Volume 12, Issue 2 - March 2011


Builders’ Show: Still Packs a Product Punch
by Tara Taffera

The 2011 International Builders’ Show (IBS) gave the industry a snapshot of the current state of the residential doors and window market, through both its exhibitors and attendees. Some major manufacturers were absent (Pella and Hurd) while others, such as Atrium Windows and Doors, exhibited to show the industry that they are back. Other manufacturers rolled out new products. For some, such as Lincoln, all the products in their booth were new.

So take a look at the products unveiled and what the industry has to say about the future of the door, window, moulding and millwork market.

Impact Resistance

The location of this year’s Builders’ Show, Orlando, Fla., brought out many Florida-based manufacturers that may not exhibit when the show is held in Las Vegas. Because of this, impact-resistant products were on display in many booths.

Florida-based manufacturer PGT Industries showcased its PremiereVue line, a high-end impact vinyl door, which launched February 1.

“Customers are holding their orders waiting for it,” said PGT’s Bob Petit during the show, which was held a few weeks before the launch. The doors can be manufactured 40-feet wide and 10-feet tall, he reported.

The PremiereVue line also includes a high-end vinyl line that PGT’s David Pitcher says can be used in coastal areas.

“For a long time we had aluminum doors but now we have a full vinyl line,” he said.

Atrium Windows and Doors, based in Dallas, offers both aluminum and vinyl. Mark Gallant, senior vice president, marketing, pointed out that aluminum is predominant from Texas to Florida. One of the products the company showcased was its Safe Harbor aluminum impact window.

“Even single-glaze is still popular in Florida,” said Gallant.

Atlanta-based YKK introduced StyleGuard, an impact-rated sliding patio door. The all-vinyl door’s wide stiles and rails give it the appearance of a French door, said YKK’s Craig Marple. “Attendees like the detailing of it which is unusual for a vinyl, impact-rated product,” he said. The entire StyleGuard line is also NAHB Green Approved.

“It’s unusual for a window manufacturer to have [its] entire product line certified,” he said.

"We went through a reorganization and we want the industry to know we are back and stronger than ever."
—Mark Gallant, Atrium

Doors Dominate
Doors were on prominent display at IBS, and many companies offered new options. CMI unveiled its new CraftMaster® Conmore™ molded, flat-panel interior door. The door is the second in a series of molded, flat-panel doors within the CraftMaster Interior Door family. Available in 6 feet, 8 inches and 7-foot passage and bi-fold sizes, Conmore features five horizontal panels, and can be specified with either finger-joint or MDF stiles and rails.

The door also offers several environmental benefits. It contains a minimum of 70 percent pre-consumer recycled wood content and is certified by a third-party certifier, Scientific Certification Systems, to have no added urea formaldehyde.

The Royal Group previewed its Royal OPUS I and OPUS II™ Patio Doors, which vice president and general manager Mark Fanelli said was developed based on regional market demand in Canada and parts of the Eastern United States.

The patio doors offer a new design that incorporates a durable all-vinyl frame that can be used with two sash systems, according to the company. OPUS I uses the same sash system as Royal’s Performer™ door and features the company’s new Super Quiet roller, designed to provide smooth gliding action. OPUS II uses a welded sash that can accommodate standard 1-inch thick glass as well as two true triple-glazing options of 1-1/4 inch and 1-3/8 inch for achieving an R-5 rating, and also can be used in triple-glazed units.

The line will be launched in April and aimed toward the new construction and replacement markets.

Another new technology unveiled was a patio door that offers increased security, introduced by Haddon Windows of Bensalem, Pa.

“This is a breakthrough in security for sliding patio doors—a completely reinvented patio door locking system, which locks from the top to the bottom, replacing simple single or double latches found on nearly all doors today,” said company president Sam Jadallah.

"Someday we will start building a lot of houses. Until then we have a lot for the remodeling industry.
—Derek Fielding, Therma-Tru

New to IBS/New to Residential Doors
Quanex Corp., a company well-known to the door and window industry, but not as familiar to builders, exhibited at IBS for the first time.

“This gives us a different element of visibility,” said Quanex’s Ric Jackson.

Many builders and other industry members did stop by the booth to learn more about Quanex.

“We received more than 300 inquiries on the first day,” said Jackson. “The quantity of traffic here is at a different level [as opposed to other industry trade shows].”

Jackson says the company’s goal is to create customers that request products made of Quanex components.

Clopay is no newcomer to IBS but it did preview an entirely new product line at the show—residential entry doors to complement its long-standing garage door line.

