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.
To get involved in call 888 293 8938

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Best Pergola Builder in Los Angeles

Gary Bouchard has been building, pergolas, decks and fences with us in Los Angeles For about 3 years now.
It is astounding to me how immune this area is to most economic turmoil. These folks are imaginative and know what they like--Perfect Clients.
This is Gary Bouchard's second career, he was a project manager for 30 years with a photography company previously. He always did woodwork as a hobby, and when he joined with us he started on smaller projects.

Gary likely turned away more work than any of our builders. I can remember hearing about 2800 sf decks in Hollywood Hills stars glistening in my eyes... He said candidly it was just too big for him to deal with at that point. He could easily deal with work like that today, however that is the genius of Gary Bouchard. He doesn't take on more than he can chew. He knows how to say no--and gets enough leads that he can afford to.

In the days where contractors are constantly late finishing, disappearing for weeks at a time and not returning phone calls--Gary's methods are refreshing.

In 3 years I have not heard so much as the hint of a complaint from clients--and with work like this, I don't imagine I ever will. Thank you Gary Bouchard for representing so well in Los Angeles - Beverly Hills - Glendale.
GREAT looking work Gary!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cornwall Deck Party

The Upscale Decking Group, Our Clients and all the guests were very impressed. All told nearly 100 people dropped in for wine and cheese in Cornwall to see Darren Smith's Dream Deck.

A good time was had by all, it was a successful event and on my part it was good to see everyone again.

By the sounds of it Darren will be working on more interesting projects that will have me driving down the highway 6 hours very soon.

Thanks for hosting this great event Darren--

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Wine and Cheese in Cornwall

You are Invited for Wine and Cheese in Cornwall.

Darren Smith is hosting a gathering in South Lancaster from 12-7pm on Friday Aug 8 - 08 (rain date, Saturday Aug 9- 08).

Le Domain is off Hwy #2, look for the signs.

You can RSVP with Darren Smith at 613-551-4259

This is a very large deck that features built in hot tub, privacy screen, curved section featuring tempered glass rails as well as a sun room addition. The project was designed by "Yours Truly--Lawrence Winterburn", and it is a showpiece that Darren Smith and the crew at "Upscale Decking" is very proud of also.

If you live near Cornwall and you are thinking about having a deck built or you are involved in the building trades and may have projects that are a fit for Upscale Decking's considerable talents--please make arrangements to attend.

I will be attending also--

Here is a map

">Le Domaine Rd, South Glengarry, ON, CanadaLink:


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Watching the Competitors Build a Deck

I do love the internet.

With the click of a mouse I can watch a deck get built in real time by the competition. Trying to imagine why a 600 sf deck will take 3 weeks, but it certainly has me on the edge of my seat!

Here's the blog link to indulge with me.