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wooden terrace with wicker garden furniture and lots of greenery

After long weekdays filled with traffic jams and tight deadlines, more and more people are seeking the comfort of a relaxing getaway, right outside their own back door.

A well-designed patio or deck is the perfect retreat for delving into a good book, entertaining family and friends, or enjoying a breathtaking sunset before turning in for the night. Homeowners also want a smoother transition from indoors to out, with patios and decks functioning as “outdoor rooms” that reflect the look and feel of the home’s interior.

Not surprisingly, contractors have seen robust demand for patio and deck construction in recent years. The Census Bureau reported a 112.5% increase in new homes containing patios and decks from 2010 to 2017. Revenues are projected to reach $783 million in 2019.

Here are some of the trends driving patio and deck construction, whether it’s for a new build or an addition to an existing home.

Patio Materials and Design

Patios can be open, covered or enclosed, and can be made from a variety of materials.

  • Concrete is a hard, versatile material that can withstand extreme temperatures and humidity, all of which has made it an ongoing patio staple for decades. It comes in a wide range of colors and is easy to clean.  
  • Stone pavers have a naturalistic feel, are relatively simple to install and rival concrete in strength. Large pavers can make small patios look and feel more spacious.
  • Porcelain pavers offer an upscale look that transitions well from indoors to the outdoor space. Durable and easy to clean, porcelain is also a great choice for pool sides and walkways.
  • Brick is an environmentally friendly option that can be recycled and gives the patio a timeless, traditional charm.

While patios can be customized for almost any shape and size, the underlying terrain will be a factor. Pathways, walls and built-in benches help to integrate the patio with landscaping design for aesthetic beauty and easy access to garden areas.

Depending on size and layout, the patio may be just a small seating area or a large multifunctional space combining a variety of options.

  • Dining areas
  • Firepits or fireplaces
  • Barbecues and outdoor kitchens
  • Pools and other water features
  • Pergolas or gazebos

Outdoor lighting also creates a nice ambience for evening activities, with options including built-in lighting systems, customized landscape lighting or LED string lights.

Decking Materials and Design

The traditional backyard deck has evolved, as clients look for customized designs in a range of materials and styles. Underdeck areas also offer extra living or storage space.

  • Composite decking made from a wood-plastic blend has grown in popularity. Easier to clean and longer lasting than regular wood, composite decking tolerates moisture and resists rot, cracks and splintering.
  • Pressure-treated wood is another option that stands up to rot, termites and decay. This material should be cleaned twice a year with a pressure washer, and homeowners should inspect for damage on a regular basis.
  • Cedar lends an upscale feel with its warm, brownish hue. Maintenance requirements include restaining every five years, regular removal of dirt and leaves, and allowing the wood to dry thoroughly after precipitation.
  • Vinyl decking looks like real wood with much less maintenance. It’s also durable, stain-resistant and easy to clean.

Deck designs can be further customized with a wide range of colors, accent materials and lighting options.

  • While muted earth tones are still mainstream, composite decking means a bigger rainbow of color possibilities. Streaking gives the material a naturalistic color variation that mimics the look of natural wood. Complimentary shades can be combined for picture-framed edging and other appealing two-tone designs.
  • Stone, metal and even glass accents are showing up on staircases, railings, balusters and post caps.
  • Solar or low-voltage lighting can be integrated for both ambience and safety. In addition to post sconces and recessed fixtures, creative options include lighted balusters and post caps.

No longer an afterthought, the underdeck area can be adapted to provide extra usable space. Weatherproofing materials like special underdeck ceilings, waterproof membranes and between-board flanges protect against weather damage and provide a dry space underneath.

In addition to the construction and design factors above, economic developments will influence future demand for patio and deck projects. Although unemployment remains at historic lows and GDP growth is strong, home sales in April 2019 were down 0.4% from March and off 4.4% from April 2018. Contractors will continue to monitor these trends.

If you’ve got an upcoming patio or deck project, let Mid-City Lumber be your next stop. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will help you select the best materials to satisfy your clients and get the job done right.