PVCu perhaps isn’t looking as rock solid as it did around five years ago. Aluminium products have enjoyed a spectacular comeback in recent years, comparable to the strength in the rise of composite doors. Products like bi-folding doors have played a big part in it’s resurgence. Timber hasn’t done badly either over the past few years. No one is saying that PVCu is on a terminal and fatal decline, far from it, but it’s dominance of the residential market certainly isn’t what it was.
So, if you’re an installer and have recognised the need to diversify away from just PVCu, which road should you go down?
Aluminium has it’s own look and always has. It has improved greatly in recent times and taken hints from the commercial sector to give the new age of aluminium windows and doors a very sleek, modern and architectural look. Something PVCu struggles to do.
Timber is of course timber, the most natural of the three main product groups. Whilst aluminium does have a few wood grain options to choose from, PVCu has more. Yet, neither get close to the real thing. And for some home owners, timber is now the only way to go.
Most installers fit PVCu already, and I would say of those installers looking to expand their product portfolios, they’re looking to add one new material right now. So it’s a straight choice between aluminium and timber. Yes some may want to add both and offer all three main materials, but for argument’s sake lets just say there is room for just one extra.
Look for signs
Noticed any trends popping up recently in your leads? We have, and that has been a clear and definite rise in the number of people asking for aluminium, specifically bi-folding doors, but also very recently aluminium. Not much demand for timber round our parts.
The rise in demand for aluminium bi-folds is a well documented one. But as we have found, the demand for aluminium doors also brings demand for aluminium windows. Can you do one without the other? Should you do one without the other?
Timber alternative products have also become a lot more popular in the past few years. An indication that home owners are after new windows and doors with the characteristics and aesthetics of timber. Does that mean then that they want timber, or just the best bits of timber combined with the best bits of PVCu?
My advice is don’t be scared of the cost of aluminium or timber windows and doors. I have found that home owners expect these to be more expensive than PVCu, but also of a better quality. There is no reason, should you pick aluminium or timber products to add to your portfolio, that you can’t achieve better profit margins.
You can’t, or rather shouldn’t, cheapen an aluminium or timber product. Yes they’re gaining in popularity, but that shouldn’t mean there should be a race to the bottom as there was with the PVCu market. That particular area in some parts is only just recovering. Fabricators and installers should be responsible and ensure that aluminium and timber products are manufactured and sold at prices which do them justice.
Yep, it’s poll time. I’ve not had a fresh one for at least a week so it’s about time we had another one. Nice and simple, let us know, if you’re thinking of expanding your product portfolio, which one you would go for:
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