Volume 8, Issue 6 - June 2007

From the Publisher

A Wood of a Different Color
by Tara Taffera

In this age of competition where differentiation is the name of the game, and in which wood struggles to compete against vinylís growing market share, manufacturers of all types are offering more optionsóand theyíre getting colorful.

Who can blame them? Color seems to be key in this age of differentiation. DWMís March issue talked about the use of paints and coatings on doors and windows to offer color and the May New Products Guide issue featured a relatively new process used mainly on vinyl windows, exterior laminating, that allows a variety of colors to be used. 

So itís logical that companies like Windsor Windows would expand the color palette for its wood windows (the company manufactures both wood and vinyl windows). The manufacturer announced recently that customers, including homeowners and builders, can now choose from 30 additional clad colors. Windsor says that this new program, and the ability to custom color match, makes it a more comprehensive company from which to buy windows.

ďThe marketplace is becoming more diverse; it is becoming an increasing priority among homeowners and builders to differentiate their home and businesses from others. Offering a variety of cladding colors is one way to help our distributors meet this growing demand,Ē says Eric Holm, Windsorís product manager.

The above statement definitely makes sense but the editor in me couldnít help but look at the flip side. Why shouldnít a company that offers vinyl and wood leave the color options to vinyl? Why leave the beauty of wood to speak for itself? I donít mean to pick on Windsor, Iím sure I could give examples of other manufacturers doing the very same thing, it just so happens that this company happens to now be on my radar screen since this recent announcement.

On the other hand, color is huge right now in the homebuilding and window market, as homeowners aim to match doors and windows with their shutters, and other exterior options. So if a builder opts to use wood windows, itís logical that the builder would demand that wood manufacturers offer them color options. If not, they will go with another manufacturer. And, after competing for market share, wood manufacturers canít afford to let that happen. Still, as wood struggles to compete with vinyl, wood manufacturers often talk about the beauty of wood as one of its strong points, so why fool around with that message?

It makes me think of the orange juice commercial that, touting its naturalness, says ď100-percent un-fooled around with.Ē Could wood manufacturers tinker with that statement and market their products in a similar way? It would definitely be a point of differentiation, and is something to ponder. This is our wood issue, and youíll find a variety of articles within these pages related to wood windows and what companies can do to compete. Ultimately, itís about whatís right for your company. 


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