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Volume 6   Issue 9               October  2005

WDMA Opens Up

Encouraging Statistics and Standards
by Jeffrey F. Lowinski

The industry isn’t satisfied to sit back and wait for good things to happen–it’s taken the initiative in manufacturing some of the best products around. Take, for example, products that meet building codes for storm resistance and fire and blast mitigation. These are the newest, high-tech examples the industry offers and there’s more to come. 

At the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) we’re focused on the future and dedicated to encouraging success for all our members and the industry. That means the continued push for new performance standards and certification programs to help manufacturers make the best use of the latest manufacturing techniques for superior windows, doors and skylights. 

Keeping Up With the Standards
It’s also time to have consistent, uniform exterior door performance standards. Doors lend spectacular beauty to an entranceway, and bring in light with decorative glass panels and inserts. But they also need to keep the elements at bay, and perform to the same expectations as windows and skylights and sliding glass doors. Side-hinged exterior doors were recognized recently in a new performance standard, AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S. 2/A440-04 Standard Specification for Win-dows, Doors and Unit Skylights. 

It’s a consensus document between the three organizations and a long time in the making. 
Other critical industry standards continue to evolve—I.S. 1A-2004 Industry Specification for Architect-ural Wood Flush Doors recently celebrated its first year and has been embraced by the architectural community (see DWM, August 2005, page 20). These two documents form a complete compendium of standards from WDMA that cover windows, skylights, side hinged exterior and interior doors. It makes sense now for them to become of part of the long-standing and widely recognized WDMA Hallmark Certification Program.

Growth Continues
In numerous studies, statistics bear out the importance of doors, windows and skylights. For example, a recent Remodeling Online Cost vs. Value Report (see www.remodeling.hw.net) provided further proof that these products are critical to a home’s value. For windows used in home remodeling, more than 83 percent of the cost of the product was recouped in its resale value, according to the study.

Further statistics bear out industry growth. According to current findings from the 2004 U.S. Industry Statistical Review and Forecast by Ducker Research Co. Inc., window specification sectors are on the upswing. Residential windows, doors and patio doors continued to benefit from strong remodeling and residential improvement markets. In 2005, according to the study, home improvement expenditures are forecast to increase over 2004 levels as well. 

Other highlights of the Ducker study include:
• The residential prime window market grew by 6.8 percent to reach 67.1 million units in 2004. Vinyl continued to grow in 2004;
• Both fiberglass and other composites remain a small, but quickly growing portion of the overall market. Fiberglass grew by nearly 30 percent from 2003 to 2004, and the study stated that “as window manufacturers continue to explore new materials and invest in production capabilities, these materials will continue to grow;” and
• Although patio doors are produced primarily by window manufacturers, traditional door producers have also entered this market and growing the share of wood, steel and fiberglass units. 

It takes a concerted effort for any industry to achieve success. The door, window and skylight industry knows that performance and a top-quality product comes first, and will help secure the success of the future. 

Jeffrey F. Lowinski serves as acting president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association based in Des Plaines, Ill. 

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