SET THE STANDARD
Draw on artistic details
In today’s revitalized economy and marketplace, most contractors have experienced a surge in business, and with this ever-changing landscape in outdoor living products, our only limitations are our imaginations. By nature, many deck specialists are artists and craftsman searching for ways to hone their skills and take their reptutations to the next level. Five years ago, when a client was asked what was more important, price or design, the common response was, “I’m on a limited budget and just need a place to put my grill, a table, and some chairs.” Conversely, today’s clients are seeking a little more flair and pizzazz out of their outdoor living space. Size, lower maintenance, multiple colors, picture frame borders, and other amenities have become hot ticket items. As business has picked up, so has the volume of competition, and deck specialists everywhere are finding new and better ways to separate themselves from the unimaginative masses. Today’s composite and PVC manufacturers have made this a rather simple process, requiring only a little research and creativity. They are producing boards that have the option of solid or multichromatic coloring, providing contractors and their clientele a vast array of design and price options. One of the simplest and most visually appealing of these options will be the picture frame border, whether it’s a single, double or triple, allowing designers to incorporate contrasting accent colors at very little expense. With straight decking, the average crew can add this feature to a project in 30 minutes or less; in almost no time at all you’ve created a 48
wow factor that will set you well above your competition. On larger decks, that border can be incorporated into transition boards or inlays between decking patterns, allowing the craftsman to eliminate unsightly butt joints. As one example, creative contractors are going from an octagonal corner on a deck to completing the visual outline into the deck pattern with the border board giving the appearance of a full octagon without having to change levels and losing useful deck space. Going a step further, that same accent color can be incorporated into a deck board rail cap feature. Clients will thank you for being forward thinking and providing them with a place to set plates, drinks and other implements on their railings. Our experience has even shown examples of the border colors being used as the stair treads, really tying the deck and colors together. A good approach is to offer it as an option when presenting your initial base design. When clients see how much nicer your deck will be for only a few dollars more, you already have a leg up on the competition. You have displayed a uniqueness that others are either unwilling or incapable of providing. After all, you are Deck Specialists and should continue to “Set the Standard in Excellence.” With 35+ years experience in construction, Brendan Casey, with his wife Dianna, launched Casey Fence & Deck, Frederick, MD., fulfilling a growing need in the outdoor living market for an innovative and creative custom builder.