Volume 46, Issue 5 - June 2007
Using the Web to Teach about Outdoor Products
“We believe that decks are the next wave of remodeling,” says Gary Maulin, sawn products manager at McFarland Cascade. “Just like today’s kitchens and bathrooms go far beyond their utilitarian uses, a thoughtfully designed and inviting outdoor area extends your living space and adds to the livability, comfort—and value of the home,” he says.
The Tacoma, Wash.-based building materials supplier specializes in outdoor construction and developed a new website to help consumers envision the possibilities of what they can do outside of their homes. The company says its ideas go far beyond a simple deck or porch surface. Its site is designed to drive inspired consumers toward its certified contractors.
“The home and lifestyle category hasn’t paid a lot of attention to outdoor living spaces, and our website is meant to change that,” Maulin says. “By giving people ideas about how to use the best materials for their outdoor products, we hope to inspire more possibilities and help them get the most from their outdoor-living environment.”
The site is a one-stop resource, offering consumers ideas and information about the best materials to develop those ideas. Once the customer has an idea of what they want, they’re connected with certified contractors who can turn ideas into reality. Consumers can search McFarland Cascade-certified contractors by zip code. Interested contractors are also offered the opportunity to become certified. After a simple registration process, they can get customer referrals as well as other complimentary marketing assistance.
Gary Hardin, merchandise manager of Lumbermens, a chain of contractor-focused building material centers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and Arizona, and part of Pro-Build Inc. thinks highly of the concept.
“The new website helps give contractors and consumers an added value in this sometimes difficult to navigate decking materials marketplace,” Hardin says. “Consumers or their contractors can get great ideas, then come to us ready to act on them.”
The site serves as a true information and shopping source, with readily available information on decking, railing materials and accessories, design tips, deck care advice and more. Featured products include: Stonedeck™—light-weight natural stone tiles backed with a high-strength composite designed to install on standard above ground deck frames with no additional substructure; Extreme Tropical Hardwoods—offering richness and durability that choosy customers appreciate with dramatic grains and distinctive colors; Xtendex®—A rice-hull-based composite that naturally resists insects and mold, featuring a Quick Clip no-visible-screw building system; RhinoDeck®—a wood alternative, composite decking system comprised of 50-percent recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and 50-percent recycled wood fibers; and Rain Escape and DrySnap—a product that allows homeowners to maximize outdoor living spaces by transforming unsightly under-deck overhangs into dry and attractive usable spaces.
Users can download a product catalog and even order free samples. Deck design software with versions for consumers and professionals is also available. McFarland Cascade currently distributes its products to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii. www.mcfarlandcascade.com
Survey Says … Long-Term Low-Maintenance
Four out of five homeowners would prefer new durable, long-lasting and low-maintenance products for their roofing and decking projects, according to a survey from national research firm Synovate. The study was conducted for TAMKO Building Products Inc., a building products manufacturer in Joplin, Mo.
When replacing a roof, more than half of homeowners would choose asphalt roofing materials. But the study also showed that synthetic slate or shake shingles and metal shingles are gaining in popularity. This may be attributed to the fact that 85 percent of homeowners indicate they are looking for products with greater wind, impact and fire resistance. Wind and impact resistance are most desired among homeowners in the southern United States, while fire resistance is desired throughout the country. People also care about the lifespan of products and warranties. More than 80 percent of those surveyed indicated they want products with warranties up to 50 years.
Stephen McNally, TAMKO’s vice president of sales and marketing says, “Homeowners said they want products that can stand up to Mother Nature, but with a minimum of maintenance work.”
He says the company offers roofing materials such as Lamarite Slate and Lamarite Shake Composite Shingles, and MetalWorks Steel Shingles that are UL listed for Class-A fire and wind resistance, offered with a 50-year limited warranty.
As for decking upgrades, the study showed majority of homeowners are looking for similar features in low maintenance, durable alternatives to wood. The following features ranked highest among those surveyed: boards that won’t warp; excellent slip resistance; warranty of 25 years or more; splinter resistance; no painting, staining or sanding required; and the look of real wood in a composite material.
McNally says Tamko also offers decking products to meet these needs, but recommends that homeowners research material options then consult with their roofing or decking contractors to determine which products best suit individual needs. www.tamko.com
Lighting Up the Web
Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, an outdoor lighting and landscape company, has launched an online Outdoor Lighting Fixtures Gallery on its interactive website. The site features corrosion-resistant copper and brass handcrafted outdoor lighting fixtures and comprehensive information on outdoor lighting path lights, floodlights, pond lights, well lights and deck lights.
Outdoor Lighting Perspectives has locally-owned outdoor lighting franchisees throughout the United States, The Bahamas and Ireland. www.outdoorlights.com
Online Tools For Building Business
Correct Building Products LLC, manufacturer of CorrectDeck®, has relaunched its contractor loyalty program as the CorrectBuilt Zone. The Biddeford, Maine-based company says its program offers educational opportunities and rewards for participation in the form of tools and incentives designed for decking businesses.
Contractors can visit www.correctbuiltzone.com to receive qualified homeowner leads, connect with industry leaders and other contractors, access instant information about products and earn points towards CorrectDeck merchandise and personalized marketing tools.
There are two membership levels for contractors—basic and premier. Basic membership serves as an introduction to the program including a sales presentation kit, program welcome package, online warranty registration and trade magazine subscriptions. Contractors then have the opportunity to achieve the premier member level, where they are entitled to added benefits such as a web listing, program certificate, homeowner leads, product coupons and specials, a web discussion forum, an enhanced product binder and zone points.
Correct Building Products® LLC, also recently announced that it has formed a manufacturing and sales alliance with Tendura Corp. LLC to become the exclusive manufacturer of the Tendura line of low-maintenance composite tongue-and-groove porch products. www.correctdeck.com
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