In our precarious economy, homeowners are still willing to spend big money on a remodel job, but they demand a much bigger bang for those bucks. Preserving the structure, saving on energy bills and protecting the environment have become the triumvirate of homeowner priorities. And manufacturers are responding to these customers with doors that meet homeowner demands and appeal both visually and economically.
“I believe that consumers recognize the value of a product in terms of the expense versus performance,” says Lance Premeau, product manager for Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co. “Most consumers are willing to pay more for a product that performs well and meets their specific needs.”
“Remodelers are very focused on value-added solution upgrades,” says Derek Fielding, Therma-Tru Doors product manager. “In other words, they want to know what benefits fiberglass offers over wood or steel doors — benefits like minimal maintenance, durability and the look of real wood without concern that it will rot, split or crack.”
Therma-Tru’s Fiber-Classic line of fiberglass entry doors is now available in mahogany grain. The company’s Craftsman style door emulates Craftsman architecture with its straightforward lines. The doors are available with decorative glass, including Therma-Tru’s Brookside decorative glass — an Arts and Crafts design with an arc of sea green antique glass between seeded and double water glass.
“With the economic downturn, people are looking for even more value and service in the products they purchase,” says Carole Reams, PGT product manager. “Providing quality products with great service is more important now than ever before.”
“Contrary to what one might think, sales of lower-priced products have not increased significantly in this market because the lower end of the market has been the hardest hit by the economy,” Jeff Kibler, brand manager for Peachtree Doors and Windows. “The higher end of the market is still doing OK, and those homeowners do not tend to compromise for price.”
Nesting in the nest egg
The economic stimulus package is expected to revive the sagging economy, and manufacturers are counting on homeowners and businesses to take advantage of the stimulus benefits.
“We see the biggest opportunities yet to come since the signing of the economic stimulus bill,” says Kibler. “We’re hopeful that the increased tax credits — up to $1,500 — will encourage homeowners to replace their entry doors, since the tax credit could cover the cost of a new door in many cases. Those who act will likely be the people who can finance the improvement themselves since home equity has declined dramatically and financing is more difficult to obtain. We also think the stimulus bill will help spark additional light commercial work.”
Peachtree has expanded its entry door line to include the Mahogany Collection, the Rustic Collection with alder-textured plank panels, the Craftsman Collection with vertical fir-grain panels, and the Oak Collection to appeal to a variety of tastes and architectural styles. “New styles like these will help textured fiberglass doors increase market share and provide an architecturally correct entry door for diverse architectural styles,” says Kibler. “Similarly, expanded panel designs and design options on entry doors will provide greater customization of fiberglass and steel doors.”
“The best opportunities we’ve discovered are in home remodeling,” says Jim Sheehan, Milgard Fiberglass WoodClad sales manager. “A lot of homeowners have decided to stay in their current homes and upgrade them. We are seeing an increased interest in fiberglass products for remodeling applications.”
Milgard’s fiberglass in-swing patio door is applicable for both new and replacement construction projects. The door’s exterior cladding is available in eight colors — white, tan, sand, brownstone, hunter green, cranberry, matte black and silver pearl. Features also include PureView sliding screens and single motion multi-point locking hardware. Plus, the unit is backed by Milgard’s full lifetime warranty, which includes glass breakage coverage.