Latest Articles in THE TALK...

  • “Given expected growth in world industrial demand over the next several years, particularly China, building materials prices will tend to rise faster than general inflation,” predicts Bernard Markstein, a senior economist with the National Association of Home Builders.  He made those comments in an article in Nation's Building News looking at recent price hikes in lumber,... more »
  • President Obama released information yesterday about his widely-anticipated "Homestar" program, giving the window and door industry what could be another significant shot in the arm for sales products delivering energy efficient upgrades. While all the details will come out in the next week or so with the official Senate bill, and further permutations are likely as legislation then... more »
  • Seaway Manufacturing, an Erie, Pa., based window manufacturer, reports it offered the EPA lead paint  training classes to 36 installers from its dealer network in January, with 24 currently signed up for a February session.  Other manufacturers, no doubt, have offered similar training programs. Many window and door dealers have pursued the soon-to-be-required training through other... more »
  • I'm a mom, so there are moments that pop up from time to time, from which I have no choice but to accept that I'm getting older. One such case in point this past weekend: After watching the first few days of the Vancouver Olympics, my 6-year-old daughter was wandering around the house singing, "We Are The World." She raised an eyebrow and told me I was "kind of old" when I... more »
  • Filing away materials I collected last month at the International Builders' Show, I came across a press release about a survey of 55+ home buyers, conducted by the National Association of Home Builders and Metropolitan Life.  What caught my eye in the survey was the fact that among 36 features these consumers were asked to rate as "important" in their puchase decision for a new... more »
  • Given the not-so-great Great Recession, we're used to looking at and crunching a lot of numbers. We watch housing data and consumer confidence indexes. We keep a close eye on our bottom line and keep our fingers crossed for the top line. And lately we see some glimmers of hope. Not big rays at this point, but small glimmers peeking through. While some companies are, I'm sure, still locked-down in... more »
  • Along with the many products on display last week in Las Vegas, I couldn't help but notice the number of signs in various displays exhorting attendees to "Follow us on Twitter."  One manufacturer noted to me they were celebrating their first anniversary of "tweets."  There was no shortage of Facebook mentions too.   It's clear social media is being used by more... more »
  • "We're looking for 20 percent growth this year." That's what one window manufacturer told me yesterday as I made the rounds at the International Builders' Show.  It was a refreshing change from the conversations I heard a year ago when a mood of doom and gloom was more prevalent. Now I've heard numerous reports, most specifically from those focused on the replacement window market... more »
  • There's still a transitional phase to go through, but with the new year, new criteria for Energy Star windows, doors and skylights quietly went into effect last week. A lot of companies, no doubt, have invested a lot of time and money into making sure their products could carry the new label.  There's probably still work being done, too. For our poll question this week, I thought I'd see... more »
  • We’ve been doing The Talk for a couple of years now, and what I’m really loving about the feedback lately is that on the topics to which we cycle around to annually, we’re starting to paint a year-to-year picture of the industry’s mood. So while there’s a lot going on right now—not the least of which is the status of the health care reform bills and soon-to-be-... more »