Showcase a breadth of knowledge, remain relevant and add specific value by staying on top of significant trends driving the marketplace.
It's no secret that the housing market was a wild ride in 2021 with above-average home prices and a lack of inventory because of fierce competition. Housing inventory was extremely low throughout 2021, and according to Forbes, the demand for apartments and single-family homes continues to outpace supply.
Because of the time crunches and the lack of inventory, many folks are looking to stay in their current homes, as opposed to moving. With that said, there are a few trends to keep an eye on, as homeowners look to make their current residences "forever-homes."
Staying on top of new trends and products can help make your projects more efficient and consistent. It's critical for plumbers, just like manufacturers, to understand their end-users and what they prefer. Many plumbers working with homeowners will also have to work with designers who care about the latest bath and kitchen design trends, such as creating a spa-like experience or a new focus on sustainability.
Let's take a look at five trends to know in 2022 to showcase elevated knowledge of the residential bath space.
1. Baby boomer interest in aging-in-place design
According to Seniorliving.org, aging-in-place means "a person making a conscious decision to stay in the habitation of their choice for as long as they can with the comforts that are important to them."
It refers to a person in their golden years when they can live in the residence of their preference and can still access the things they require and are used to in their daily lives. As the population ages, especially the baby boomer generation, we see an increasing demand for accessibility in the bathroom and kitchen.
Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and are currently between 57-75 years old. Aging-in-place design helps this generation extend the longevity of their homes and the time they spend in them — as opposed to relocating or moving. Embarking on a renovation to create their “forever home,” baby boomers are incorporating universal-design principles that will assist with accessibility in the years ahead.
This increased focus on aging-in-place design has allowed baby boomers to refresh their kitchen and bath design while also making it more accessible. And nowadays, accessibility doesn't have to mean "institutional" design. According to the Houzz top 40 home design trend predictions for 2022, universal design prioritizes products and features that look as good as they are functional.
There are many great accessible products available today, such as grab bars in trendy finishes or stylish linear drains for zero-threshold showers. Imagine more wet room applications where the shower, soaking tub and other master bathroom upgrades are influenced by current European designs. Zero-threshold showers are gaining momentum, and professionals see seniors wanting integrated seating and grab bars in showers.
As bathroom design trends favor greater use of open-room concepts, curbless entries, larger tiles and varied finish materials are at the forefront. The adaptability of the linear drain has grown central to achieving these styles — whether the aesthetic is traditional, modern, or somewhere in between.
2. Remodeling to create a "forever home."
Tying into the increased interest in aging-in-place design, and in light of the housing market's current state, homeowners of all ages seek to turn their current homes into “forever homes” and are looking to implement renovations that can extend the life of their residences. Furthermore, many people are looking to renovate their own homes because they've spent so much time in them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This trend has created high demand for bathroom and kitchen renovations, as homeowners invest in their homes and create the spaces they want. Some popular renovations or upgrades include fully remodeled bathrooms, including walk-in, low-curb showers, free-standing tubs, multiple showerheads and sprays, and heated floors.
3. Creating a spa-like atmosphere
Many homeowners have found new ways to use the bathroom to enhance well-being and manage stress in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and being stuck at home. Managing stress by adding the necessary self-care amenities allows consumers to regenerate in the comfort of their own homes.
There is an increasing demand for amenities like steam showers, extra-deep soaking tubs, water filtration, and voice-activated smart features that promote relaxation for the homeowner.
While we see more considerations regarding hygiene and cleanliness, those demands are more prevalent in commercial applications, such as hospitality, assisted-living facilities, and healthcare.
In the residential space, the focus has been to turn the home into a personal "oasis," creating spa-like environments. People are spending significantly more time at home, and they want their master bathrooms to feel like a spa where they can retreat to escape.
4. Time-efficient products to help keep up with demand
A critical shift in the residential plumbing space has been the extraordinary supply shortages our industry faces. Experts predict that in 2022, we will continue to see new-home construction fall short of the ongoing demand, as the United States deals with supply chain issues and labor shortages. More than ever, plumbers are going to be focused on delivering high-quality work as quickly as possible to keep up with the significant customer demand, which makes time-efficient products extremely valuable.
One way to increase time efficiency while navigating these challenges is to opt for a system approach versus a component approach. A system is a great way to save time and enable you to do more jobs.
The QuickDrain complete shower solution is an example of a shower system that saves time. The integrated PVC drain, combined with pre-sloped shower panels and waterproofing accessories, represents a total shower solution for promoting effective and efficient drainage. It can be installed in as little as one day.
Another system to consider is the Dearborn True Blue Bathwaste Rough-In Kit. Its pre-assembled components make installation quicker, so you can go from box to test faster. It includes a screwless overflow faceplate, overflow gasket, press-in trim veneer, locking drain gasket, and quarter-turn test plugs.
Additionally, as the remodeling market continues to boom, it's crucial to have a strategy to keep up with high demand throughout the supply-chain disruption. As always, products that save time and money and have a strong value proposition are critical, but because product availability may be unpredictable, ensuring you have the necessary products on hand may require some flexibility and willingness to try new things.
5. New technologies and macro trend.
Additional market factors to consider are macro-trends such as sustainability, water quality and smart-home technology:
Sustainability: According to the Houzz top 40 home design trend predictions for 2022, sustainable building practices have long been a focus of environmentalists. But recent shifts in the global dialogue have brought the idea to the forefront for the average homeowner, sparking a new wave of adoption. There is an increased focus on using sustainable solutions in the bathroom, such as efficient faucets, water-saving showerheads, and LED lighting. There is an equal focus on the sustainable renovation of bathroom spaces in both the commercial and residential segments.
A meaningful way to create a green bathroom is to use sustainable building materials for new construction and remodeling. Such materials include bamboo flooring, reclaimed wood, porcelain, and PET (polyethylene terephthalate).
The QuickDrain complete shower solution is an eco-friendly option. More than 19 million plastic bottles have been repurposed into thousands of pre-sloped and tile-ready shower pan systems since 2015. Made of extruded rigid PET plastic foam, the lightweight and shatterproof shower pans and panels are constructed from 100%-post-consumer, plastic water bottles.
Water Quality: People are more concerned today than they were 20 years ago about water usage and quality: what is coming out of their tap, and whether it is safe to drink. Many companies focus on water usage by developing smart products that can tell homeowners exactly how much water their household uses.
Smart home: Bathroom remodels and updates come down to far more than just plumbing and piping. Contractors who embrace technological advances will have a serious competitive advantage as bathroom trends change to accommodate the smart home concept.
People are comfortable using their smartphones to access information quickly and easily. These devices contain apps that monitor how many steps you've taken in a day, while connecting to your home security system to let you know that your front door is open.
Plumbing is the same way. Smart home technology may include water heater WiFi Adapters that offer complete visibility on water usage or identify leaks; or digital faucets with temperature gauges and efficiency sensors that carefully control how much water is used in the kitchen or the bathroom. There is an increasing demand for smart amenities like voice-activated mirrors, high-tech toilets, self-cleaning seats with a bidet, heating elements and overflow protection.
Staying on top of these trends will allow you to join the conversation with practical solutions while showcasing a great breadth of product knowledge and design expertise in the residential space.