Will Tilt-and-Turn Windows Gain Market Share in North America?
Survey Results as of 03/29/2010:
Will tilt-and-turn windows gain market share in North America?
No, they will remain a niche product.
Yes, there is some growth potential.
Yes, there is strong growth potential.
No, they are likely to lose share.
With beefier frame and sash profiles than typical for North American windows, the windows on display at Fensterbau are always impressive. The fact that most are tilt-and-turn (and relatively expensive), however, means they are unlikely to enjoy real widespread use here in North America. That's what our poll results indicate at least.
"I was one of those lucky guys who attempted to sell tilt-and-turns in the '80s," writes Wayne Gorell of Gorell Windows & Doors. The costs of such products is high, he notes, "but the big problem is you cannot have any window treatments with them, and screens are also all but impossible. So if the homeowner wants blinds, or drapes or shutters or screens, they cannot use tilt-and-turns."
"It may well be the best window design in the world from both a performance standpoint and a ventilation standpoint," writes Robert Maynes of Matthews Brothers Co. of the tilt-and-turn. "Problem is, it’s the best designed window in the wrong application. Mercedes Benz could build a grocery cart, and it may well be the best designed grocery cart in the world, but would you really need something that good just to pick up lettuce?"
Maynes goes on to note that in Europe and Eastern Canada, the building construction and the accepted style of windows has always embraced a hinged-style window. "Inswing casements, outswing casements, single, double, French opening, awnings…wherever you go, you see projected windows. Conversely, Great Britain, and all her worldwide colonies–hence the home style term 'Colonial'–have embraced the double hung window, and its natural extension, the horizontal slider."
The choice of “in-plane” windows, as opposed to projected windows, "affects what we do on the inside of the home. Things like putting up curtains, valances, and blinds. Things that are neither tilt nor turn friendly," Maynes points out. Also pointing to the costs of tilt-and-turns, he notes that they have enjoyed some acceptance in the commercial and light commercial markets.
And perhaps that's what some of those respondents this week who do see more potential for tilt-and-turns see also. Two extruders of such systems, Veka and Rehau, are now targeting the commercial market in the U.S. for their tilt-and-turn systems. Such commercial products offer vinyl fabricators a new market opportunity–one that's being pursued by several of his firm's customers, reports Veka's Steve Dillon.
The other market segment I hear industry people talk about for tilt-and-turns is luxury housing. Mark Windemiller of Können Glashaus in Colorado entered the tilt-and-turn (and European style door) business after seeing imported German windows that a homeowner had bought for one such home. His company imported such products for about eight years before it began manufacturing the products itself about two years ago.
Können Glashaus isn't the only company to begin manufacturing such products in recent years. Another is Eurocraft Industries in Florida, which started as an importer but also saw an opportunity with European tilt-and-turn products in coastal applications.
One company that's been involved with these products even longer is Tiltco, based in Ontario, Canada. "We have been manufacturing these in Canada and the U.S. since 1988," reports the company's Jay Madha. "We have had steady growth in the last 20 years." Supplying and installing products for both the residential and commercial markets, including impact applications, the company recently expanded, Madha notes, building a 40,000 square foot production facility for making tilt-and-turns and opening offices in Canada, Florida, Texas, Seattle, Cayman, Antigua, Barbados and the Virgin Islands.
So there's certainly evidence for greater market potential here in North America. That doesn't mean we should look for these products to become ubuiquitous anytime soon, but depending on the market segments you're in, you may see more.