Volume 10, Issue 3 - March 2009

The Show Must Go On

Yes, the International Builders’ Show had considerably fewer attendees than last year (44,000 fewer to be exact). This wasn’t a huge surprise given the state of the housing market and the economy as a whole. But it didn’t stop the door and window industry from unveiling new products at the show. So if you make windows, read on for the components displayed in Las Vegas. And if you couldn’t make it to the show here’s a first hand look at your competition.

New Door and Window Products
Andersen Windows
introduced its 100 Series windows and patio doors, a product that the company said is designed for the West Coast. “We didn’t have much of a presence there,” said the company’s Susan Roeder. “Our biggest customers are in the Northeast. But this product is allowing us to expand into that market.”

“This product line is tailored to the likes and needs of builders in the West, and we know they and their customers will appreciate its sustainable design,” added Blaine Verdoon, Andersen marketing manager. The product is made from the company’s patented Fibrex® material, a structural composite that blends the attributes of polymer and wood fiber. Much of the wood fiber is reclaimed directly from Andersen’s manufacturing plant operations, said Verdoon. Recycled content is an important aspect to the construction of 100 Series products. The overall amount of recycled content is certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) and ranges from a minimum of 18 to 24 percent pre-consumer recycled glass and wood fiber content .“We know our competition can’t match that [the recycled content],” said Roeder.

Another company promoting its SCS certification, as a point of differentiation, was CMI. The company announced that its CraftMaster® molded door designs, MiraTEC® trim and Extira® panels have received this certification. SCS verified all three products have no added urea formaldehyde, while CraftMaster molded door designs were also certified to contain a minimum of 63 percent by weight, pre-consumer recycled content. A few manufacturers at the show, including Hurd Windows and Doors, introduced products that are a combination of a few different materials. The company introduced its H3 Remarkably Advanced Windows, a product four years in the making, according to Hurd’s April Lucas. “Management told our engineers to start from scratch and design a mid-priced builder series window that is true to the Hurd brand,” she said. “Some have attempted similar products but there is nothing on the market like this.”

The product is constructed of a vinyl base frame with a wood interior. It is extruded aluminum-clad, which Lucas said is unique for this price point.

“This costs 15 percent less than a regular wood-clad window,” she said. 

The patent-pending, fusion technology (fusing three materials together) offers a .31 U factor for the total unit which Lucas said will meet the first tier of the proposed Energy Star requirements. Another company offering a hybrid product was BiltBest Windows and Doors. Its new CrossBilt double-hung series consists of an aluminum-clad sash, a cellular PVC exterior and an all-wood interior, etc. 

“You’re getting three different materials in one product,” said BiltBest’s Lindsay Molter. The company also introduced a variety of different products at different price points.

“We’ll be ready when the market picks up,” said BiltBest’s Bert Falco.

Marvin Windows and Doors added to its casement line with the addition of its Ultimate Push-Out Casement and Awning. Unlike crank out casements and awnings, this window has handles that opens the window in one turn, according to Marvin’s John Kirchner.  It is available in large sizes and numerous configurations. In order to have a screen that works with the window’s wash mode, the product employ a swinging screen.   “We’ve had a lot of feedback on this product,” said Kirchner. “Many people are seeing it for the first time.”

Marvin, well-known for its Integrity line of fiberglass doors and windows, also had new introductions on display in Las Vegas. The High-Performance IMPACT Sliding French Door is new to Integrity’s IMPACT line. The product is Wind Zone 3-rated, and the company said this is possible without adding unsightly reinforcements. 

Introductions in the fiberglass category were found elsewhere on the show floor as well. And these fiberglass introductions seemed to offer a high amount of energy efficiency, another theme prevalent at the show. Weather Shield introduced a new fiberglass window made of wood on the inside and fiberglass on the outside. Weather Shield’s Bob Eckert said this is a mid-priced product priced slightly under extruded aluminum.

“This will meet the 2013 proposed Energy Star requirements,” he said. “With the push toward energy efficiency this [product] can definitely take us into the future.”

Milgard introduced an in-swing fiberglass patio door which includes a full lifetime warranty including glass breakage. The door also features a 3-point locking system, which allows for auto-unlock from the inside with no deadbolt turning required to exit. The company also introduced two new energy efficiency package upgrades on select vinyl and fiberglass lines—the 3D and 3D MAX energy package options. 

Milgard said the name represents the three dimensions of a Milgard window— the overall design, the frame material and the glazing unit. It formulated the packages to deliver energy-efficient solutions, by customizing the packages for specific climate regions.

The package options provide better and best scenarios to meet the demand for increased energy efficiency. The 3D package offers a door or window that its maker said is at least 10 percent more energy efficient than Energy Star qualified models, while the 3D MAX package provides up to 26 percent more energy efficiency, depending on the series chosen.

