Windows of Today

As more and more home-owners are choosing to remodel rather than build, competition for remodeling projects is getting tougher. The slowdown in new construction has sent many builders into the remodeling field to make up for lost revenue.

Remodelers need to have a few aces up their sleeves to remain competitive. Staying on top of the latest trends and knowing the range of options in the market is a good way to keep customers satisfied and discover some potential upgrades.

The hottest topic today is energy efficiency. Many consumers are choosing to modernize their existing homes through high-end remodeling jobs rather than building new ones. Two extremely popular remodeling projects include upgrading to larger windows and incorporating universal design into the structure. And window manufacturers have produced an incredible array of options in hardware and finishes to coordinate home decor with the variety of windows they’re offering.

Energy Efficiency: Fuel for Thought

According to the U.S Department of Energy, Americans will spend an average of $977 to heat their homes this winter — nearly 10 percent higher than last year. As fuel prices continue to rise, homeowners are paying close attention to ways to reduce their heating bills.

“Energy efficiency is clearly at the top of the list,” says Jeff Kibler, brand manager for Peachtree Doors & Windows.

“Homeowners today are considering energy-efficient products not only to save money on utility bills but also because they want to minimize their impact on the environment and the depletion of nonrenewable energy sources. This is driving their decision to replace outdated windows.”

Peachtree’s new 700 Series is an extruded aluminum-clad replacement window with three sill angles and exterior accessories that eliminate the issue of gaps between the new window and the existing frame. Zo-e-shield 5 with the company’s Real Warm Edge Spacer Systems comes on all 700 Series Replacement Windows for energy efficiency and superior U-values. The 700 Series windows are available in double-hung, casement, awning, single slider and picture styles. Interior wood species on the windows include pine, oak, maple, alder, cherry, mahogany or Douglas fir.

“Energy efficiency will continue to be a top priority for homeowners, especially with reports of heating costs climbing and an increasing demand for environmentally friendly products,” says Brian Hedlund, Jeld-Wen product marketing manager for vinyl windows. “Energy-efficiency issues are also increasingly important in warm weather climates, with air-conditioning costs and use on the rise. According to proprietary research from Jeld-Wen, 24 percent of homeowners hate their existing windows because they are leaky and drafty. That’s a big opportunity for the remodeling market.”

Jeld-Wen’s Premium Wood Double-Hung Pocket Windows are replacement windows designed for installation into existing window frames. Regardless of the brand of the original window, the impact to the exterior of the home is minimal even on brick or stucco. The windows come standard with Low-E glass to decrease energy costs and help homes stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Custom Shield aluminum-clad replacement windows by Weather Shield feature a 3 1/4-in. jamb and fit inside the “pocket” of an existing frame system, eliminating the need to prepare the wall surrounding the window or replace interior or exterior trim. Optional exterior trim accessories, including blind stop covers and retro-z trim, help installers cover gaps that may result between the new window and the existing frame. Zo-e-shield 5 with Real Warm Edge Spacers is standard on Custom Shield products. The product line includes double-hung tilts, casements, and single- and three-panel sliding windows; French sliding and hinged patio doors; and standard sliding patio doors

On the High End

In 2006, homeowners spent approximately $168 billion on home improvements and repairs, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. High-end product installation is a key element of this expenditure.

Homeowners want to increase the value of their homes and bigger, high-end windows are a dramatic way of adding new grandeur to a previously modest home.

“Although the new home market is sagging, luxury building and remodeling continues its steady climb toward the highest spending ever,” explained Jeld-wen’s Hedlund. “High-end remodeling activity has reached record highs in the past five years because there is no shortage of homeowners willing to pay for the best.”

For this burgeoning market, Jeld-Wen offers options such as matching wood species and custom wood windows with integrated Phantom Screens technology, catering to homeowners who want the latest features and most luxurious looks for their homes.

“I see the hottest trend for 2008 as net size window replacement,” says Jim Sheehan, sales manager for Milgard Windows and Doors’ WoodClad Division. “This is due to the fact that new home construction is declining and homeowners are choosing to upgrade their current homes. They can put in new energy-efficient windows and doors into their existing home and save on their heating and cooling costs.”

Milgard has added new options to its Ultra and WoodClad lines of fiberglass windows, expanding its offering of windows for the upscale remodeling market. The windows feature Milgard fiberglass frame and sash design with standard SunCoat low-e glass for energy efficiency. The new offerings include a ¾-in. grid option available in the Vintage style grid on both the Ultra and WoodClad lines. The new windows offer the traditional ventilation of the double-hung design with the added benefit of top and bottom tilt-in sashes for easy cleaning.

