When you take a look at what the industry has to offer right now, the choice is astounding. It certainly dwarfs what was available when I first joined the industry nearly ten years ago. Back then it was a very limited choice of white or the standard wood grains. How things have changed. After the PVC industry had a profound rethink about it’s product and what it really needs to provide to the client, things really have changed at a massive pace. So it got me to thinking, is this the best that windows and doors have ever looked? I’m going to use some examples out there, and some of my own installations to prove a point.
Colour glorious colour
People really are bored of white. When PVC was first launched, white was very much the main choice. A bit like when Ford launched their Model T car. They said you could have any colour you wanted, so long as it was black. OK perhaps it wasn’t as extreme as that, but when ti came to colour choice, it wasn’t exactly a buffet. Now, thanks to major advancements in foiling and spraying technology, it really has changed what we’re installing. Here’s one example:
You may have seen this on Twitter once or twice. This is what we like to call our engineered door. It’s PVC, but not as many would sell it usually. The client had an original timber door, flag and side windows in this arrangement. The property was approaching 100 years old and it was important to the customer to keep as much character as possible. That is why this one took nearly three months to finally land on a design that the client was happy with. We were pretty chuffed with it too! Here’s some more examples of funky colours we’ve installed:
Doors really have become an art form over the past few years. Couldn’t have imagined selling this at all a decade ago!
Composite and timber alternative
It’s not just colour which has helped to improve the overall design of what we sell, but the actual basic product itself. In the past decade I have witnessed the meteoric rise of products like composite doors and timber alternative PVC. Both of these products have helped to fragment the hold of standard PVC and help inspire homeowners to be a little more creative when it comes to changing their windows and doors.
In the timber alternative market we have had two major players help drive the market:
These two are responsible for bringing the timber alternative market out from a niche into a full blown market of it’s own. With superior look to standard PVC and aesthetics as good as timber, it has allowed homeowners to view PVC in a totally different way. We probably all sell one or the other of these two products, and I’m sure we can all agree that these are some of the best looking windows being produced right now.
But let’s not forget composite doors. Again this is a market that has gone from niche to full blown sector in the space of very little time and has helped to shift the dowdy nature of our industry:
Those were a mix of high end examples at this year’s FiT Show and a couple of our own jobs too. All look fantastic and definitely look better than what was available a decade ago.
Not just PVC
It’s not just PVC that has got better. Have you seen the sorts of jobs the timber and aluminium areas of our industry are pumping out at the moment? A quick scan on the NFA Cool Wall and you’ll see all sorts of high end, colourful, architectural projects, mostly residential too.
Over the past few years the focus from the industry as a whole has moved to quality, functional design that appeals to everyone. It’s really starting to pay dividends now and I think it’s also helping to improve the overall opinion of our industry.
Is This The Best Windows And Doors Have Ever Looked?
Far to much ‘bling’ , superfluous product and really tasteless style choices that sales people use just to be different.
Not even to mention warranty issues of a lot of the stuff that gets thrown out there.
Yes. 10 years ago it was Oak or nothing for 95% of my customers but now when i go out to an “oak job” I can just as easily come back with a Residence 9 window and Solidor Composite door order, purely down to the looks and perceived quality of the product, I wouldn’t have dreamed of even offering a lot of them anything other than Oak previously, Simple hardwood was hard enough of a sell. Sure i was happy enough fitting PVCu into a two bed semi back then, the quality was there if not the style, as it… Read more »
A very subjective issue , and yes there are some really clever and classy looking products , but the ability to design and paint styles up makes for some particularly ugly combinations , of the photos use to illustrate the piece I would currently not want to be associated with half of them :). Each to his own though and while I am not one to set these trends , I will design something a bit different that suits a property , the trouble is, lots of the things look awful both in themselves and in whatever property you wish… Read more »
Hi Kevin It’s about time I waded in on this one ;-) Your comment about doing it with wood, implying that PVC isn’t going to cut it, I have to completely disagree with! Speaking neutrally and not with my PVC hat on (which has amazing thermal values by the way ;-)) if you were to have seen these doors in person, rather than just judging on screen, I think even you would be able to see that these things look fantastic when fitted – as did the end users. With regards to the warranty and maintenance issues you bring up… Read more »
Ah well It is those engineered ones, which to me ,look naff :-) , while not cheap , look it! and the colours , well I don’t do yellows and reds , I am pretty convinced by experience that the colours are not stable, but purple, oh dear !! The light aqua blue looks superb on a 60’s bass guitar , but on a front door !! Can these doors be repainted or are they stuck like that even when the customer has lost the love , fads are OK when it costs £20 for a tin of paint ,… Read more »
You need to come see them one day in person mate. I promise you they are more than a match for composite, even better in some cases! The sprayers assure us of a very long lifespan in terms of colour. But remember, you can’t write off colours because they might discolour in time. That would mean we have to stop selling Light Oak and Rosewood in that case. Even the most hard wearing finishes fade a little, even on timber. There is a process as well where these doors can be re-sprayed…I think. But, say these doors are good for… Read more »
I learnt a long time ago to give my customers just what they want. I do try of course to steer them away from the worst faux pas but hey, their money their choice. I think you’ll find the “left field” looking doors are simply current European styles brought back over here by frequent skiing trips and Ikea. As for colour there’s nothing stopping any half decent decorator changing the colour but a specialist door sprayer will do the job far better, in situ with less hassle. I haven’t sold a Cadbury purple door yet but when I showed one… Read more »
Indeed DGB , some topics inspire me to share my thoughts more than others I’ll grant you , on many occasions I have nothing to add to your posts.While I am not fussed so much on some of the ‘guest’ promotional ones , I feel secure on matters of taste because I am right ;) On a technical issue , and I think we have been here before, I believe reds and yellows to be unstable pigments that will fade unless regularly protected with proper waxes and polishes . If you ever see a a car with faded paintwork what… Read more »