Manufacturers Focus on Glass During IBS

A walk around the International Builders’ Show (IBS), which took place in Las Vegas in February, showed trends among door and window products toward the high-end market, including increasingly large, sliding glass doors—many of which are turned up with automation.

“Regular-sized doors look tiny this year,” commented Al Mograss, with Neuma Doors, pointing to a standard, 6-foot-8-inch-tall door. Kolbe, Panda, Marvin, Neuma and Weather Shield all looked to draw attention with such oversized products. Marvin’s Ultimate Corner Multi-Slide door stacks and/or pockets up to ten panels, completely opening corners. Panda’s largest door stands nearly 15-feet tall. Those mammoth proportions are designed to change the way homeowners live, many suggested.

“Panda is a lifestyle product. We want folks to see and experience our doors, and to enjoy a certain lifestyle with them,” explained Jay Savage, marketing director for Panda Doors.

And this year that lifestyle is all about blending indoor and outdoor environments, in a trend that officials for Weather Shield dub the “shared space movement.” But the onslaught of large sliders has also increased competition among manufacturers, many suggested. As a result, manufacturers are leaning on additional features, as well
as making refinements to loop in the attention of builders. Kolbe and Panda’s multi-slide doors included motorized automation. Kolbe’s is activated by waving a hand in front of a sensor.

Weather Shield is blending its concept for larger doors and windows with more contemporary styling.

“The market is moving this way, and I don’t know how many people have picked up on this,” said Chris Schields, vice president of product marketing for Weather Shield. At the same time, “Homeowners love the idea of contemporary, but aren’t necessarily willing to fully commit,” he suggested.

Modular Construction

Many exhibitors at the show pointed to more efficient processes trending across residential building—including modular construction.

“Interesting you ask,” said Lee Roberts, installation manager for NanaWall. “We just finished a project in Missouri where we installed 30 units—half into modularly built walls and half into site-built.”

And while his company experienced no snags installing its doors into modular walls, Roberts said, many of the industry’s latest trends aren’t compatible with the concept of pre-fitting walls with doors and windows, before craning them into place—including the latest sliding and pivoting doors. But, so long as those systems are added after
wall placement and modular walls are built to the same specs as site-built methods, “We can place our products with no problem,” Roberts suggested.

That’s not to say that companies aren’t looking to make large, sliding
doors easier for builders to accommodate. Ply Gem, for instance, unveiled an automated, sliding door at this year’s show that relies on a belt-driven system that tucks into standard 3-1/2-inch-thick walls. As a result, builders need only to frame out the door’s opening with headers made of steel or laminated veneer lumber (LVL), while providing a small hole for its belt and a single, 120-volt electrical connection for the motor.

For More Coverage of IBS

To learn more about industry trends on display at the International Builders’ Show, watch our newscast coverage. The videos feature mammoth-sized glass doors, products to mitigate the effects of the labor shortage and automated doors. Visit to watch these newscasts.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.