Giving Homeowners an Experience with Add-Ons and Warranties
By Jordan Scott
When homeowners buy a new shower door for their bathroom, they’re buying an experience for themselves and their guests. A shower door is more than a lite of glass dividing shower water from the rest of the bathroom; it can be a statement of the homeowner’s design taste or lifestyle. Shower door companies are working to meet those demands with products such as new glass choices and warranty options.
“As consumers and homeowners have become more sophisticated in
their tastes and preferences, we have added new enhanced features to satisfy those demands for beauty, durability and ease of maintenance,” says JB Kulakowski, national sales manager at Arizona Shower Door based in Phoenix. “New choices in designer hardware, thicker glass, along with slimmer, less obtrusive and more durable hardware, have been the main change agents.”
Hydrophobic glass coatings, which repel water, have been used for military and industrial applications since the 1950s, according to Kulakowski. In the past ten to 15 years, they’ve also been applied to residential and commercial glazing products as a way to assist the owner in maintaining the original beauty of the glass as mineral and lime deposits are less likely to stick to slick surfaces.
The Arizona Shower Door Glass Protection Program involves educating its customers about what they can expect from its water-repellent
coating, Invisible Shield supplied by Unelko, and how they can keep their
shower door pristine with manual cleaning on occasion. To educate customers, companies such as Craftman Shower Door & Mirror in Lawrence, Kan., give homeowners a pamphlet with glass maintenance
instructions. Others, such as Sonoma Shower Doors of Santa Rosa, Calif.,
provide a presentation at home using a tablet featuring photos that provide maintenance instructions.
Customer education is also important to Diamon-Fusion International
(DFI), which makes low-maintenance coatings.
“DFI is working on a complete set of training materials to educate consumers about what hydrophobic coatings are, the different characteristics to look for in a good protective coating and how to properly care for treated surfaces,” says Syndi Sim, vice president of
marketing and business development at DFI.
Alumax Bath Enclosures’ primary add-on is the EnduroShield glass
“Glass treatment sales are made when we sell the shower door, and the treatment is applied in-house before the product ships. EnduroShield
helps keep the glass clean and greatly reduces cleaning time,” says Andrew Word, marketing coordinator at Alumax Bath Enclosures located in Magnolia, Ark.
American Shower Door, based in Commerce, Calif., uses ShowerGuard
glass by Guardian, as well as the EnduroShield product. The company
manufactures every door to the custom specifications of the glass retailer that installs the units.
Vitro Architectural Glass offers its Clarvista glass coating to protect its
“It’s completely invisible,” says Patrick Kelly, market segment manager
for specialty at Vitro. “With age, shower doors get a gray appearance, especially at the bottom. Clarvista prevents that.” C.R. Laurence (CRL) offers retailers the ability to use a private label for its glass cleaner.
“[A] product popular with shower installers is our CRL 1973 private label
glass cleaner. This serves as a great marketing tool that glaziers can leave
with the homeowner after the installation,” says Andrew Haring, vice president of marketing at CRL. “Anytime they use the glass cleaner afterward, they’ll be reminded of the shower company that did the installation.”
In addition to glass coating products, companies also offer a variety a
hardware options for consumers. CRL offers grab bars designed to enhance safety while complementing the surrounding aesthetic.
“All of the hardware/finish options [we offer] ultimately add value to our
customer (the glazier). The more solutions they can offer their customer (the owner), the better they position themselves as a single-source, preferred installer. Each of these add-on accessory hardware options also have the ability to increase the overall value of the project while delivering a better end product for the owner,” says Haring.
John Perry, owner and president of Sonoma Shower Doors, points out that, however, many customers are looking for the least amount of hardware to give their bathroom a cleaner look.
American Shower Door manufactures every door to the custom specifications of the glass dealer who will install the units.
“This then becomes the responsibility of the educated glass dealer who is
aware of the up-sale options available in the industry. The glass dealer is key to informing their clients about quality, creativity and new ideas,” says Carol Perry-Sturgill, director of marketing and sales at American Shower Door.
Basco Shower Doors, located in Mason, Ohio, offers additional custom
add-ons in product features or designs that deliver convenience or preferences for its customers
“This includes items such as varying towel bar or handle design
options or even robe hooks that can be placed directly in the glass,”
says Greg Weyman, the company’s vice president of marketing.
Warranties are another factor important to shower door shoppers, and in
some cases, homeowners may request a more extensive warranty than what the shower door company offers.
Basco does not sell extended warranties to its customers, but offers a
limited lifetime warranty to all customers who purchase one of its doors.
“We still honor warranties on select items from many years ago if it was covered. It’s something we’ve always done to offer our customers reassurance of their purchase,” says Weyman. “We do offer two glass protectant options for customers – AquaGlideXP and Guardian ShowerGuard. Our AquaglideXP treatment is backed by a 10-year warranty. We offer this as an add-on, as some customers opt
for less maintenance for their glass while others don’t see it as a necessity. ShowerGuard is growing in awareness, and we’ve partnered with Guardian to offer the product to our customers as well.”
ShowerGuard offers a limited lifetime warranty.
Arizona Shower Door also offers a limited lifetime warranty for the
manufactured components and glass of the product to be free from defects in workmanship and materials under normal use and service. This applies throughout the lifetime of the original owner or end-user. However, the factory-applied glass protector (purchased separately) is not covered under the company’s lifetime warranty.
The company warrants the seal strip, polycarbonate and vinyl components for one year from the initial date of purchase.
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