At the Pella booth, the company had a wide variety of items to showcase, and these attracted numerous attendees during the show. For one, the company added casement and awning windows to its Impervia® line which it describes as “virtually maintenance-free.” 

“People are looking for things that are easy to maintain,” said Pella’s Kathy Krafka-Harkema. 

As is customary at IBS, attendees can walk the aisles and marvel at beautiful entry doors, made of wood, and even fiberglass, all available in a variety of decorative options. 

This was certainly true this year as well, and one manufacturer that had a variety of exterior options on display was Masonite. The company said it developed several new door and glass designs, that are “uniquely different from the competition.” 

One of these is AvantGuard™ Finishes for Exterior Doors which make options such as Spanish Cedar and Black Walnut possible. The technology incorporates multiple layers of protection for ultra low-maintenance, improves energy efficiency compared to real wood doors and does not require the harvesting of old-growth timbers, according to the company. When it came to sliding doors, there were an abundance of options as well. 

Many manufacturers offered expansive multi-panel sliding doors designed to bring the outside in. Kolbe offered this option with its TerraSpan TerraSpan™ lift and slide doors. Part of the company’s Ultra Series, the doors can incorporate up to 10 panels per unit with a 12-foot maximum panel height. As each panel is 2 ¼ -inches thick, the doors require minimum space when open —either nesting behind one another, or recessing into a pocket opening to disappear from view.

Windsor Windows and Doors offered its new RedStone Series Bi-fold Patio Door comprised of multiple panels that are hinged together and fold accordion-style to expose partial or entire walls to the outdoors. The patio door is offered with 36-inch wide panels in 8- and 9-foot heights and 28 different panel configurations. The company said this door is unique in that it features clad-wood construction, a fully extruded panel and frame cladding. 

Suppliers Offer New Components for Manufacturers 
While manufacturers offered a variety of new products, suppliers also rolled out new components to go into the manufacturing of future products. Winkhaus introduced the patent-pending concept of a hook corner drive in combination with its 300 series stainless steel “One Motion™” multi-point locking system.

Recurrent hurricanes and other weather disasters mean tougher building codes and the desire to avoid product liability issues. Winkhaus said this product provides the answer with this tapered hook design which pulls the door smoothly into the frame against the gasket for a tight seal. The hooks engage behind the strike plates simultaneously providing a positive engagement that the company said will outperform other locking mechanisms.

Until the development of this corner drive system, the strength of these hooks could only be utilized on the locking side of the door, according to the company. Winkhaus’ representative Jim Roberts said this is the first time the company has featured this project at an event and said, “I think we have a winner.” 

Other hardware manufacturers in attendance included W & F Manufacturing which showcased a multi-point lock for roundtop windows. W & F’s Dale Moses pointed out that most multi-point locks are on patio doors but the company saw a need for a multi-point lock on an entry door. 

“Everyone who’s see it [and who makes a roundtop window] asks, “When can I get it?,” said Moses. (The product is so new it won’t be available until mid-2009.)

While many manufacturers offered environmentally friendly products, some suppliers did as well. Fomo Products offers a soy-based door and window sealant. 

Handi-Seal® eco foam, used to seal rough openings around doors and windows, prevents air from penetrating through gaps and holes, according to the company. The foam also meets American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) document 812-04 specifications for low pressure, preventing bowing or distortion of doors or windows. 

The company said that the product’s Dry Seal Technology™ is the only patented door and window technology designed to prevent moisture and mold problems by repelling water, unlike open-cell formulas that trap and absorb water. 

Two exhibitors at the show, GlasWeld and Glass Technology, featured their scratch removal systems. 

This is a growing area of interest for door and window manufacturers who are increasingly interested in reducing waste and saving money. GlasWeld featured its G force scratch removal system, and the company’s Mike Boyle said his company is focusing on building the brand with door and window manufacturers. “Window manufacturers didn’t know waste was an issue, but now that profits are down they are looking at glass,” he said. Boyle, who said 70 percent of door and window manufacturers use the system, added that more manufacturers are turning to it as a way to help with are warranty issues. 

“This will save them hundreds of dollars in warranty costs,” he said. 

Also on the glass side, EDTM’s Jeff Simpson reported great success with the company’s window energy meter. This was the company’s first time exhibiting at the show.

“This shows the homeowner the difference in changing from single- to double-pane windows,” he said. “This is very popular in home demonstrations as the homeowner can use it and see the difference.” 

Rounding out the component offerings was Centor, which featured, in addition to its exterior hardware, a new stainless steel screen system for large architectural openings up to 24 feet wide and 10 feet high. 

“The interest is truly overwhelming,” said Centor’s Paul Cornish. Next year’s Builders’ Show will be held January 19-22 in Las Vegas.

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