Industry Trends4 min

Trends in Exterior Colors and Materials

"The use of color is widely recognized as an important strategic advantage in successfully marketing new residential developments. Color creates a sense of arrival and a sense of place - often long before a community is fully built."

The above statement, as stated on Denver’s Stella Color+Design website, demonstrates how color is defining itself as a subset of design. Today, Stella is one of the nation's leading exterior home color strategists in the homebuilding industry, and has prestigious clients like David Weekley Homes, KB Home and many more. Stella president Rick Overby is one of the thought leaders who spoke about 2019 color trends at this year's NAHB International Builders' Show, or IBS.

"One of my key points at IBS was about the need for intentional color and material design," Overby said. "Whether you're building in Seattle or Houston or Miami, there are a lot of visual cues all around you that make each location unique. The goal is to make thoughtful selections that are both appropriate and sophisticated."

A visualizer tool can help you play around with home siding color options, textures and mixed materials to see what direction you might want to explore. Of course, it's important to keep a holistic view in mind when planning a large community.

"The builders we work with have intentional brand strategies for their communities, so we really need to do our homework upfront," says Overby. "We carefully review all the architectural plans and take a close look at all four sides of the homes in progress to make sure that colors and materials are resolving appropriately."

Overby added, “Mixed materials help determine the style and allow for multiple color applications. For example, if you have a low-pitch roof with shake in the gable end plus lap siding and the rest of the exterior is stone, it automatically starts to read 'Craftsman' versus a more vertical gable with board and batten that says 'Farmhouse.' With Farmhouse, we might take a more monochromatic approach where it's mainly one color with perhaps a second color that's only on the fascia and soffit and not on the window trim."

While Overby has fun choosing vibrant exterior home color palettes for entry-level homes that target young buyers, higher end homes usually need to be more elegant. "We're recommending some really crisp deep charcoal and black exteriors on these upscale homes," he says. "They also feature a variety of textures and profiles - and that's where products like LP prefinished siding come into play. We’re seeing vertical siding paired creatively with horizontal – and sometimes a tight lap next to a wider lap where we can change color.”

Advertising agencies have long realized that color can make or break a new product. That's also true in homebuilding - and one of the reasons why Stella now has clients nationwide, not just in the Denver area.

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Business Advice6 min

On the Cutting Edge of Cost-Cutting

There are only two ways to boost your bottom line: increase revenue and cut costs. In this blog, we'll explore innovative ways for builders to cut costs in order to increase homebuilder profit margins - and we'll examine revenue enhancement in a future post.

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Industry Trends6 min
Where the Construction Labor Shortage Is Most Severe

According to the latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 4 million people now work in residential construction (both single-family and multifamily) - down from the 5 million who were employed just before the Great Recession. Although the workforce has shrunk by 20 percent nationwide, some parts of the country are experiencing less pain than others. Similarly, light commercial construction has been reportedly back on the rise post-Recession, with IBISWorld reporting that the recovery started just before 2014 and continuing steadily through 2019 (source).

Industry Trends7 min
A Commitment to Product Availability

It's frustrating when factors outside of your control cause you delays or unexpected expenses during a project. Those factors could be weather delays, insufficient staffing, breakdowns in cash flow and unreliable product availability. LP devotes significant resources each year to ensure that its product availability is second to none. Because even the most innovative building solution is useless to customers unless they know that it's available when they really need it.

Business Advice10 min
How to Prevent Lap Siding from Buckling by Using a Butt Joint

It's a silly name, but a "butt joint" is an application technique where two pieces of material are "butted" up against each other. It is the simplest joint to make, and a butt joint can be either end to end or end to face. Depending on the width of the wall, butt joints will occur where two pieces of lap siding come together, creating a vertical seam. LP® SmartSide® lap siding products are available in 16' lengths, and can help reduce the amount of seams where a butt joint would normally occur when using shorter pieces.