There are some supremely high quality companies doing great things in the UK fenestration market right now. The sector has never been as advanced or innovative as it is right now, so in this two-part post I want to take a look at ten companies that are really shaking things up and driving the market forward.
This list is in no particular order, and I am looking at companies across all sub-sectors without bias of favoritism.
Synseal – WarmCore
Hybrid windows and doors have had a stuttering introduction to the industry. Much was made of it’s possibilities and potential to change the industry, but a series of disappointing product announcements, quality issues and lack of genuine demand has meant up until now, the hybrid market has yet to take shape.
One company forging ahead, showing the way it should be done is Synseal with it’s WarmCore range of window and door products. Originally they launched around a couple of years ago with WarmCore doors. A range of bi-folds, French and single doors that incorporated a PVCu chambered core, in Orange, with aluminium clad front and back in a range of colour finishes.
It was the first time we saw a high quality hybrid and the response from the industry was overwhelmingly positive. So much so that we saw WarmCore windows launched at this year’s FIT Show to once again, positive response.
WarmCore has shown the way forward for hybrid fenestration products with it’s quality, thermal performance and aesthetics.
Solidor – composite doors
The composite door sector isn’t really new now is it. It’s been around long enough now, and has plenty of companies operating within the sector. Sitting at the top of my pile in my opinion is Solidor, for a number of reasons.
Build quality and security is one of them. They were the first on the market to produce a single rebated solid hardwood door slab. Most single and double rebated slabs were filled with foam and a slither of timber of some kind. Solidor introduced their solid hardwood slab and never looked back. It raised the standard for composite door quality at a time when perhaps the industry was veering towards the “value” end of the market.
Their now extremely extensive colour, glass, hardware and door style ranges ensures that home owners of all ilks will find a door to suit their tastes. Add to that their first class online cloud services, including their door builder and door ordering services, they offer a complete package that is very difficult to compete with.
Origin – Twin Flush
There has been a definite move towards flush in the window market in recent years, with the industry searching for new ways to keep it’s product offerings fresh, especially in the PVCu market.
But over in the aluminium corner, Origin last year released their Twin Flush window system and they described it as a game changer.
There have been plenty of externally flush window systems put out into the market, but not until this time had there been a system that was flush both externally and internally. And it looked good!
With an energy rating of A++21 and available on a one week lead time, Origin had not only moved the flush game further forward, but laid the gauntlet down to other manufacturers in terms of lead times. It’s unclear as to how the product has performed since it’s launch, but there is no doubting it has been well received by the industry.
Apeer – Lumi
For me, this has to be one of the most exciting product developments in the window industry for a very long time. Most certainly in the sex appeal department! This is Apeer’s Lumi window and door range.
The biggest selling point of this product is the glazing system it uses:
It uses a 50mm triple glazed unit where the outer pane overlaps the external face of the sash, hiding it from view, in a range of electric colours that truly do make these windows and doors stand out from all other fenestration products.
Visually, this is some genuine out of the box thinking. A demonstration that window and door products really can be made sexy if we want them to be. Kudos to Apeer for going in a totally different direction with Lumi and showing the directions we should be exploring for the future of the sector.
Prefix – Garden Room & Opus
Rounding off this first five companies are the biggest fabricators of Ultraframe’s high quality roofing systems, Prefix Systems.
However I have included them in this list not just because of their status above, but because of products like their Garden Room and newly announced Opus and Verandah products. Did you seem them at the FIT Show in April? They are miles ahead of much of the conservatory roof fabrication sector.
They could have chosen to stick with a solid roof product that already existed and sell that to their clients. But no. They decided to spend the time, money and resources to go out on their own a produce a high quality solid roof that not only challenged the existing crop of solid roofs, but again raised the bar for build quality. This is their Garden Room and it is one of the very best solid roofs available on the market right now.
You’d think that would be enough for them. But for anyone who knows Prefix or buys from them, you’ll know that Chris and Chris are never ones for sitting still. And we saw that at this year’s FIT Show the fruits of their labour once again with their incredibly high end Opus glazed extension range. An aluminium/timber hybrid that takes the best of ali, combines it with the smell and traditional aesthetics of timber, to produce perhaps one of the finest hybrid products on the market right now.
Finally, to top that off, they also announced their Verandah roof product. Imagine outdoor glazed canopy with large dollops of European style and finesse. It was that nice I have changed my mind about having a new glazed extension at the back of my house to having one of these to create an outdoor eating area under a classy cover!
This rounds off part one of my top ten companies in fenestration right now. These are just my thoughts and opinions and of course your feedback and comments on this post are more than welcome via the comments section below. Part two is yet to be written – who do you think deserves to be included in the next group? Part two to be published Tuesday evening.