As homeowners look for ways to distinguish their homes and increase value, fiber cement siding and manufactured stone products are gaining popularity. Pushing this trend is a focus on greener materials and materials that require less maintenance as homeowners become more concerned with the style and design of their home.
Green remodeling continues to be an important trend. Consumers are looking for products that are friendly to the environment and help sustain resources. CertainTeed Corp. has made a push in this direction introducing its fiber cement siding with a new patented process for the WeatherBoard and ColorMax products. For both of the products, the core of the material was recently reformulated to contain over 30 percent of recycled material.
The Web and home improvement television shows continue to have a huge influence on consumers. Today’s average consumer spends time researching their purchase before they speak to a contractor and may know more about the specific products and brands than the contractor because they’ve invested in learning about them.
With more demands on time, consumers don’t want to spend their valuable family time dealing with home maintenance.
What’s changed is that they want maintenance freedom, but they don’t want to sacrifice good looks. Many companies are meeting these demands.
Crane Performance Siding has spent lots of time researching consumer opinions and has clearly found that homeowners want to be bolder with their choices for the exterior of the home.
“They want the outside of their home to express their personality, but they want to make sure they make sound attractive choices,” says Mark Axelrod, director of marketing for Crane Performance Siding. “It used to be that only homeowners who owned the most expensive homes, $500,000 and up, expected their decisions to be influenced by an exterior designer or architect. Today consumers are seeing that the impact of proper style and design can even be more dramatic on average sized or even small homes.”
Crane also observed that in the past, homeowners went with one style of cladding in an earth tone color to be safe and not have their house stand out for the wrong reason. Today, they are looking for contrast in color, lines and textures. They are using several complementing products on their homes’ exteriors to provide more character and dimension — mixing stone, clapboard and cedar shake and complementing bold dark colors like blues, greens and browns with softer earth tones for homes that are distinct and attractive.
“The amount of stone used on the exterior of a home has increased over the last few years,” says Brent Spann, vice president of marketing for Eldorado Stone. “This is being driven predominantly by the contractor looking to differentiate his home designs from others. By using manufactured stone in a grander scale, the curb appeal is increased tremendously.”
“One of the things that we know in regard to fiber cement is that it’s growing and taking sheer from the other cladding materials,” says Lisa Santerian, marketing manager for CertainTeed’s fiber cement division. “The fiber cement market is growing and projections through 2012 are looking good. It’s taking away market share from many other materials.”
With companies like James Hardie and Nichiha focusing on the fiber cement siding, innovation is leading the way to taking a piece of the vinyl siding market. For CertainTeed’s fiber cement division has even seen pockets in the United States, like the Atlanta area, where fiber cement is the product of choice for residing.
CertainTeed’s two product lines give remodelers some options for fiber cement. The WeatherBoard line is primarily its primed product, but does offer them in six prestained colors. It also recently launched ColorMax which is a line of prefinished fiber cement with 16 colors to choose from. For the homeowner, they should be made aware that fiber cement siding is almost a completely maintenance-free product that is extremely durable and resists any rotting or bug infestations.