Market Growth to Open Windows and Doors in 2014

Uptick in IBS attendance, new product introductions reflect strengthening industry
April 17, 2014
| Products

“The market will probably be up for all home products by 10 or 11 percent for the year. Right now it's kind of quiet, but if you look at order patterns and activity in the first six weeks of the year, we see very strong trends in the South, Southeast, West and Southwest," said Chris Klein, CEO, Fortune Brands Home & Security, parent company of Simonton Windows and Therma Tru Doors, at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas.

"We see a nice five-year growth trajectory…and we’re building our business to support that," he continued.

Indeed, in mid-January, the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University projected double-digit gains in annual home improvement spending for the first half of 2014. On the new construction side, NAHB forecasted total housing starts would grow 24.5 percent to 1.15 million starts this year, with single-family housing leading the way with a 32 percent increase.

Last week’s attendance at IBS, which co-located with the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show for the first time as part of the new Design & Construction Week, was approximately 75,000: a testament to those statistics and to better times ahead.  Last year, attendance figures hovered around 50,000.

“This is probably the best IBS since 2005,” said ODL’s channel marketing manager, Roger Finch, who has been attending the show for the past 17 years.

“There has been a lot of traffic, lots of leads, definitely up from recent years,” added Cindy Bremer, vice president of marketing at Kolbe Windows & Doors. “Visitors are engaged and spending time [in our booth].”

Window Manufacturers Tweak Product Lines

 Marvin Windows & Doors introduced a fully integrated interior shade system that fits seamlessly into its window and door units with no measuring required.

In response to improving business conditions, window manufacturers promoted existing product lines alongside new ones at IBS 2014 to meet the needs of both the new construction and replacement markets.

“The bulk of our business and the basis of our reputation have traditionally been on the remodel/replace side,” said Mark Savan, president of Simonton Windows, which returned to IBS this year after a lengthy absence. “The last time we came to the IBS show … we were still very retrofit-focused. Coming back [to IBS], we’re looking to balance our business.

“We’ve put a series of investments into growing our new construction business, from putting salespeople on the street, to additions to the product line … and we decided that if we’re really serious about new construction, we should come to the Builders’ Show,” said Savan, who is also president of Therma-Tru Doors.

“As we look out over the next five years, there’s going to be growth in the new construction market,” he added. “We would like to participate in that, and we think we’ve got a great value proposition.”

Ply-Gem also mixed it up in Las Vegas, where it introduced three new exterior colors for its 1500 Vinyl Collection of windows for new construction, as well as new exterior paint color options and a new rigid welded nail fin option for its Premium and Pro Replacement Series windows.

This year also marked the first time that Ply Gem had its Great Lakes Window brand on display at IBS. According to Jim Horn, director of brand marketing, the decision to promote the Great Lakes brand in Las Vegas was based on a perceived increase in dealer attendance.

Hope's Windows was among the IBS exhibitors focusing on improvements to their existing product portfolios in Las Vegas.

"We make steel windows, but our competitors were adding plastic thermal breaks to improve energy performance,” said Hope’s Brian Whalen. “We didn't want to change the makeup and integrity of our windows, so we went to work determining how to thermally improve a steel window using steel. Don't change what works, just refine it," he said, referring to the company’s Landmark 175 thermal window.

Kolbe Windows & Doors, Diversified Lineal Systems and Jeld-Wen’s displays showcased new window options designed to complement their complete door and window systems.

"Our multi-slide windows and doors complement the new VistaLuxe Collection. We offer the same custom split colors and square profile for a seamless look everywhere in the home,” said Bethany Hoffman, marketing communications manager, Kolbe Windows & Doors. Making its debut at IBS, the VistaLuxe Collection combines multiple units into unique, compatible configurations while maintaining symmetry and sightlines, according to the supplier.

Diversified Lineal Systems also was on hand in Las Vegas, where it promoted its all-fiberglass line of complementary windows and doors, to which it continues to make additions.

For replacement applications where homeowners want to maintain their seamless look, Jeld-Wen promoted its pocket solution that uses the existing exterior trim and interior frame. Whoever installs the new window can just slide in the new frame and sash. “The only disruption is putting back your existing trim,” said company spokesperson Elizabeth Souders.