“Our dealers have always gotten calls for entry doors,” said Clopay’s Mischel Schonberg. “Now they can do one-stop shopping.”

The residential entry doors, offered in both fiberglass and steel, were scheduled to launch in the second quarter at press time.

Is It Wood? No, Fiberglass
Therma-Tru introduced the New Classic-Craft Canvas Collection, which it calls the “first smooth fiberglass door on the market.”

“This rivals what a custom wood door looks like,” said Derek Fielding, senior product manager.

The collection offers a smooth, paintable surface and is available in a variety of architectural styles.

Fielding said the company spent a great deal of time conducting consumer research.

“The details [previously in fiberglass] weren’t custom enough. They [customers] were still going to custom wood,” he said.

“But people are finally seeing an alternative to a custom wood look at a cost advantage.”

But fiberglass wasn’t just seen in doors as some window manufacturers blended wood and fiberglass together. Atrium, for one, showcased its Essence window, which is fiberglass with a wood interior.

“There is a huge anticipation for this product,” said Gallant. “Fiberglass is where the industry is going.”

Window Options in All Materials
One company that knows a great deal about fiberglass is Integrity Windows by Marvin, which now offers a roundtop window to round out the Integrity line.

The Marvin booth displayed a “re-engineered” slider window for use in residential and commercial applications.

“This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a major manufacturer has re-engineered the slider,” said Marvin’s John Reinan.

He pointed out that when you close the window it locks automatically.

Andersen Windows offered several new products, one of which is its exterior trim system, which can be installed in “as little as six minutes.” The system works with the Andersen A-Series, 400 Series and 200 Series product lines. Trim is available in 11 colors, and is made of Fibrex® material, a composite combining the strength and stability of wood with the low-maintenance features of vinyl.

At the Lincoln Windows booth, Todd Metz simply said, “Everything in our booth is new.”

Those new products include its new StormPoint product for impact applications, which Metz said were “very popular with attendees.”

“We wanted to show everything we offer,” said Metz. “With our company we have a ton of different options.”

Those looking for wood windows found some options from Quebec-based Bonneville Windows and Doors, a first-time exhibitor.

“This was our first time exhibiting, but definitely worth it,” said Terry Mackey of Bonneville. We received incredible contacts. We found everything and more that we needed.”

Mouldings, Millwork and Trim
IQM Trim featured a new brick mould profile with a built in J-channel.

“We are the only manufacturer that offers that,” said IQM’s Mel Marzan. “Our big competitive advantage is that we offer it in different colors instead of just white.”

Along with its color and durability, the company adds that the product’s AquaFlex™ fin protects a home’s building envelope, guiding water away from the wall to minimize the chances for water intrusion. The J-channel also means fast, efficient installations for contractors, according to the company.

Trex offered Trex Trim with a smooth edge, which company officials say is ideal for doors and windows. The company also featured its release film, which allows a contractor to install the trim and then take the film off when the job is complete.

“These are commodity products,” said Trex’s Mel Karlson. “But the smooth edge and release films are big hits. The contractors love them.”

Many companies offered mouldings as well, including Fypon, which shared a booth with Therma-Tru since the two companies recently merged.

“With our partnership with Fypon we are really focusing on creating the entryway,” said Fielding. “It’s not just about the door.”

Back and Better
It is the International Builders’ Show and several companies, including PlyGem, reported a number of Canadian attendees. Several companies also reported a great number of attendees from the Caribbean and that included CGI Windows and Doors.

“We’ve had a lot of Caribbean dealers come by,” said CGI president Brian Evans.

Evans reported that CGI has done well, even through the downturn, by “expanding products and expanding territories.”

“I feel for the companies that haven’t been able to invest,” said Evans.

Other companies that have also made investments and came to “show they are solid” included Atrium. Gallant reported that the company opened a fourth vinyl extrusion facility in Greenville, Texas, recently.

“The market will come back eventually,” he said. “Atrium was out of IBS for two years. We went through a reorganization and we want the industry to know we are back and stronger than ever. The show was a good way to say we are back and we are solid, and we are investing further in the company.”

The same is true for Therma-Tru, which hadn’t exhibited in recent years.

“We’ve never given up on innovation,” said Fielding. “We’re back at IBS with a lot of products. Someday we will start building a lot of houses. Until then we have a lot for the remodeling industry.”

I BS is scheduled for February 8-11, 2012, in Orlando.

Tara Taffera serves as editor/publisher of DWM magazine.


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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.