Volume 9, Issue 3 - March 2008

Door and Trends
Window Making Grand Entrances is a Big One 
by Tara Taffera

The peephole is back. But it’s bigger and more elaborate than ever. It now takes the form of a speakeasy and dozens of these could be found around the halls of the International Builders’ Show (IBS), held recently in Atlanta. And these beautiful doors, made of wood or fiberglass, are similar to a fine piece of furniture that consumers can show off to the outside world. 

IBS is a venue for door and window manufacturers to unveil their latest product offerings and a way to gain insights into the latest door and window trends. Read on to find out what else will be big in 2008. (It’s far more than green products.)

Making a Statement in the Entry Way 
Door manufacturers are making entrances more dramatic. Company officials at Weather Shield believe the latest trends include furniture-quality fenestration products. To meet this need, the company introduced a variety of products including the Neoclassical Collection, the second family in the Collections™ Distinctive wood door and window line. The new family is well-suited for upscale traditional custom homes that replicate classic architectural styles popular from the 1700s to the early 20th century. 

“The Neoclassical Collection is unlike any other window or door product line available,” said Jeff Williams, senior brand manager for architectural marketing for Weather Shield. “We’ve painstakingly considered every detail of this product line to ensure it truly captures the authenticity of the period. The narrow sash profile, optional sash lugs, simulated divided lites with a colonial ogee profile to the interior and a putty glazed bar to the exterior and solid wood construction are almost unheard of in today’s era of mass production.” 

As the second family in the Collections product line, the Neoclassical Collection builds on the foundation of the first, the Spanish Colonial Collection (which was another trend seen widely at IBS—doors built around Spanish architecture). But this product isn’t just found in the Southwest. In fact, Plastpro’s Marcel Chehade said these designs can be found in any state, even Midwestern ones such as Ohio. Another popular element seen around the show and offered by Plastpro is the Craftsman and rustic styles.

Plastpro offers dramatic fiberglass doors incorporating beautiful design elements shown by many manufacturers at IBS. The company also introduced authentic wrought iron glass and wrought iron frames as just another stylish option for homeowners. This rustic look was offered by dozens of manufacturers showing that it is definitely a trend to watch. 

And when it comes to these entry door designs it seems that bigger is better. Chehade reports that even 42-inch doors are being built in double doors.

Pella was another manufacturer focusing on dramatic door designs. 

“Your home can literally look like your castle,” said Pella’s Kathy Krafka Harkema. 

Pella’s new wood entry doors satisfy the appetite for luxurious beauty, she said. Made of quality woods including mahogany, rustic walnut, American white oak and cherry, Pella wood entry doors feature the look of fine wood furniture. In addition, forged iron accents, and unique, decorative hardware in a variety of options are available on the company’s entry doors. 

New Vinyl Lines 
While the wood and fiberglass manufacturers had a flair for the dramatic, vinyl manufacturers were in full force with new lines as well. 

PGT Industries introduced its new Vinyl Series 2100. The new construction line offers wood-like details such as traditional brickmould frames, contour grids, simulated divided lites, wood-like trim detail, while also offering optimal thermal performance. The windows have one-week lead times, according to the company. 

On the replacement side, YKK AP America introduced a line of windows for the residential market, designed to complement any architectural style. The new line is available in double-hung casements and picture windows, as well as bay and bows.

The windows also feature energy-efficient and low-maintenance glass, according to the company. 

“In response to consumer desire for low-maintenance products, we wanted to add more value to our replacement windows by offering it as a standard feature,” said Pat Daniels, director of sales and marketing. “Homeowners will appreciate that fact that these windows require even less maintenance than other products without paying the premium.”

Aluminum is Still a Force
With all the luxury wood doors on display, luxury products were also offered by Fleetwood USA, but in aluminum doors. These stood out among the plethora of wood offerings. The company offers everything from luxury entrance doors to multi-slide and pocket door systems to traditional sliding doors. It also offers an impact-rated sliding door system for coastal markets. 

MW Windows & Doors®, a manufacturer of door and window products for residential construction, unveiled MIRA™, a new line of premium aluminum-clad wood windows and patio doors. The MIRA line enhances residential exteriors by providing the authentic look of wood with the durability of extruded aluminum. “This is the first time MW [a Ply Gem company] has introduced a new product in five years,” said Jim Horn. “It’s our first entry into an aluminum-clad window.”

According to Chris Pickering, vice president of marketing for Ply Gem Window Group, homeowners demand quality craftsmanship, which is why the line was created.

“It affordably delivers the precision craftsmanship and superior performance builders demand and buyers expect from premium windows and patio doors. It also gives builders and architects a wide range of choices so they have the flexibility to create an individualized look,” said Pickering. 

MIRA products are made from solid wood components, which are vacuum-treated to resist damage from water, insects and fungus, and then clad in extruded aluminum that won’t ding or dent. 

