The latest Insight Data market report confirmed something we all sort of knew in the first place, that vertical sliding sash windows are once again becoming a popular window product. As the image above shows, there was an increase of over 600 installers selling sliding sash windows. A indication that demand for the product from home owners is back on the rise. But this figure is only part of a wider story.
Traditional now popular
The resurgence in the popularity of sliding sash windows forms part of a wider trend of going back to traditional design and old fashioned aesthetics.
Lets consider what is popular right now. Timer alternative PVCu windows and doors have shot up in popularity in such a short space of time. Flush casement windows have seen a surge in demand in the last few years. Colour has become a feature of great importance, especially for entrance doors. Coloured doors were a major feature way back when. Traditional hardware like black or pewter money tailed handles, peg stays and other similar products are now popular additions to all sorts of windows. Timber materials themselves are finding their way back into people’s homes too.
It’s almost like we’ve come full circle. Our industry has been dominated for the past few decades by a sea of white panel doors and windows, in the belief that this is the right and modern way to go. Yet in the past few years home owners have quite strongly turned back to wanting traditional features back in their homes, except in more modern materials.
For me it feels like the fenestration industry has been on a bit of a learning journey the past few decades. The introduction of PVCu to the UK market was certainly a turning point for the whole sector. It completely changed the way it works.
But since then, it seemed to get a bit lost. It had to figure out in what way PVCu best suited the market and home owners. So it’s almost as if the last few decades have been about learning the products, what works, what doesn’t. What things home owners want from the product. There were some horrors that’s for sure. And PVCu installed in buildings that really should never have had it in there in the first place.
Things have got a lot better though, and I feel now like the industry has properly tuned in to what home owners genuinely want. Traditional designs sympathetic to the property, in a range of colours to suit, but in a modern material like PVCu which comes with all the low maintenance advantages that other materials don’t. I believe that we’re now at a point where PVCu can give home owners the best of both.
Products like sliding sash windows, timber alternative PVCu, colour, quality wood grain finishes, traditional hardware and others all form part of a wider trend and rising demand for products that hark back to a time where white didn’t dominate every house in every street.
For me, this is a good thing for the industry. It will keep us all focused on the right things, like quality and design, which in the long run, can only be a benefit for everyone.