Jeld-Wen also announced in Las Vegas that it was partnering with Henkel Sealants. To be unveiled this May, the partnership will enable dealers to order windows from Jeld-Wen and receive all of the corresponding installation materials, backed by a warranty.

Home Improvements Start at the Front Door

Created to enhance the unique style of existing homes — whether Georgian Revival, mid-century Ranch, Dutch Colonial, Bungalow or Contemporary — the Spotlights Collection of doorglass from ODL Inc. was on display in Las Vegas.

“We’re seeing a shift from need-based repairs to things that will improve the look of the home,” said FBHS' Klein, in Las Vegas. And, it seems that many homeowners are starting their improvements at the front door.

Manufacturers are responding with a variety of entry door styles, options and materials to enable consumers to express their individual design preferences.

Aesthetics are important, said Brad Loveless, Simpson Door Co.'s marketing and product development manager, at IBS. “People are splurging on entry doors; they’re looking for something special and custom.”

Many suppliers have connected with the design community to enhance their offerings. Simpson, for example, partnered with architect Jim Cutler to create the Artist Collection of architectural doors, and TruStile Doors surveyed the architecture and design community before releasing its latest product catalog.

"We received a huge response that most new homes built are contemporary or modern,” said Cate Vanegas, director of marketing, TruStile Doors. “The product catalog we just released is our response to that survey, with whole sections on the modern and contemporary architectural designs we have available in our Modern Door Collection and decorative inserts for both types of design trends."

TruStile offers 40 glass/resin inserts for its Modern Collection, as well as metal and leather inserts.

Therma Tru, too, has seen interest in architectural doors―styles with clean lines, textured glass and new grid patterns. “We’re taking the old and making it new and fresh,” said Derek Fielding, director of product development at the company, which has 30 new grid patterns.

Therma Tru appealed to consumers’ desire to mix modern and vintage styles by expanding its Pulse collection of entry doors with a new Mahogany-grained fiberglass door and Echo design for doors and doorlites. The new door styles are specifically designed to enable homeowners to upgrade mid-century modern Ranch and Bungalow-style homes from existing wood to fiberglass doors.

Jeld-Wen also promoted its architectural fiberglass door line in Las Vegas, where it displayed several doors that use new soft-mold technology to deliver the character, warmth and beauty of a wood door. More sustainable than painted wood, the doors come in 20 different styles.

Created to enhance the unique style of existing homes―whether Georgian Revival, mid-century Ranch, Dutch Colonial, Bungalow or Contemporary―the Spotlights Collection of doorglass from ODL Inc. was also on display.

“It’s a program that offers different sizes of doorlites in a flat-profile PVC frame designed to match a lot of the older architecture,” explained Roger Finch, channel marketing manager. “A lot of people are moving from the suburbs back into the city and are revamping older homes. They are taking these homes and trying to bring them back to their original state. So [the Spotlights Collection] offers door configurations that you would see from the 1910s up until today."

Indoor Outdoor Living

 New materials and price points for multi-panel systems also made their debut at IBS, where Royal Building Products introduced its Slide & Stack vinyl patio door system.

The growing “indoor outdoor living” trend was increasingly visible at the International Builders’ Show this year. Folding, sliding, swinging—you name it—large, multi-panel door systems that connect homeowners with the natural environment were on display in full force.

First-time IBS exhibitor LaCantina Doors introduced a new class of multislide doors to complement its existing folding door line. The new doors incorporate the narrow stile-and-rail profiles used in its folding doors and new swing doors, providing a perfect match for a complete door package, company reps explained.

Western Window Systems showcased its 600 Series multi-slide doors in the Fire Island House at the IBS Show Village. “We love showing our product in the context of an environment,” said Scott Gates, vice president and general manager. The 600 Series stacking door system enables each panel to slide and stack to the side, or completely vanish into a pocket.

New materials and price points for multi-panel systems also made their debut at IBS, where Royal Building Products introduced its Slide & Stack vinyl patio door system. “Because it’s vinyl, it’s long-lasting and maintenance-free,” company reps explained on the floor.

The International Builders’ Show will return to Las Vegas next year, January 20-22.