Over the past several decades, the outdoor living market has grown as more buyers look for homes with outdoor spaces like patios, decks, and backyards. In a recent report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), almost 58% of survey respondents showed an interest in outdoor living spaces, a trend which was only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
In response to the pandemic, the NAHB conducted research to discover what homebuyers want in their homes and communities. Roughly 25% of buyers acknowledged that the health crisis had an impact on their housing preferences, with 75% favoring outdoor features like “exterior lighting, a patio, a front porch, a rear porch, and a deck,” according to the report. Though outdoor spaces can provide oases for homeowners, they can be unusable for months at a time in states where the winter months can create a rather hostile environment.
When snow and ice take over during the cold seasons, outdoor products can winterize homes by melting slippery surfaces and heating exterior spaces in subzero temperatures. From thermal mats and curtains to weather resistant heaters, these winter products can help homes brace for even the most extreme winter weather to allow homeowners to enjoy their outdoor spaces year-round.
HeatTrak Snow Melting Mats
HeatTrak’s snow and ice melting mats connect to a 120V electrical outlet and gently heat walkways, stairs, driveways, and other exterior surfaces to melt 2 inches of snow per hour, according to the company site. Rather than shoveling or coating walkways with rock salt, melting mats offer a hands-off approach to winter maintenance for northerners battling even the most frigid elements.
The portable mats range in length from 30 inches up to 30 feet and vary in width to cover different outdoor surfaces. Power units are required to connect the heating system to a power source and are sold separately by HeatTrak.
R.W.Flame Patio Heater
The Waterproof Outdoor Electric Patio Heater by R.W.Flame uses infrared heating technology with carbon fiber tubes to produce concentrated heat in 3 seconds, according to the company site. The electric heater has a 3-stage thermal setting in 500 / 1000 / 1500W mode and a 24-hour timing function to prevent overheating. R.W.Flame’s patio heater has an adjustable freestanding base for flexible height fixtures as well as a waterproof IP65 remote control that allows users to monitor and control heat settings from a distance.
KGORGE Thermal Patio Curtains
To trap warmth from patio heaters and block out frigid winter temperatures, thermal patio curtains like KGORGE’s windproof insulated blackout curtains can enclose outdoor spaces and preserve heat even in the most extreme weather. The polyester curtains are weighted with silver grommets to withstand heavy winds and offer 85%-95% blackout rates, according to the company site.
KGORGE’s patio curtains are woven with a waterproof material that “not only can block out sunlight but also withstand high wind and rain as well,” the company claims. Product testimonies report year-round use with durability even in northern climates where winter weather typically restricts the use of outdoor spaces for months at a time.
Caesarstone Weather-Resistant Countertop
Caesarstone’s weather resistant outdoor countertops combine luxury and durability with quartz surfaces that are “stain-resistant, easy-to-clean,” and capable of “withstanding rain, snow or shine,” according to the Georgia-based company. The outdoor Caesarstone countertop collection comes in a range of color options and all surfaces are “nonporous, nonabsorbent, and easy to clean,” but perhaps most appealing to those who live in cold regions is a temperature resistant guarantee for all countertops.
Paired with thermal patio equipment, Caesarstone quartz countertops can be used year-round in outdoor kitchens and entertainment spaces regardless of outdoor temperature.
Solo Stove Fire Pit
Solo Stove’s compact, ultralight fire pits are portable and durable with a stainless steel exterior. According to the company site, they use a “Signature 360° Airflow Design” which “creates a super efficient secondary burn. That means there’s way less smoke compared to other fire pits.” Solo Stove also offers an all-weather cover to protect their full range of fire pits from the elements, particularly during the winter season. Though Solo Stoves come in various sizes, all outdoor fire pits are lightweight, so they can easily be stored away when not in use.