MIRA products are Energy Star®-qualified in all zones. Each product is built to order by experienced craftsmen and all orders—even custom ones—are delivered within two weeks.

Automation/Universal Design
While DWM first reported on the universal design trend in September 2007, more companies were in evidence at IBS to be offering these products (see related story in the September 2007 issue of DWM, page 60). In fact, JELD-WEN Windows and Doors discussed what company officials see as one of the trends in homebuilding and design. One of these is universal design, which company executives keep in mind when coming up with new products. 

The company introduced its new MAG-Lock technology for vinyl windows. The product comes standard on its premium vinyl slider and single-hung windows. 

“With the MAG-Lock you can literally use just one finger or the side of your hand to operate and lock your windows,” said Brian Hedlund, product marketing manager for Jeld-Wen. “In addition to its stylish design, the MAG-Lock is a fully concealed mechanism that is streamlined into the window profile. Security is a key benefit given it’s concealed from the outside of the house.”

Hedlund says this is a perfect example of universal design as homeowners plan for the future and look for ways to live comfortably at home as they age. 

Locca, a division of the Amesbury Group, also unveiled an automated technology, this one a wireless device for front doors. The new ACCESS and MULTI products give homeowners the ability to push a remote button, and push or pull the door open. One of the best features of the Access and Multi is that it works with most locking handle sets on the market today, according to the company. It simply utilizes an electronic strike in the doorframe that releases the locked latch on existing hardware. An upgrade to these systems is the CONNECTA, a wireless intercom for the home. Rather than walking to a wall-mounted unit to talk to a visitor at the front door, homeowners can carry a handheld receiver. They can speak and unlock the door from wherever they are—up to 200 yards away.

“Response to these products has been phenomenal,” says Amber Grayson, North American sales manager for Amesbury Locca. She said many door manufacturers at IBS stopped by the booth to see the technology in action first-hand. 

Kolbe Windows and Doors also featured universal design options. Its Ultra and Heritage Series features motorized operators, longer crank handles, larger knobs or oversized lever locks to make casement windows easier to use. On double-hungs, a crank handle allows the bottom sash to be operated with minimal effort in a seated position. 

Filling in the Gaps/Single-Source
With a tight market and every company vying for business, many opted to introduce products to fill a gap in their product lines. Others are marketing themselves as the single-source supplier, and this includes Deceuninck North America (DNA), which wants to be viewed as a solutions provider. 

“We’re moving into the role of a building materials supplier,” said DNA’s Lori LePera. “The fabricators know who we are. We’re going to target the end consumer. Consumers say, ‘We never heard of you.’ We want the Deceuninck name to be recognized.”

At Ply Gem, owner of several window companies including Great Lakes, Alenco and MW Windows, “we now have everything from high-end to price point windows,” said Horn. Wayne Gorell, president of Gorell Windows and Doors, whose company serves the Eastern half of the United States, has adopted a similar philosophy. 

The company introduced a new patio door for one of its lines, as well as a variety of new options such as between the glass blinds and new colors and finishes. “People tell us, ‘This guy has this, this guy has that,’” said Gorell. “We decided we’re going to offer it all that way they can get it all from one source.”

Marvin also filled a void in its product line by adding the All Ultrex Sliding Patio Door to its Integrity line.

“The addition of the All Ultrex Sliding Patio Door means that builders and homeowners can now choose All Ultrex products for a complete home package,” said Brett Boyum, Integrity marketing director.

Green Options 
Many manufacturers did offer green options, though for many it wasn’t the main focus. One major manufacturer representative said company officials wanted to determine what their green message was before talking about it to builders. 

At Silverline, a company representative pointed out that builders are looking for ways to reduce costs. “They’ll choose energy-efficient options if it doesn’t cost more,” he said. “The smaller custom builders will ask for these options [more than others] to set themselves apart.”

MI Windows and Doors did have a section of its booth dedicated to green products and conveyed the message, “MI believes in green.” And its Bridge Wood product focused on the product’s energy-efficient features. 

It’s all About Customization and Enhancements 
Although we’ve heard about manufacturers offering custom sizes and custom colors for years now, it’s not really new, but still an ongoing trend worth noting. Stop by any booth and manufacturers will tell you about their ability to offer an abundance of colors, color matching and more. Eagle Windows and Door’s Mike Kern noted this as a popular trend. 

As far as enhancements go, Andersen had several to offer attendees. This includes new hinged patio doors, more tilt-wash sizes, new accessories like TruScene® insect screens and folding casement hardware. Or choose factory-applied extension jambs to speed up installation. Additionally, protective film is now on nearly all Andersen 200 Series, 400 Series and architectural windows and doors, a product also featured by other manufacturers at IBS. 

So no matter what market you serve, there are definite opportunities available in 2008. 

Look to future issues of DWM magazine for more products introduced at the Builders’ Show including the Annual New Products Guide in May. 

Tara Taffera is the editor/publisher of DWM magazine. 


© Copyright 2008 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.