Are Builders Looking at Windows and Doors to Increase Perceived Value?

John G. Swanson
September 8, 2009
THE TALK... | Channels, Markets & Trends

Are builders looking at window and door upgrades to increase the perceived value of their homes

No, they continue to be more focused on cost.





Yes, they are choosing to upgrade performance.





Yes, they are choosing to upgrade both.





Yes, they are choosing to upgrade aesthetics.





Builders may see potential homebuyers offering "oohs and aahs" when they see satin nickel hardware and granite countertops in the bathrooms of their new homes, but apparently windows and doors are not eliciting the same reaction.  Or if they are, builders aren't sharing that information with our industry.

An overwhelming number of this week's respondents suggest that builders remain more focused on the cost of windows and doors that the perceived value these products might add to a home.  Our results suggest some builders may be willing to pay an upcharge for higher performance products because of the increasing appeal of green or energy efficiency, but not a huge number. 

I heard from one manufacturer that builders demand higher energy efficiency and better-looking products upgraded with grids and other options; they just don't want to pay any more for it.   And they don't have too either, he complains, as there is usually someone out there willing to deliver such upgrades without an upcharge.

That's certainly not a new story, and I don't deny there's some truth in it, but I would also question whether or not it is 100 percent true.  Sometimes I feel like the frustrations we feel in our competitive market blind us.  

My guess is that many builders–no matter what segment of the market they target–are willing to pay more for the window and/or door packages in their homes than they did five years ago and certainly 10 years ago, even adjusting for inflation.  They see the value in it and they know homebuyers see the value in enhanced comfort and savings on their fuel bills, not to mention increased curb appeal and maybe "a light and airy" environment. 

Many "more expensive" products have enjoyed significant growth in recent years.  Fiberglass has moved in on steel in the door market.  Low-E has become a standard. Impact glass has established a strong beachhead. inyl windows are now offered in colors.  Multipanel folding doors are replacing two- and three-lite sliders. And hey, they might even generate some "oohs and aahs."