AMD Reflects More Optimism in Door Industry

October 13, 2009
Meetings & Events

San Antonio, Texas—A relatively busy trade show floor at the Association of Millwork Distributors annual convention and exhibition held here last week provided another signal of better times ahead. More than 800 door and millwork industry professionals gathered for the annual event, which followed on the heels of a successful GlassBuild America, suggesting that the industry is poised for recovery.

The show floor in San Antonio was busier this year than it was at last year's AMD event.

Although the size of many exhibits was down with the state of economy, the AMD show continued to see increased diversity in door styles on display. More contemporary and craftsman designs were evident in the booths of such companies as LeMieux Doors and Woodgrain Millwork. Simpson Door Co. was showing some unique wood door styles created using resin glass, as well as designs made with bamboo. The firm’s Brad Loveless noted that the company recently surpassed the 100th wood species mark for doors manufactured this year. “That number would have been unheard of a few years ago,” he said, noting that the company hopes to continue to “push the envelope” as far as design choices.

Lynden Door, which introduced the StileLine collection of contemporary style flush veneer doors last year, was promoting its new ClearLine pre-finishing process at this year’s show. Builders and architects can now get the unique look of the doors, without the additional hassle of finishing the doors, all at a cost competitive with site-painted molded panel doors, explained Lynden’s David Plenkovich.

MasterGrain Doors was one of several companies that made their AMD debut this year.

New door exhibitors at the show included MasterGrain, the Ontario-based manufacturer of fiberglass entry products. “It’s been a great show,” reported Bob Ferrell, who heads up sales for the company in the U.S. The door maker, which was highlighting expanded line of cherry products, is continuing to expand its distribution base here, he added. AFW Doors also made its debut at the show. The one-year-old company is a subsidiary of Fortune Wood Doors, which is the largest wood door producer in China, according to Thomas Mittler, who handles sales in the U.S. The company, which was showing a variety of stile-and-rail wood doors, is already working with a number of wholesalers in the U.S. and was looking to expand that network at the show.

Attracting much attention at the show was a new Endura Products offering, designed to provide multipoint function with traditional style hardware. Expected to be introduced next year, its Jamb Lock uses a traditional deadbolt to activate the multipoint function built into the door jamb, explained the supplier’s Tommy Hooker. The concept, which builds on Endura’s Multipoint Astragal concept introduced last year, is “extremely popular among pre-hangers,” Hooker noted. “We feel like we’ve really hit a home run.” With the new product, pre-hangers will not have to worry about the routing and assembly issues associated with traditional multipoint systems, yet can achieve the same benefits, such as an improved seal and higher-performance rating, he stated. It will also benefit consumers, as they can use standard entry door locks and deadbolts “with all the style choices they’re used to.”

Traffic at the Endura booth was strong to see its new multipoint lock system.

Door frame products designed to ease installation and reduce maintenance continue to receive attention. Imperial Products once again featured its ImperiClad system with snap-in brickmould made of MikronWood composite. The supplier is working with OSI Sealants also to promote a complete installation system for the products, including a certified installer training program.

New for door frames was the Perfect!Wood PVC/wood composite line being shown in the booth of Weston Wood Solutions, a Canadian supplier of door and window components. “It’s generating a quiet buzz among distributors at the show,” reported Al Zemaitas of Win-Door Profiles LLC, which manufactures the product. Offering a cost-effective alternative to real wood, the low-maintenance mouldings can be processed like wood components, he said.

Certification and Green
AMD launched a certification program earlier this year in conjunction with the National Accreditation Management Institute, designed to meet pre-hanger needs for rating and labeling side-hinged door systems to meet code requirements. NAMI’s Sharon Durand offered a presentation explaining requirements of the new program, emphasizing its flexibility. “The requirements for exterior door systems vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and region to region,” she said. “Under the AMD certification program, you only need to test to the standard or standards which apply to your area of distribution.”

NAMI's Sharon Durand outlined AMD's new certification program in San Antonio.

For those companies participating in a certification program for the first time, Durand stressed the importance of developing a quality assurance program, based on a manual which clearly defined quality control processes. Documentation that the company then followed those processes was key, she continued. Understanding that product certification is new to many, NAMI, she noted, was more than willing to help them AMD distributor members get started with the process and support them along the way. The inspectors that visit program participant plants are “trained to be educators, not policemen,” Durand stated.

Arlene Zavocki Stewart did double duty at AMD, first filling in to offer an update on the Energy Star program. She reviewed the new 2010 qualification criteria, focusing on the new requirements for Energy Star doors. In her own scheduled presentation, Stewart looked at green building trends. Reviewing a number of considerations for exterior door manufacturers and distributors, one point she emphasized was that unlabeled doors are assigned a poor default U-factor. That often lead to problems in qualifying homes under various green building programs, she explained, adding that “energy is the anchor to any green project.”

Pointing to continued growth for green, Stewart said it does offer opportunities and companies should market their green attributes. With so many programs and potential labels out there, she suggested that companies pay most attention to the Federal Trade Commission when it comes to assessing their marketing claims. The FTC issued its first environmental marketing guidelines in 1992 and “represents a sleeping tiger in the corner,” as it is set to issue new guidelines in the near future, she reported. FTC guidelines, she added, are “all about intent,” indicating the importance of making sure all claims and qualifications in marketing are clear to the “reasonable consumer.”

Next year, AMD returns to Nashville, Tenn., where its annual convention and exhibition will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort October 9-14.