Latest Articles in THE TALK...

  • Last week, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies released the results of its Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) study that indicates the home improvement market will falter in the early part of next year. The researchers expect the fourth quarter of 2011 will end up with home improvement spending at a pace of about $111 billion per year year. ... more »
  • We know a little more about what the Environmental Protection Agency is thinking about the next set of Energy Star criteria, tentatively set to take effect in fall 2013. It issued a document last week, indicating U-value and SHGC performance levels it was considering for windows, doors and skylights. What stood out for me is an apparent EPA decision not to go for an R-5 level of performance... more »
  • In case you couldn’t tell, we’re pretty excited this week to announce the 2011 class of Dealers of the Year. Like many companies in many industries, our winners have remained nimble and innovative in the last few years to maintain solid footing and grow in spite of challenging economic conditions. About a month ago, Lowe’s rolled out a new branding strategy. Moving away from its... more »
  • Margins are razor thin in the window and door industry. I suspect that most companies' cash reserves are too low for comfortable sleeping. Why is that? Margins in the fenestration market are set by large firms playing a “contribution to margin” game. Everyone else has to react to the prices at the bottom. For the most part, small companies can get a little more margin... more »
  • An electronic newsletter came to me yesterday from Abe Gaskins at MGM Industries.  He is an active blogger and the Tennessee vinyl window maker's website is filled with his wisdom on a variety of topics. This week he talks about search engine optimization and blogging and how it can translate into leads.  He says it's working for MGM and its dealer customers and he encourages... more »
  • This week, WDMA expressed its opinion on behalf of the window and door industry that tax credits for energy efficient products should be reinstated. In a letter to House officials, WDMA argued that the tax credits worked to spur purchases of energy efficient fenestration products, particularly among middle-class homeowners. Here in the industry, many of us believe that tax incentives created... more »
  • I thought I would return to GlassBuild one more time for this week's Talk. This week, I'd like to note that looking at the booths of vinyl window extruders in Atlanta, you would almost think no one sold white windows anymore. Nearly everything had a coating or laminate on it. Of course, that's not true in the real world, or at least the U.S. market as a whole. White still counts for the large... more »
  • Walking the aisle of GlassBuild last year, one of the most common terms I heard and saw was "R-5." It hasn't disappeared completely at this year's show, but I am definitely hearing it much less. It's also not as evident in the displays of suppliers. Companies are still talking about energy performance, certainly. Gas-filling, triples, triple silver coatings. They're all... more »
  • I found a cool survey this week from our friends north of the border. Canadian business owners indicate that they’d sacrifice the profits of their businesses in order to protect their employees or customers from price increases. This got me thinking about how these questions would have been answered 12 months ago, or six months ago, or perhaps even six months from now. So this week for the... more »
  • Visiting Cape Cod this past weekend, I got a first-hand look at a hurricane and also saw the effects of the storm. They were not catastrophic around me by any means, but trees went down and there were widespread power outages. This week's Talk comes from a friend's house as a result of power being down at my own. Anyway, the storm is on my mind, and I was curious how window and door... more »