More Optimism and More New Products at International Builders' Show

John G. Swanson
January 20, 2010
Meetings & Events | Products

Las Vegas—The International Builders’ Show opened here yesterday, more compact than last year, but with attendees and exhibitors alike expressing much more optimism for an improved market in the coming year. An uptick in new product introductions from window and door manufacturers exhibiting at the show reinforced that optimistic spirit, suggesting more companies see the time is right to position themselves now for better times.

“We’re feeling positive about the year ahead,” said Andrew Karr of Silver Line Windows, pointing to expectations for an improving remodeling and replacement market in particular. That sentiment was shared by numerous window and door manufacturers on the floor.

Andersen launched its new A-Series, said to provide more options and higher energy efficiency than its other lines.

Among the many new products introduced at this year’s show, one of the biggest launches is Andersen’s new A-Series, a new high-end line combining a composite frame with a fiberglass sash, said to be the most energy efficient line of windows the company has ever produced. The line also provides more design and color options than the company’s existing lines, with three wood interior options, a variety of stain and finish options, multiple hardware styles and numerous other features, reported Brian Gunderson, product marketing manager the new line. Another unique feature is a collection of snap-on trim surrounds. Andersen will be manufacturing and supplying the low-maintenance trim packages, made with the company’s Fibrex wood plastic composite,with the window.

Milgard was demonstrating a unique new construction window system it plans to launch soon. The SmartCase system addresses concerns about window damage after installation by using a process that changes when and how windows are installed. Rather than placing window units in new homes early in the construction process, a durable structural frame sill pan and cover are installed that allow installation of finish stucco, siding and trim before windows arrive.

Milgard demonstrated its new SmartCase installation system for new construction applications.

“The SmartCase Installation System absorbs any construction-related bumps and bruises, protecting windows from possible damage,” said Scott Morgan, Milgard VP of sales and marketing. “Final windows can then be easily placed in the frame just after interior paint is applied and decorative exterior trim is installed.” The new design features a reuseable protective plastic sheet protects the opening during the construction phase. The system is designed to not only eliminate numerous problems for the builder, but also allow them to upsell the homebuyer to a more feature-rich window as the job nears completion.

Although Owens Corning introduced its Innovision fiberglass line in 2009, that line is making its IBS debut this year. “It’s a perfect storm,” said Gerry Maibach, talking about the company’s re-entry into the market with a fiberglass product line. The new window features a unique corner construction that addresses one of the long-time problems associated with fiberglass products, and at the same time, energy efficiency is top-of-mind for both homeowners and dealers are looking for product lines that are clearly differentiated. The new line easily meets the latest Energy Star and tax credit requirements, and positions the company well for the higher performance levels now attracting more attention.

Kolbe Windows & Doors’ display made clear it was also setting its sights not just on the latest round of energy performance criteria. Many of the windows Kolbe featured incorporated triple glazing and an “R-5” label. In addition to numerous windows featuring standard triple glazing, the manufacturer was also showing a casement window featuring a piece of vacuum glazing.

Centor introduced its new EcoScreen, a multifunctional compliment to its retractable screen system for wide-opening doors.

Manufacturers weren’t the only industry exhibitors featuring unique new products. Centor Architectural, the maker of hardware for folding doors, was showing its new EcoScreen. Complimenting its retractable insect screen, the EcoScreen is offered in white and other colors to offer privacy, shading and even a screen for projection televisions for wide opening doors. Perhaps not as flashy, but also attracting much attention at the show was another offering from the company that will enable folding door systems to be retrofit more easily into existing openings, reported Centor’s Paul Cornish. A new bottom roller system, he explained, supports the weight of door panels and eliminates the need to create a load-support system at the top. 

The retrofit market is front and center in numerous manufacturers’ minds, given expectations for more growth in that segment. Hurd Windows & Doors was emphasizing its capabilities in the market, showing a new pocket version of its H-3 window, combining an extruded aluminum exterior with a vinyl frame and wood interior. Amsco Windows was showing a new replacement version of its composite Renaissance window, as well as expanded color options for the line.

Garage door maker Clopay Corp. is also eyeing the retrofit market with a new line of steel and fiberglass entry doors it is launching. Designed to match the company’s garage door, the new line is being sold through its existing dealers, who see a real opportunity with the product, said Pat Lohse, marketing manager for the company.

Taylor Building Products introduced two new high-end door designs.

Also showing a new line of high-end doors was Taylor Building Products. Offered with fiberglass or steel slabs, the line features detailed mouldings and decorative glass in a variety of styles to offer the look of high-end wood doors, along with lower maintenance requirements. “Our dealers love it,” reported the Taylor’s Steve Sparer, who noted that it enables them to compete in more upper end jobs.

Numerous other window and door manufacturers are on the floor with new products and options. Window & Door will follow up with another report for next week’s WDweekly. In addition, the IBS Product Showcase of will be updated and expanded with more detailed information on new products and options featured at this year’s show.