IBS Starts Year on Positive Note

John G. Swanson
January 25, 2010
Meetings & Events | Products, Channels, Markets & Trends

Las Vegas—The International Builders’ Show, which concluded here last week, set the stage for a better year in 2010. As noted last week, a more upbeat mood prevailed as the event opened, with window and door industry exhibitors expressing more optimism for the year ahead, particularly on the remodeling and replacement side of the business.

David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, added to positive vibe at the show, forecasting a 25 percent increase in total housing starts this year. His prediction of about 700,000 starts for 2010 is still low by historic standards, but it is an improvement—with further gains expected in 2011.

Marvin introduced a new lift-and-slide door system, while Lincoln Windows featured a new folding door system.

Like the housing market, IBS was smaller this year, filling only two halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center instead of the usual three. It drew fewer people too, with NAHB reporting about 55,000 total attendance this year, down from about 60,000 last year. The aisles appeared busier, however, and among window and door industry exhibitors, there were a significant number of new introductions.

In addition to those products reported on in last week's WDweekly report, other highlights include more wide-opening door systems, new introductions in electronic hardware offerings, and numerous new energy efficiency upgrades targeted at tax credit criteria and beyond.

Big Doors
New entries to the wide-opening door market included Lincoln Windows, which showed a new fold-and-slide door, and Marvin Windows, which showcased its new Ultimate Lift-and-Slide Door. Hardware suppliers G-U and Hoppe, both of which exhibited in Las Vegas, both reported a high level of interest in these systems as well.

Reflecting the continued development in this product area, NanaWall Systems featured a new type of door, combining a pair of French doors in the middle with sidelites that can all slide away to create an unobstructed opening. The company was also highlighting a new triple-glazed system, designed for applications in extreme environments.

Inline featured a new fiberglass window system said to be able to deliver up to R-11 performance, depending on the glass package.

High Performance
Numerous companies were talking high performance in Las Vegas. It has been a top goal at Ply Gem Windows, reported the company’s Chris Pickering, as part of the Ply Gem Enviro initiative to establish the company as a environmentally-responsible, sustainable manufacturer. The company has invested nearly $1 million in IG technology over the past year, he noted. It is already positioned to meet demand for products that meet tax credit criteria and the 2010 Energy Star. The company also has products it sees meeting the demands of the Department of Energy’s R-5 windows volume purchase program, as well as next generation Energy Star criteria. Ply Gem has even higher goals, he added. “We want to match the performance of the wall.”

Also talking high-performance was Bernard Rokicki of Inline Fiberglass. The company has developed a lineal profile that, with certain IG systems, can deliver R-11 performance. Those types of performance levels, combined with relatively simple construction, he added, has numerous window fabricators interested in the system.

Hurd Windows & Doors, which announced last year a new initiative to target the remodeling and replacement segment of the business, launched its product line for that market at this year’s IBS. Its new Transcend line includes a sash kit and a pocket version of its H3 window, combining an aluminum exterior with a vinyl frame and a wood interior. It also features standard and custom windows for full replacement, as well as patio doors sized for retrofit applications. “Even when homeowners know they can save energy and money by replacing leaky windows and patio doors, the price of replacement can be a deterrent,” noted Dave Porter, Hurd channel manager. “We are filling a void in the market, where homeowners have options to pay comparable to what they might pay for vinyl, while keeping the look of wood they love.”

Eagle introduced new security sensors integrated into its window hardware.

Other Products
This year’s event suggested there continues to be momentum in tying windows and doors to home security systems. Schlage, the door hardware producer, was highlighting expanded capabilities of its Schlage link system that enables doors to be monitored, locked and unlocked via an internet-based system, including new smartphones. Eagle Window & Door was showing its Verilock security sensors, built into the sash and casement locking hardware. They can communicate with a home security system, letting the homeowner know whether a window is open, closed, locked and/or unlocked, explained the company’s Sachin Gore. The option, which may be rolled into other Andersen Corp. company product lines, replaces other security system sensors, which—depending on how they are installed—may detract from the look of windows or void the warranty. The Versilok system also requires no additional wiring during the installation, since it communicates with the home security system wirelessly and it is battery-powered, he continued.

In addition to a variety of door components, ODL is now offering a sliding patio door incorporating its between-the-glass mini-blind system.

This year’s event featured a variety of window and door industry product introductions. ODL showcased a number of new doorlite designs, as well as a new sliding patio door featuring mini-blinds built in between the glass lites. The company has enjoyed significant success with its between-the-glass blind units for steel and fiberglass patio doors, but sees the sliding door market as relatively untapped. It also was showing its new Tri-Sys doorlite frame, said to offer numerous finishing and assembly benefits for pre-hangers, as well as improved aesthetics.

Also new for the door market was Perfect Products’ DoorSaver II, a door stop that is installed in place of a hinge pin on a door to eliminate the chance of marring walls, the door, or casing.

More information on these products and nearly 50 other window and door industry products featured in Las Vegas can be found in the 2010 IBS Showcase section of WindowandDoor.com.

Next year, the International Builders’ Show moves back to Orlando, Fla. More information on that event, set for January 12-15, is available at www.buildersshow.com.