Volume 13, Issue 2 - March 2012

feature

Builders’ Show Still Delivers
IBS Continues to Serve as Mainstay of Innovation

by Tara Taffera and Ellen Rogers

Gone are the days when the International Builders’ Show (IBS) filled two halls and every major door and window manufacturer reserved major real estate. This year’s IBS show held February 8-11 in Orlando, Fla., saw big names like Andersen Windows, opt against exhibiting, and others did the same.

“It does say a lot that Marvin is still here,” said John Kirchner, public relations manager. “There was a time when this was a junket, but [today] companies are coming for a specific reason and have specific questions. They even have specific projects in mind.”

Marvin is a long-time exhibitor, but other component suppliers featured their products as well, as did a first-timer—Evotech Industrial Coatings, based in Quebec.

“With my first experience here I am very happy with what we have generated in terms of leads,” said Pierre Charbonneau, director of marketing. “The objective was to get to know the market better as the company primarily serves the Canadian market. But based on the interest here that could change. Eventually we may hire on the East Coast.”

One company that has recently added a U.S. presence is Brio USA.

“In all the years I have been at a show I’ve never been so busy,” said Kevin O’Connor, president.

Another company from down under is expanding stateside—Meshtec.

“It has been very good for us,” said Len Morris, general manager, North American operations. “We are focused on getting more awareness of our security screen in North America. In Australia this is a household name.”

Companies don’t have to feature a new product to get a good response.

“We don’t have new products but this is far better than we had hoped for. We were quite worried but the opening day was sensational,” said Gossen’s Arden Fullen.

There were definite products to see and people to meet throughout the show. Following is a look at more highlights.

For more coverage from IBS, including products and attendee feedback, go to dwmmag.com and click on “The Studio” for DWM’s three days of video coverage. Also click on the slideshow link for a photo gallery. Decorative glass, For more coverage from IBS, including products and attendee feedback, go to dwmmag.com and click on “The Studio” for DWM’s three days of video coverage. Also click on the slideshow link for a photo gallery. Decorative glass, Craftsman style doors and new automated options for doors were also highlighted in DWM’s show coverage. For these web stories go to the search site box and search for IBS 2012.

Game Changers
When it comes to windows, it doesn’t always have to be a new introduction that makes a difference to a customer. Marvin introduced several new products in both its Integrity and Marvin lines but Kirchner said the company’s special sizes will be a “game changer.”

Marvin’s residential ultimate double hung is available to fit rough openings up to 42?- by 96 inches, allowing the window “to fill bigger openings without sacrificing performance.” Thelarger sizes are available in both clad and wood models.

In addition, the window achieves a WDMA-certified DP40 rating across all sizes, providing superior protection against air and water infiltration. Finally, the window has been redesigned to create a clean appearance and matching sight lines with the ultimate casement and ultimate glider to give greater design flexibility in combining different window types.

Fiberglass Fashions
Many door manufacturers at the show offered fiberglass options. This was the case at Glasscraft, where Matthew O’Shea reported that the company has brought the knotty alder look of wood to its fiberglass doors. He said customers really like the dark colors so that continues to be one of their many product offerings.

The company’s products look so much like wood that Glasscraft placed a large fiberglass sign under its fiberglass display so people would know the difference.

“People still think it’s wood so we have more work to do here,” said O’Shea.

Plastpro also featured a variety of options and here the company put the emphasis on the glass options. Featuring a variety of glass colors, styles, patterns and textures, the company’s John Edwards, said the new glass was a “hot ticket” at the show.

“Any time [the glass has] a 90-degree edge, those are factory beveled,” said Edwards. “Curves are all hand-done so no two will ever be the same.”

Like others at the show, Edwards said customers are looking for glass options that offer clean and crisp lines, as well as obscurity, while still allowing in light.

The company offers both impact-rated and fire-rated fiberglass doors.

Simplify Options
While most companies aim to offer the customer ultimate flexibility when it comes to options such as color and sizes, at Royal Building Products, the opposite was true. The company hired designer Marianne Cusato to boil 200 mouldings down to nine.

“They told me they have this great catalog but their customers are having trouble penetrating the options,” she said. “It’s about differentiation and adding value. So I distilled it for them and it gives their customers design freedom and helps demystify the system.”

It wasn’t done with just design in mind, but sound building science as well. When walking through the steps she explained that a casing sits on a sill. “People often forget the sill,” she said. “For building science reasons it simply helps keep the water away. We can flash it really well but why invite it in? Let’s not tempt fate just because we have fancy materials. So we are going back to basics.”

The full line is still in the catalog but now there is the insert that breaks it down and gives design options. “We’re doing the design and thinking for them,” added Cusato.

Generating Buzz
Quanex Building Products focused on building awareness of its companies to IBS attendees, and it had a variety of products to show.

“The company is generating a lot of buzz on its Screen it Again product,” said David Petratis, president and CEO, Quanex Building Products. “This is the Builders’ Show but there are people in the remodeling market here who are showing amazing interest.”

ScreenItAgain.com simplifies aftermarket screen and grille replacement with its online build-to-order platform. “This is an easy way for window dealers, distributors and manufacturers to expand their product offerings and take advantage of a new revenue stream,” said Petratis. The program is described as an end-to-end solution that not only includes access to industry-leading aftermarket replacement screen and grille products, but also an array of value-added options for business-to-business clients, including microsite development, product fulfillment and customer service.