PGT’s Eterna is a simulated wood grain finish for the visual beauty and warmth of wood in durable, low-maintenance aluminum frames. Initially, PGT is offering Eterna Finish exclusively on select WinGuard Impact-Resistant Windows and Doors. Eterna’s simulated finish is available in five popular wood grains: acacia, cherry, light oak, dark oak, and dark walnut.
Windsor recently introduced vertical-grain Douglas fir as an option on windows and doors. The Douglas fir’s coloring ranges from bright white to a light rosy color, which is accented with the vertical grain pattern. Windsor promises that all fir windows and patio doors contain at least six vertical growth rings per inch, rather than a mixed pattern that has rings going in many directions. Windsor’s fir windows are made only from solid wood with no veneer.

Hy-Lite Products has expanded its line of decorative glass windows to include a selection of highly private windows called the Private Elegance Collection. For the ultimate privacy in bath, spa and bedroom settings, the collection promises “above the top” seclusion with high-opacity glass that provides a privacy rating of 9 on a 1-to-10 rating scale.

Universal Modifications

Since baby boomers make up 26 percent of the U.S. population, the importance of universal design is growing stronger as they experience the physical limitations caused by aging.

“Universal design is a major new trend as the baby-boomer population grows older,” says Jeld-Wen’s Brian Hedlund.

“Homeowners are choosing low-maintenance, easy-to-operate windows that they don’t have to worry about as they age.”

For this segment of society, Jeld-Wen created MAG-Lock — a one-touch automatic lock that comes standard on the company’s Premium Vinyl slider and single-hung windows. MAG-Lock includes intuitive and easy-to-use design, safe and secure performance, and a stylish low-profile design. MAG-Lock is a fully concealed mechanism that is streamlined into the window profile. Jeld-Wen tests show there is no way to disengage the lock using other magnets, and it won’t interfere with pacemakers or computer equipment.

“And ease of maintenance continues to grow in popularity,” adds Kathy Krafka Harkema of Pella Windows & Doors.

“Consumers want quality products that are beautiful and easy to care for over the life of the product. Pella provides convenient solutions for consumers and, in doing so, provides opportunities for remodelers to build their business and their profit potential,” she said.

Optimal Options

One size, or color, does not fit all. And there’s an incredible selection of hardware and finishes to meet nearly anyone’s style whether they’re looking to match or contrast.

“Coordinating window and door hardware with other fixtures and furnishings in the home is another hot trend,” says Krafka Harkema. “For example, satin-nickel or oil-rubbed bronze hardware on windows and doors can coordinate with light fixtures, faucets and other features in a home.”

Pella introduced a new collection of colors on the ProLine Series of wood windows. In addition to white, tan, or brown, new exterior colors for this year include Hartford Green, Brick Red, Black, Putty, and Poplar White. ProLine also features simulated-divided-light permanent grilles on all window styles.

With the rollout of its new line of vinyl windows, PGT Series 2100 offers the profile of wood with the durability of vinyl. Options include contoured grid patterns, simulated divided lite, glass tints and trim finishes.

Simonton Windows offers a new driftwood color for its vinyl windows and sliding patio doors in the company’s replacement product lines. The new color complements the existing options of white and tan.

Marvin’s Integrity Windows and Doors offer new features on their Wood-Ultrex casement and awning windows. The windows now include a Multipoint Sequential Lock and Heavy Duty Sash Keeper, promising enhanced performance and structural robustness. The sash keeper helps the sash withstand various stressors and prevents the sash from bowing and flexing in challenging conditions. The windows also feature Dual-arm Operating Roto Gear and are available in five new casement sizes. Wood-Ultrex is a strong nonwood material with low maintenance.

Kolbe and Kolbe Millwork Co.’s Ultra Pocket double-hung, all-in-one replacement window can be installed from either the interior or exterior. The window’s 3 1/4-in. pocket jamb depth fits most standard applications. The exterior frame and sash are made of extruded aluminum and coated with a 70 percent fluoropolymer finish in a broad palette of colors. Interiors may be requested with pre-finishing and specified in a variety of wood species. Both upper and lower sash can be tilted in for easy cleaning and removal, and come standard with H°K LoE²-270 insulating glass.

Clearly, the remodeling market is booming. With an enormous number of windows addressing energy efficiency, high-end improvements, aging homeowners, and design and style trends, the potential for the replacement window market is wide open.

Use the reader service card for more information on the following suppliers:

  • Hy-Lite Products Inc. For more info, please indicate #17 in eInquiry form.
  • Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors For more info, please indicate #18 in eInquiry form.
  • Kolbe and Kolbe Millwork Co. For more info, please indicate #19 in eInquiry form.
  • Marvin Windows and Doors For more info, please indicate #20 in eInquiry form.
  • Milgard Windows & Doors For more info, please indicate #21 in eInquiry form.
  • Peachtree Doors & Windows For more info, please indicate #22 in eInquiry form.
  • Pella Windows & Doors For more info, please indicate #23 in eInquiry form.
  • PGT Industries For more info, please indicate #24 in eInquiry form.
  • Simonton Windows For more info, please indicate #133 in eInquiry form.
  • Weather Shield Windows & Doors For more info, please indicate #26 in eInquiry form.
  • Windsor Windows & Doors For more info, please indicate #27 in eInquiry form.