When is a hybrid window and door not a hybrid window and door? Well that depends. It’s not as simple a question as you perhaps might think. And it most definitely depends on your own opinion. So, this post is my own point of view on what makes a hybrid a hybrid. Feel free to comment on this one!
This is how the term “hybrid” is defined online:
A thing made by combining two different elements
Now if we take that definition literally, then everything in the window and door world could be classed as a hybrid. So lets narrow it down to what fabricators of hybrid products may determine the definition to be: a window or door product that is made using two existing mainstream materials i.e. PVCu/timber/aluminium.
That how I view a fabricator’s definition of a hybrid product to be. So for the basis of this post, lets go with that for now.
WarmCore and Opus
Two examples of what might be classed as hybrid products would be Sysnseal’s WarmCore range of windows and doors and Prefix Systems’ Opus range of windows, doors, bi-folds and glazed extension roof systems.
WarmCore is made using an orange PVCu multi-chambered profile, with an aluminium cladding to the front and rear of the PVCu profile:
It’s been around for a year or two now, launching with doors products, then this year bringing to market a window product. It has been generally well received, with a good number of high quality fabricators taking the product on.
Opus is a brand new, very high-end range of luxury windows and doors which are aluminium externally, then clad with a rich timber internally that is available in three stain finishes or plain timber. It was revealed at this year’s FIT Show and I was highly impressed with it. It sounds odd, but it was the smell that I remember the most. The fresh, powerful smell of timber that will probably serve as one of it’s most powerful USPs:
These are two products that are made with two long established fenestration materials, no one can dispute that. But opinion starts to split as to what to call these products. Are they hybrids? Are the composites? Are they aluminium in fact?
A matter of marketing
Perhaps the more natural route to go down is to call these products composite windows and doors. People are often familiar with the term “composite” meaning a product that is made from more than one material. But the term has already be popularized by the composite door market for many years now, so the idea of trying to force it to become synonymous with window and glazed roof products might not seem all that appealing.
It’s a bit of a stretch to me to call these the products above as aluminium. There are aluminium elements yes, but they’re not exclusively aluminium, not by a long way.
For me, the logical route is to then call these hybrid windows and doors. They’re still windows and doors, but for the first time made using significant amounts of two different but already established fenestration materials. Think of it like a hybrid car. It’s still a car, but it runs on both an electric and fossil fueled engines.
In the end though, what these new breed of products will end up being called will depend on the marketing departments of the companies that make them. They will determine what image they want their products to be known by. The term “hybrid” does have a cooler, edgier feel to it, so I feel companies will start to use the term increasingly in the future.
The word composite is too heavily associated with doors right now to have any significant impact with the industry or home owners. And to call these products by a single material name isn’t doing them any justice.
As I said at the beginning, these are my thoughts, and I know from conversations on Twitter the past 24 hours that there are very differing opinions on the matter. So please feel free to comment below and see if we can reach a natural conclusion to this debate!
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