in Garden Areas have always been popular. Outdoor kitchens need herb gardens—trelliswork screens need a place to root vines.

Pergolas for shade and privacy are becoming much more popular, and this year we have a new product that mounts within the pergola to create total shade and is fully retractable. Made of stainless steel and aluminum mechanicals with a 12 year warranty, they also offer a motorized version with a remote. Sunbrella fabric helps it age gracefully and resist fading. You can now shelter a 16 x 20 area from rain in a single retractable under pergola awning.

We have designed these into a few projects so far—and will have good photography soon. These canopies will be very popular.
It is a challenging economy in many places--generally large cities and all of Canada are doing well--smaller communities in the US are generally having a time of it.
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