There is certainly a wide and varied menu for installers to choose from when it comes to products right now. It could be argued too much. It was a subject I approached in a post the other day. But this current period of mass diversification cannot last forever. The dust will have to settle and in the end the industry will have a new focus and direction.
In this post I want to take a look at three possible directions the industry may go, once it has decided which of these new products and ideas will work and those that won’t. This is in no particular order.
Hybrid windows and doors
I spoke about hybrid products the other day on DGB after seeing an image tweeted by Purplex from Fensterbau of a a hybrid aluminium and PVCu window sample.
It’s not a technology that is all that new. However, more and more companies seem to be exploring this area and trying to find new ways to break this new niche into the mainstream.
So far, it’s been a bit of a flop. There has been various combinations of hybrids; PVCu/aluminium, aluminium/timber just a couple of examples. But no one company seems to have been able to nail a high quality system that installers and importantly home owners have bought into.
The tide may be changing however. There is one hybrid product that has gained traction and that is WarmCore by Synseal.
This is the first aluminium/PVCu hybrid that installers have bought into, both in concept and product. I’m selling it, and it’s a cracking product. With four colours, a double and 44mm triple glazed option, quality hardware and numerous configurations, this has been a good foray into the world of hybrids for Synseal.
They are bringing WarmCore windows to the market, and they will be bringing both products to the FIT Show in April on stand 348 so be sure to check those out.
Will the industry move in this direction with more purpose? Perhaps. We need to see a raft of new, high quality hybrids with proper unique selling points before the industry decides to adopt it in a serious way.
Total market separation
Another possible route the industry may go down is a complete separation down the middle; cheap, cheerful and value vs high end, high quality and bespoke.
If I were to list all of the new product launches by major fenestration companies in the past few years, I’d bet a few quid that every single one of them was aimed at the higher end of the market. I can’t think of one that came to the market place to attract the types of home owners who only want to spend £500 on a door.
Yet, those lower end products do exist and continue to be produced. Home owners also continue to buy them. We can’t pretend that every home owner wants to spend the time and money on tailor made, hand crafted windows.
There appears to be less and less middle ground in the industry. It’s either high end, low end or very little choice otherwise. Once the industry starts to settle back down, I think that split between the two sides will be more profound than ever before.
Triple glazed as standard
Perhaps this is a bit of a long term trend, rather than one to appear in the next few. But, you have to admit, there does seem to be a bit more of a shift in interest towards triple glazing both from installers and home owners alike.
Speaking personally, the first three months of this year have seen a very noticeable rise in interest in triple glazing from home owners at our installations business. And with the price gap coming down to a much more reasonable level, we’re selling more of it too.
We use the Rustique 3 range of triple glazing, using the correct 44mm triple glazed unit, fabricated by John Fredericks. And more product ranges are being introduced incorporating a 44mm unit. This was of course proved to be the correct way to product triple glazing at the Triple Glazing Question conference a couple of years ago.
Does the UK climate warrant it? Probably not. Is it cost effective enough to justify the insulation and noise reduction properties? Possibly. Will the industry push it anyway? Definitely. This one will be a longer term trend.
Please add your own thoughts to this post via the comments section below.