Fiberglass Front and Center at Remodeling Show

Las Vegas—If the 2007 Remodeling Show is an indicator, the mood in the remodeling business is becoming more upbeat. A number of window and door manufacturers at the event, held here last week, reported that sales in the remodeling segment have really picked up during the second half of the year.

Peachtree introduced a replacement version of its Series 700 clad-wood window in Las Vegas.


“The remodelers we’re talking to here are all busy,” said Ralph Pfeiffer of Great Lakes Window. “People are fixing up their homes.”

Judging by the products featured, more window and door manufacturers expect people to do that with fiberglass. This year saw continued expansion in fiberglass entry door lines. Plastpro and Therma-Tru each displayed a wide variety of styles and colors. Milgard Windows & Doors, which launched its fiberglass door line last year, introduced a new mahogany version at this year’s event.

Also introducing a new fiberglass entry door line was Armaclad. The Pennsylvania-based company was acquired recently by Sound Solutions Windows & Doors, a Chicago-based manufacturer started by former Republic Windows executive Ron Spielman. The company was featuring both its new door line and a variety of window products.

Fiberglass windows also appeared prominently at the event. Milgard was showing both its wood-clad version and its all-fiberglass Ultra product. The performance features of the line, together with the growing desire of many dealers to offer something different than vinyl has made fiberglass “a real growth business for us,” said Jim Sheehan.

Marvin Windows featured both its wood line and Integrity line, and reported continued growth with fiberglass products. Although it wasn’t showing its Infinity replacement line, the company’s Tom Goldsmith noted that business has been expanding with a steady addition of new dealers around the country that “want to break out of the vinyl pack.”

Pella used the show to feature a new wood entry door, a new addition to its line resulting from its purchase of MAI Doors, earlier this year. The company was featuring its Impervia fiberglass line as well, however, which the company’s Duane Putz reports, continues to see growing demand. Pella offers the line in a dark bronze that’s proving particularly successful, because it’s a color not available in vinyl.

Finally, Andersen Corp. was showing a new swinging patio door model for its 200 Series that incorporated fiberglass profiles. It’s truly a composite product, noted the manufacturer’s Cameron Snyder, explaining that it brings together numerous materials and uses each where they “make sense.”
THE MOVE WEST
Vinyl window and door products could be found walking the aisles of the exhibition floor, but were definitely less prominent than at previous Remodeling Shows. One reason was the show’s location out West—a first for the Remodeling Show—making the event less relevant for some of the show’s traditional exhibitors. Vinyl replacement window specialists, such as Gorell, Republic and Sunrise, which usually had large displays at the show when it was held in the Midwest or Northeast, opted not to show in Las Vegas, probably because the bulk of their business is back East.

Vergola’s electrically operated louvered patio roof was attracting attention at the Remodeling Show. In addition to providing optimal shade or sun, the louvers close to provide protection from rain.

The move West was welcomed by others, however, and most industry exhibitors seemed to think the location was working fairly well, noting they enjoyed the opportunity to talk to more remodelers from California, Arizona and the Rocky Mountain states. Pointing to the popularity of Las Vegas, several noted that they were seeing customers and prospects from the Midwest and East.

The big window and door manufacturers typically like to save their product launches for the International Builders’ Show, but attendees did see a handful of new products. Peachtree was featuring a new replacement version of its 700 Series clad wood line. With numerous wood species, and exterior color and grille options, the line provides homeowners with a premium replacement product without the complications and expense of a full frame replacement.

Vergola Southwest was showing a louvered patio roof it was importing from Australia. The automated system can be closed completely to provide protection from rain, as well as optimal shade protection, depending on the sun’s location in the sky, according to the company’s John Johnston. The product has been on the market for more than 20 years, he added, and his firm started bringing it to the U.S. about a year ago. Vergola is a dealer for the product in Southern California, and to date has established 16 dealers in six states.

Next year, the Remodeling Show returns to more familiar haunts. The event is scheduled for September 10-12 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Information is available at www.theremodelingshow.com.