This is the first of a two parter on DGB today and tomorrow. Today’s post will take a look at ten window and door products that have changed the industry, or at the very least have had a heavy influence on the way the industry works and goes about it’s business. These are just my opinions and I would welcome any more suggestions via the comments section below.

This list is in no particular order!

1. Composite doors

A fairly obvious one to start off with. Composite doors shook the market place when they arrived on the scene around a decade ago. They introduced colour into a once stagnant white market, and can be credited with kick starting the colour revolution that has really taken hold over the past few years.

Companies like Door-Stop International, who made shock waves upon their arrival, and Solidor, and many others, continue to drive forward composite door innovation. Today’s composite doors don’t look or operate anything like their very first incarnations.

2. Yale Keyfree Door Handle

Hands up who is actually selling this product right now. My hand is up. We have been selling these for a few years now. They’re not a massive seller, but the home owners that do decide to add them to their new doors are generally happy with them.

Admittedly, they have had some teething issues. But it’s not the quality of the product, but the actual product itself is the reason for it’s inclusion. It was one of the first handles to take a stab at proper key-less door entry for residential doors. It probably hasn’t sold in the numbers Yale would have liked. But one thing it did do was to spur on the rest of the market to come up with it’s own options, with companies like MACO about to bring to market their own suite of key-less technology.

Are keys a thing of the past? Will home owners feel confident enough to ditch the humble key? Time will tell!

3. Evolution’s timber alternative window

Where once timber alternative was very much a niche sector, it’s now it’s own very own market. And laying claim to that niche is Evolution.

They were the first to bring to market a dedicated PVCu timber alternative product, and since then, the product, and indeed the market has exploded. Rival manufacturers have set up since, most notably Residence 9, and they have all driven the market forward.

It’s this new product which can strongly demonstrate to home owners that PVCu need not look like plastic, but very much like timber. It’s grown so strongly now that almost every supplier claims to have some form of timber alternative product in some form or another. This is one of the biggest advancements in the window and door industry in a long time.

4. Solid roofs

One of the biggest changes in the glazed extension sector has been the rapid rise of the solid roof and solid roof refurbishment work.

Now there are varying qualities out there in the market place right now. Some at very opposite ends of the scale indeed. But all have contributed to what has been a very rapid rise of a fully fledged market place and have breathed life back into what was a very ailing conservatory market.

A word of warning for the future though. The lesser quality roofs out there may prove to be problematic. Cold spots, poor construction by installers and lack of checks on bases and frames may all combine to cause issues. Best to stick with the quality roofs from the outset!

5. Integral blinds

Venetian blinds inside double glazed units have been a god send to many home owners where cleaning blinds in rooms like kitchen and bathrooms had previously been a pain in the arse.

They have been around for a while now. But they continue to sell well at our place, with superb customer feedback and reliability. It gives home owners a choice to have a blind that requires no maintenance and no drilling into walls or window frames!

6. Ultraframe’s LivinRoom and Cornice gutter

Products a bit more recent to the market, but two that together make a huge difference to the appearance of any glazed extension. Ultraframe’s internal LivinRoom detail and external Cornice gutter have made a big impact not just on the industry, but on all future glazed extensions yet to be built.

To give you an idea of their attraction, in the 2+ years since having two of our outdoor conservatories revamped to include the aforementioned products, from memory we have installed just TWO conservatories without these products.

They look fantastic, and the two are some of the most impressive new products to enter the glazed extension market in recent times.

7. Bi-folding doors

We’re going a bit further back now with this one, but the contributions made by the bi-folding door should not be discounted.

Popularised by programmes like Grand Designs, the bi-folding door is now a staple product within much of the industry’s installers. Once very expensive and the reserve of those who really could afford it, modern bi-folding doors in all materials are now very much accessible to most home owners. Aluminium versions tending to be the most popular.

The attraction is easy to understand, despite the UK lacking the climate for it. Opening up a room into the garden, bringing the views and (occasionally) the warm weather into the home. It sounds idyllic. But it has also done is dragged sliding patio doors back into focus too. Bi-folds are not able to give you unbroken glazed views, sliders can. So through the bi-folds’s success, it has also brought sliding patios back into the game too.

8. Triple glazing

Bit of a contentious one this one, as some may think that triple glazing is yet to change the market in any meaningful way.

It’s one of those products sort of lurking in the background, ready and waiting for the right time to pounce. However, with recent products announcements from a certain John Fredericks, that all may be about to change.

9. Warm edge spacer bars

Lets face it, WERs wouldn’t be what they are without warm edge spacer bars. There’s some pretty fierce competition between the various companies that make the different variations. Yet all play a vital role in keeping the current crop of windows as efficient as possible, and will play a key role in the years to come for future development of glazing technologies.

10. Big wipes

Ask your fitters about this one! Big Wipes is a company that makes some of the best wipes for tradesmen I have ever seen. Is it industry changing? That will be down to opinion. But ask a fitter if they have used them and they will probably tell you how awesome they are.

Our fitters have them in their vans, as well as our service engineer. It may only seem a small product in the grand scheme of things, but useful when your hand is caked in the days detritus and you want it off ASAP. Need convincing? Check out a video from this guy. He was at last year’s FiT Show and was one of the highlights for me of the whole of the event!

I love this guy. I think he’s fantastic! If you could bottle that type of enthusiasm for his product and sell it to companies our industry would be a much cheerier and productive place!

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