Are You Looking Beyond Windows and Doors?

John G. Swanson
May 18, 2010
THE TALK... | Markets & Trends

Marvin is certainly not the first window and door company to get involved in siding. There are plenty of building product distributors and dealers, and plenty of exterior contractors that handle both lines. There a number of companies that manufacture both too.

It's still news, however, when a 100-year-old company like Marvin says it wants to look beyond windows and doors. They aren't the only manufacturer to have done so recently. Gorell Windows & Doors introduced a new line of insulation products at the beginning of this year and ProVia Door added a siding manufacturing business in 2009.

Is divisersification a trend? Has your company launched a non-fenestration product recently? That's our poll question of the week. And, of course, I'd like to hear from you. Whether you're a dealer, distributor or manufacturer, why are you looking beyond windows and doors? What products have you added or are you considering adding?   And, if you haven't expanded, or don't think it's a good idea, I'd like to hear thoughts on that side of the equation too.  Email me and share your thoughts.

e-Poll
Do You Offer Non Window & Door Lines?
Yes, and we have for years.
Yes, we added in the past 3 years.
No, but we're looking at our options.
No, we want to remain focused.


If poll form doesn't work in your email, Click Here.

 

 Survey Results as of 05/25/2010:

Do You Offer Non Window & Door Lines?

Yes, and we have for years.

  

 

46%

No, we want to remain focused.

  

 

37%

No, but we're looking at our options.

  

 

11%

Yes, we added in the past 3 years.

  

 

6%

Our poll response numbers this week really weren't too much of a surprise.  Many industry companies sell products other than windows and doors and they have for years.  In fact, many companies that sell windows and doors don't even consider themselves "window and door" companies. They are lumber yards, pro dealers and exterior contractors.  At the manufacturing level, there are building products manufacturers and even more diverse entities. 

Then, of course, there are the specialists.  And even here there is much variation. Some companies do wood. Others do vinyl or aluminum or something else. Some companies handle more than one of those products.  Then there are window specialists, door specialists, skylight specialists, etc.  Some install only. Some distribute only. Some manufacture, distribute and install, etc.., etc.

In this poll, a handful of respondents reported they added non-window and door products in the past three years and some are looking at the possibility now.  I wonder how different those numbers would have been five years ago.  Were more companies diversifying during the boom times?  My guess is that market downturns make companies a little hungrier and more likely to look for new opportunities.

Not much written response came in this week, so I'll note one possible area of diversification that I have heard little about—and that is solar products.  Skylight maker Velux launched a solar water  heating system a few years ago, but I thought a few more companies involved in retail sales and installation of window and door products might look at this market given the current trends toward green and alternative energy sources.  If, by some chance, you've explored that niche and have some thoughts, I hope you'll share them with me