Featured image credit: Aztec Windows (Prestige Collection®) & Timberweld®
There has been a lot of articles in the industry press in the past week or so talking about flush windows and their rise up the ranks, and given that I have predicted in the past that flush windows would start making serious gains before too long, this seems about right to revisit the subject.
Plenty of selling points
In our showroom we have set out row by row all the different product types available. Each row something different. Until you get to a row where we have placed a flush window next to a standard casement window. It’s at that point you really see the stark contrast between the two products. The flush looks nice and flat, with the neat black lines of the weather proof gasket outlining each sash. Next to it the casement, looking a bit bulky, dated, nothing like their timber predecessors.
You can see the reaction in the customers when they start to run their hands over the flat surface of the flush window. Other showrooms in our local area are poor, so this is most likely they have been to a showroom that has put direct comparisons next to each other. More often than not they prefer the look of the flush over the casement, and when they find out that the cost is only minimally higher than the casement, the argument for flush becomes stronger.
They like it better still when they find out they can get timber look joints instead of v-welds so that it looks a bit more like timber again. If you look at the featured image on this post, you’ll see those joints there, and how much better they look than a standard weld. Admittedly it’s this detail which starts to impact the cost to the home owner, but it’s not prohibitive in my mind and the discerning home owner would easily spend the extra to achieve the better look.
Point is, flush has a lot of selling points that normal casement windows can’t match on the aesthetic front. For home owners wanting to replicate the look of timber but want the best bits of PVCu, this is very good middle ground. One casements cannot quite get near to. Flush windows still give you top end energy efficiency, security and overall quality, so it’s not as if there isn’t a trade-off there either.
I can’t think of a systems house that doesn’t have a flush window system as part of their wider product portfolio. I think every single one has one. There are varying qualities of course, some aimed at the lower end of the market, some at the higher end. The wider point here though is that the industry has now positioned itself to really step on the gas and start pushing the flush option to home owners over casement.
How much then can flush windows disrupt the traditional casement business in the years to come?
Flush for all?
I guess the one question in my mind about the opportunity flush windows presents is: could they ever replace casements? I think in the next 5-10 years we’re going to see flush windows really take off. As in, sky rocket north. We are already seeing strong growth in this area of the industry now, but as more and more home owners become familiar with this option, and the price of the product creeps down as more of it is sold, this should be a catalyst to see sales of it explode.
One of they key points here is that I don’t think this is going to be a product reserved for the higher end of the market only. You can quite easily get a smooth White flush window with welds from most suppliers at this point. This is a cheaper option than a flush window with timber look joints, French Grey wood grain finish, monkey tail handles and Georgian bars. So depending on the budget of the home owner there should always be a flush window option available to them.
I’m not sure that flush windows could ultimately depose the traditional casement window we are all used to seeing and selling. They will remain a cheaper alternative to flush, no matter how small that margin is, so will remain the product of choice for things like house builders, council contractors, super low-end companies etc who really just want to push out plain White PVCu windows.
During the next 5-10 year period though, I’m confident that flush windows are going to make serious gains into the market share of traditional casement windows. I have often wondered what the main evolution of the double glazed window would be next (I am aware of how nerdy that sounds) and this is it.
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