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Exterior Product Trends for 2021: How is COVID-19 shifting preferences?

When the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold last spring, many builders, dealers, and manufacturers faced enormous uncertainties about whether they would be able to work and whether it would grind housing construction to a halt.

 

When the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold last spring, many builders, dealers, and manufacturers faced enormous uncertainties about whether they would be able to work and whether it would grind housing construction to a halt. But rather than devastate the industry, the pandemic had nearly the opposite effect, fueling home improvement projects as well as new- and existing-home purchases as homeowners sought out more space or more property.

Here’s a look at some of the exterior product considerations tied to the pandemic—as well as some trends that remain on top.

Stay-at-Home Additions

  • Easy upgrades: The downtime during the pandemic has seen many homeowners tackling their to-do lists. Simple updates to the exterior, such as replacing aging siding, adding gable vents or decorative mounting blocks, or installing decorative trim, can go a long way to improving curb appeal while still remaining affordable and in reach of DIYers.
  • Outdoor living elevated: Outdoor living has been trending for years, so much so that it’s hardly worth the label, but the need for great exterior space is stronger than ever with the pandemic. For homeowners stuck in the house, the outdoors have become a much-needed place of respite. Making outdoor living areas even more inviting—with everything from integrated seating to warm lighting to a flashier grill—has become even more desirable.

Along with the deck and patio surfaces, your customers should consider how the surrounding façade looks, adding trim and other accents to make the space feel more refined and complete.

Awnings and overhead coverings, as well as fire pits and outdoor heaters, also are helping to extend the usability of those outdoor spaces during colder temperatures.

  • Elevate the workspace: Exterior siding products make a perfect decorative element on the interior. With more workers logging in remotely, creating home offices that are welcoming and well-designed is top of mind. Shiplap siding or panelized stone siding is an easy way to add an accent wall to elevate a guest bedroom into a cozy home office.
  • Window options and placement: More time at home means even more need for better indoor air quality and comfort. For windows, this means paying attention to placement to maximize both daylighting and cross-ventilation. Sound control options also should be considered to minimize disruptions during the work day.

Enduring Design Trends

The pandemic hasn’t held back some of the ongoing design trends—in fact, as homeowners look to make their homes their sanctuary, optimizing aesthetics is just as important as preserving practicality.

  • Authenticity: Authentic siding and trim profiles offer the nostalgia of tradition and the comfort of the tried-and-true, fueling a greater sense of normalcy in a world that is anything but.
  • Multi-textured facades: Multi-textured facades continue to be in demand over more one-note exteriors. Blending multiple cladding types, such as a stone siding half wall with vinyl or poly-ash siding above, and incorporating shingles or vertical accents on gables and bump-outs helps distinguish homes along the streetscape and adds warmth and curb appeal.
  • Vertical and board-and-batten siding: Vertical and board-and-batten siding are ideal ways to add dimension and visual interest to the home exterior, particularly as homeowners clamor for multi-textured façades and Modern Farmhouse looks. Vertical applications also can help spice up accent areas, such as gables.

Even after the restrictions of COVID-19 fade into memory, the idea of the home as a place of escape and sanctuary is likely to remain for some time. Simple touches can add physical and aesthetic comfort to secure the feeling of home.

Ben Drury

Ben Drury is brand manager for Boral Building Products, manufacturer of exterior building materials with 11 product brands including Foundry Siding, Kleer Lumber, TruExterior Siding & Trim, and Versetta Stone siding. For more information, visit www.boralbuildingproducts.com.

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