Also generating some buzz was PlyGem, which has shifted from focusing on new construction to the remodeling market. Chris Pickering, vice president of marketing, said their focus is now on helping homeowners in expressing their architectural style and personalities. This focus includes a new website tool, the Design Exterior Studio, which is not only helpful for consumers, but can also help dealers in showing and selling exterior products, such as windows.

Seal it Up
Companies that offer products to help seal the window exhibited at IBS, as these solutions are integral to the installation of a window. Fomo Products announced that its Handi-Seal door and window sealant is now available in a 12-ounce size. The company said it is the perfect size for smaller jobs.

Air leakage through cracks and gaps, sometimes found around windows, are a leading cause of air leakage in the home and the Dow Chemical Co. was on hand to showcase and demonstrate products that can remedy such a challenge. The company offers a variety of spray polyurethane foam products designed to reduce air and moisture infiltration, such as the Great Stuff and Great Stuff Pro insulating foam sealants and adhesives.

Vince DiCecco, business coach and trainer with Dow, explained that the spray, which fills gaps and seals drafts, “is easy for installers to use and seal the windows, so they don’t skip those steps.”

Lee Heronema, marketing manager for Dow Building Solutions, added, “We’re focusing on the air seal because so much energy is lost through the home; we’re focusing on sealing those gaps.”

Energy Needs
Yes doors and windows can meet the needs of homeowners looking for energy efficiency but a few skylight companies were in attendance as well and that included Fakro, based in Addison, Ill., manufacturer of roof windows and skylights. The company showcased a fixed skylight which works perfectly for the construction and climate of North America, according to the company.

The Fakro installation system, along with the newly designed warm frame construction and low-E single-chamber glazing unit has allowed the company to achieve an Energy Star designation.

The skylight offers a one-person installation system, is leak proof and eliminates the issue of outside condensation, according to company information.

“Demand is increasing especially in certain geographic areas,” said Waldemar Szalus, general manager.

But companies did showcase energy-efficient windows as well and that included Bayer Material Science. The company partnered with Deceuninck North America on its Innergy product and are seeing a lot of interest in that, according to Harry George, manager new markets.

“People are coming by and asking how they can expand into light commercial type applications,” he added.

Hardware Happenings
Brio USA showcased its hardware and featured yellow doors in its booth to take the emphasis off the door and put the focus on the hardware.

“We had a lot of people and a lot of interest,” said O’Connor. “A lot of people are interested due to the sheer size of the door which is 10 ½ feet tall. No one gets close to that.”

O’Connor reported that while it currently manufactures the hardware in Australia once volume gets high enough we can do it here—“maybe in 6 months.”

Also on the hardware scene, Hoppe featured hardware for folding and lift and slide door systems, which provides effortless operation, according to Matt Taylor, product manager.

“A lot of companies are doing lift and slides,” said Taylor, who added that more and more are getting involved in this market segment.

In the Schlage booth, the company showed just how smart homes are becoming, thanks to its Nexia Home Intelligence System, which it, exhibited together with Trane. Nexia allows homeowners to remotely manage features and functions of their home, including door locks, heating and cooling, video surveillance, lights, shades and energy usage via any Web-enabled computer and most smart phones. The program is even designed to alert the homeowner when someone comes and goes. Ann Mathias, Schlage brand director, gave an example. She explained that when kids get home from school and open the door, the homeowner would receive an alert on their mobile phone. It also features sensor scheduling for doors and windows that can be activated for extra security; the sensors identify whether a door or window is opened or closed.

Wood Rules
Well it may not rule but all wood doors can definitely be found in abundance on the show floor and this was true at the Jeld-Wen booth where the company featured reclaimed wood products. The company claims it is “the first major manufacturer to offer reclaimed wood window and door products as part of the company’s custom wood line.”

Made from Douglas fir that was originally used for fencing, barns, houses and factories, Jeld-Wen brings this durable wood back to life by reclaiming it for doors and windows.

The company also announced that it recently achieved Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for custom wood windows and patio doors manufactured in pine at its Bend, Ore., facility. Accredited by FSC, the Rainforest Alliance granted the company a multisite certificate, which demonstrates to customers that Jeld-Wen uses responsibly produced Pine.

At Caoba Doors, the company showcased unique wood products.

“We are the only one at the show showing a curved stacking wall,” said Caoba’s Craig Yosin. “This is a European style window line manufactured with louvers and screens which are very unique. The systems also come with Dade County approval. (Dade County approval is something that many attendees were asking of the many exhibitors who offer impact products.)

Gauging Interest
Many times exhibitors use events such as IBS to gauge interest in a new product. This was the case for ODL. It originally debuted its Array door to a small group back in October at the meeting of the Association of Millwork Distributors. The company made some changes based on feedback then used IBS to officially introduce its Array door consisting of two sliding panels of perforated, powder-coated aluminum. It provides users with a simple way to control privacy and light levels in a through a SunDial control.

Dunbarton, specializing in door and entry systems, showcased its Vetro line which offers everything from one lite, three lite, five lite, sliders, swing, bi-fold doors and more.

“We are getting a lot of feedback on this product,” said Gary Tew, vice president, sales and marketing. “We put it out here to gauge the interest and since there is a great deal we have to get it set up to sell.”

The company’s products also offer concealed hardware and different glass options such as frosted, resulting in versatile products, many with a more modern design, said Tew.

Tara Taffera and Ellen Rogers serve as editor and assistant editor respectively, for DWM/Shelter magazine. Like DWM mag on Facebook to receive magazine updates.

 


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