Image credit: Franklin Windows – composite windows
Remember when timber alternative windows were being touted as the next big thing? Well, they’ now the current big thing. The product made it from niche to mainstream and is now providing installers with a high-end option to bring in extra revenue streams and some stunning installation images to go with it. So could composite windows be the next niche to explode into action?
Driven by design
The current trend in the industry overall has been design. The industry has finally woken up to the fact that if we’re going to get people excited about windows and doors, they have to be able to look at a product and genuinely feel excited about the potential purchase they might be about to make. This is the reason why products like bespoke entrance doors, timber alternative windows, composite doors etc have done so well in recent years. They look so much better than their older counterparts!
Composite windows continue that trend. The fusion of aluminium and timber creates a very impressive and slim traditional look that many homeowners genuinely prefer over PVCu.
I have seen some examples of new composite windows about to enter the market place and they look seriously sexy. And they’re built as well as they look. Finally I’m seeing signs that the industry might start to be properly turning it’s back on cheap and cheerful and investing in proper products, designed to look the business and last a significant amount of time. It’s for this reason that I’m quite confident that this product will follow the same pattern as timber alternative PVCu windows and doors did.
More than just a niche
There are a few reasons why I think composite windows will grow quickly from it’s niche status to a fully credible sector.
First of all, back to the point on design. They look stunning. All the composite window products I’ve seen look fantastic. I would be more than happy to have them in my house and I would be more than happy to sell them.
Second is build quality. If a product these days is going to make the cut, it has to be produced to a very high standard and feel significant while it’s being used by the homeowner. The customer want to use their new windows and doors and feel like they are going to give them decades of reliability and security, as well as energy efficiency.
Third, attitudes towards PVCu. Recently aluminium and timber have been making inrodes into the PVCu residential market. Not great swathes just yet, but there is a gentle swaying back to more traditional fenestration materials for residential properties. Composite windows tie in the two most popular materials before PVCu came along. This will be a pull for a lot of people.
There are a lot of things going for composite windows.
Limits to innovation
Some might disagree with me here, but there is only so far you can take innovation with single materials products. That goes for aluminium and timber, as well as PVCu. There can only be some many permeations of one material.
This is why we have to start experimenting with multiple materials to create the next generation of window and door products. And we’re seeing this already in products like Synseal’s WarmCore product.
The Warmcore product combines aluminium and PVCu to create a fantastic new door product that the industry has received very positively. More of this out of the box thinking needs to happen to keep the industry moving forward.
Should timber alternative companies be worried?
The question is then, should the timber alternative market be keeping an eye on the growing composite window sector?
After all, composite windows are aimed at the very same people timber alternative windows are – those who love timber. With both products ticking all the right design boxes, it’s easy to see that companies selling composite windows could pose a threat to the market share of those selling timber alternative windows.
So the smart thing might be to bring a composite window product on board to sit alongside all the other products so that the customer has the widest possible choice. That way an installer won’t lose as many sales.
I still think composite windows have a way to go. Not that many installers have taken them up, and there aren’t that many fabricators producing the product. But I suspect that as the product continues to develop and improve over the next few years, the lure for installers will be too great to ignore and I fully expect there to be a genuine composite window sector established in the next 3-5 years.
A big thanks to Franklin Windows for letting me use one of their installation images for today’s featured image! Be sure to check their range out by clicking the link at the top of this post.
As always, all comments are very welcome via the section below.