Well Door-Stop seems to have got Solidor’s back up a little. Judging by the Letter To The Editor on the Fenestration News website, Gareth Mobley has been forced to defend the company he works for and the sector he works in.

The response was prompted by comments from Nick Dutton of Door-Stop, and thanks to one of my Twitter followers, I have been put in the right direction of the post. This is what Nick Dutton had to say: http://www.fenestration-news.com/news/newsItem.aspx?id=10791

It’s never good to hear of businesses failing, particularly if the company was one of the best-known names in the market, as Door Panels plc was years ago. Its demise is sad – we all feel for the employees who’ve lost their jobs – but not a surprise.
Like Kodak, which once owned 90% of the world’s camera film market, perhaps Door Panels could have moved on earlier. No-one imagined that Kodak wouldn’t be at the forefront of digital photography – especially as Kodak invented it! But Kodak was so wedded to film, and so slow to switch that it went from icon to dinosaur and never recovered, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January.
Door Panels probably stuck with panel doors because that’s what it knew best and what it felt comfortable with. But the writing was on the wall five years ago: composite doors look better, are more energy efficient, more secure and offer more choice. Homeowners prefer them – and after decades of costly call-outs, so do most installers!
No doubt Door Panels did as much as it could to save the business, but you can’t turn back the tide. Panel doors are part of the industry’s past, and there’s no future in yesterday’s technology.
Kind regards
Nick Dutton
Managing Director

To be fair to Nick, I do agree with a lot of what he has to say. The fewer call outs, the greater choice and the fact that they are so popular with customers does count for a lot. Anyway, this is what Gareth had to say. You can find the full letter on the Fenestration News website here: http://www.fenestration-news.com/news/newsItem.aspx?id=10829

Dear Ian
Further to Nick Dutton’s letter last week, I would suggest that the door panel market is still alive and doing very well, thank you. As the managing director of Solidor Group, which includes Solidor and Nice Door Panels, perhaps I can put forward an unbiased view.
The market for entrance doors is relatively buoyant and at Solidor we have experienced unprecedented growth for our second generation composite doors. Similarly Nice Door Panels are enjoying growth in no small part to the development of CoolSkin technology in door panels. Over the last 6 years, this has proven to eliminate the problems of first generation door panels, as our customers have enjoyed.
I’m very well aware of what Door Panels were doing as a business and they cannot be used as a barometer of the door panel sector. Their product was widely regarded as inferior to the vast majority of other door panels due to the use of dated materials and they also operated a very aggressive and ultimately unsustainable pricing strategy. I believe that these two business fundamentals are the key ingredients that sent them under.
Consumers expect choice and for the foreseeable future I see both door panels and composite doors providing different solutions for the replacement door market. The door panel sector has evolved, with better products and the same is beginning to happen in the composite door market.
It’s now a time for innovation in the entrance door market, rather than purporting misguided information with a tenuous link to the photographic industry. Moreover, at Solidor and Nice Door Panels we’re not the only ones with this balanced opinion.
Yours sincerely

Gareth Mobley
Managing Director
Solidor Group

Gareth has done well for Solidor, and for that, kudos. What he has done is do well with a business in what is a very shrinking market in my opinion. He’s managed to take a good deal of the market share – or what’s left of it. But overall, from what I can see, the door panel sector is a sector with it’s days numbered. In the whole of the year so far, I have sold just two door paneled doors. The rest have been composite and engineered PVC doors. We haven’t been pushing one type over another. We just haven’t had customers coming through the door asking for them.

New innovations like the CoolSkin technology and different colours might keep the sector going for a little while longer, but the simple fact is composite and engineered doors are better in quality, looks and customers are asking for them by name. Over the coming years as composite and other types of doors really take over, we could see quite a few door panel companies hitting the wall due to falling sales and different competition.