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In early January, the NAHB 2018 International Builders’ Show® (IBS) brought together more than 85,000 global building industry professionals to learn about and from each other.
Over the course of the show, the Eden Valders Stone team had the opportunity to speak with a variety of attendees ranging from manufacturers and distributors to contractors, designers and homeowners. We gained many valuable insights about natural stone trends and the larger building industry as a whole. Here are a few key takeaways.
Natural Stone Trends
1. “Faux” is less acceptable
Availability, price point and ease of installation gave precast stone products their heyday in residential and commercial installations. However, their lack of durability and boring, uniform look has the trend turning back toward investing in the strength and beauty of natural stone.
2. Luxury surroundings
Natural stone is a perennial favorite of homeowners designing and constructing their dream estates. Many higher end commercial entities like hotels, restaurants and spas are now opting to add natural stone to their environments to enhance the aesthetics and create an extravagant guest experience.
3. Dimensional patterns
Subdued textures, sleek lines and more organized patterns are gaining popularity for home exteriors. The square-and-rectangle Ashlar pattern, for example, is quickly becoming the preferred choice over more rustic natural stone cuts and randomly laid patterns.
4. Cleaner cuts and solid surfaces
Natural stone variations like pitting, veining and uneven textures are prized among those seeking to make a statement with their natural stone installation; however, these traits can sometimes require more routine cleaning. Preferences are gravitating toward cleaner cuts and solid surfaces that maintain the unique character of natural stone without the added upkeep, especially for landscape stone (e.g., pavers used for deck and patio applications).
5. Building exterior-landscape fluidity
Pairing natural stone wall exteriors with landscape elements to create a custom, cohesive look is emerging for residential and commercial projects. If, for instance, a Valders® veneer is used on the walls on a building, the corresponding Valders® patio and paving products are used for the landscape surroundings.
Building Industry Findings
1. American pride
“Made in the USA” has always been a national pride point, but American-made products, including natural stone, are enjoying a resurgence in demand. In fact, a number of distributors and manufacturers are choosing to reshore overseas projects in order to support domestic industries.
Hand in hand with having projects return from overseas comes simplified logistics. A natural stone project that once took months to complete and deliver — with no firm guarantee of accuracy — is now efficiently turned through local, regional or national vendors. The closer proximity is also helping distributors and manufacturers realize shorter lead times and better project control.
3. Skilled labor obstacles
Many trades are grappling with the impact of retiring experienced craftsmen and the lack of a new generation of replacements. This deficiency compounds concerns about completing the volume of work generated by the substantial construction uptick, making relationships with and guidance from knowledgeable vendors like Eden Valders Stone even more valuable.
We had a blast at the show and can’t wait for next year’s event in Las Vegas! Whether you had a chance to stop by our booth or weren’t able to attend the show, we know there’s nothing quite like seeing the beauty of natural stone firsthand. For a better understanding of why natural stone like Type III Dolomitic Limestone is a recurrent trendsetter, click the button below to request your free samples.