Door Manufacturers Expand and Improve Offerings

As energy-efficiency, storm resistance and low-maintenance preferences remain hot topics, manufacturers have developed products that address these concerns and offer aesthetic appeal at the same time. New fiberglass styles, exotic wood species and dramatic patio door systems are available in abundance for grand entryways that combine curb appeal and limitless interior design flexibility with strength and security.

Entry doors

Faced with more stringent building codes, fiberglass door manufacturers have beefed up their product lines to endure hurricane-force winds and nearly any other climate extreme. “Today, fiberglass occupies about 20 percent of the U.S. entry door market and is projected to be about 30 percent by 2010,” said Jerry Oleshansky, vice president and general manager, home center and pro-dealer business for Therma-Tru Doors. “We are seeing the growing demand for building products that are designed for energy efficiency and durability to withstand a variety of extreme weather conditions year after year.”

In response to this demand, Therma-Tru recently introduced the Tru-Defense line of entry and patio doors, components and certified systems, designed to protect homes from severe weather including flying debris from high winds, torrential rains and harsh winter storms. Tru-Defense products are backed by full-system warranties, and are engineered and designed to work together in order to provide superior protection against air and water infiltration and structural wind loads.

Today’s fiberglass doors closely emulate the look of real wood and are available with a variety of options for customizability — from panel finishes and textures to decorative hardware and glass. According to Jeff Kibler, brand manager for Peachtree Doors & Windows, “Manufacturers will also continue adding new textures for textured fiberglass panels to replicate species such as mahogany, oak or fir. By changing the texture, decorative glass and complementary windows, remodelers can create an entry for a particular architectural style or regional influence.”

Peachtree’s fiberglass entry doors include Newport textured fiberglass in smooth or Duo-Choice fiberglass panels. The Duo-Choice entry is available in a choice of a wood-grain textured skin on one side of the door and a smooth skin on the other. Newport panels can be prefinished at the factory with an even, durable baked-on enamel finish in one of six colors.

imulated divided lite (SDL) grille bars also can be painted to match the door panel. Peachtree textured entry door panels can be factory stained in dark mahogany, red mahogany, dark walnut, provincial, early American and golden oak.

“Customers want to be able to differentiate their homes and express their personal style and individuality, added Patti Hendrix, entry door systems champion for Milgard Windows & Doors. “This is especially true of people living in tract developments where houses have the same door. Replacing the entry door has been shown to enhance the curb appeal and perceived value of a home.”

Milgard recently introduced its first fiberglass entry door product, available in more than 40 door styles and 500 variations, including 12 unique glass designs promising curb appeal and energy efficiency. The company’s three fiberglass entry door options include unfinished or prefinished woodgrain, unfinished white smooth, and unfinished white flushglaze.

For dramatic entries in real wood, Masonite has added the Cavalier Collection to its Royal Mahogany line. This new series is ideal for rustic or southwestern style homes and is available in a variety of designs and sizes, meeting the requirements of most applications. The Cavalier Collection doors feature engineered stiles and rails, raised molding and floating panels as well as optional black iron clavos, “speakeasy” doors and speakeasy grilles.

Pella Corporation’s exclusive Express Install system is a quick and easy installation system available on all of the company’s Fullview storm doors. Pella’s Express Install comes with the pre-assembled parts; no cutting is required and pre-drilled installation and assembly holes eliminate any guesswork. Storm doors with Express Install also feature a keyed multipoint lock that secures the door in two places and a “Touch ‘n Hold” closer.

Interior doors

No longer a mere commodity, interior doors are available to accent design themes and architectural elements. Real wood interior doors are offered in an impressive range of species to match or contrast moulding, cabinets and flooring. And manufacturers have responded to the need for tall doors to complement the current high ceiling trend.

“Exotic wood species are becoming more and more popular,” said Brad Loveless, marketing manager for Simpson Door Company. “Douglas fir and hemlock are the most popular but we’re seeing more of the hardwoods take center stage, like mahogany, knotty alder, maple and cherry.”

Simpson has added an interesting new laundry room door to its collection of interior decorative doors. The new door features an ornamental clear glass design with the word ‘Laundry’ above a vintage washtub and washboard on a frosted glass background. The doors are available in Douglas fir, western hemlock, American red oak, maple and cherry, and can be ordered in virtually any wood species from Simpson’s Custom Door Manufacturing Facility.

With growing demand for tall doors to match high ceilings in today’s homes, CMI introduced two 8-foot interior doors. The CraftMaster Corvado two-panel, square-top plank interior door is available in 6-ft. 8-in., 7-ft. and 8-ft. heights and in passage widths from 1 ft. 6 in. to 3 ft. The Cellini Series combines a three-dimensional molding that can be combined with select CraftMaster raised-panel, 8 ft. tall designs and affixed to the door face by the distributor or door hanger. CraftMaster Corvado and Cellini doors are made from molded, high-density fiberboard to resist shrinking, cracking and joint separation.

Patio doors

As the American lot size grows progressively smaller, the need to bring the outdoors into the living area grows increasingly larger. “The desire to let as much of the outside in is helping to drive the market for doors that have taller and wider openings,” said Dave Olmstead, senior public affairs and code compliance specialist for PGT Industries. “Meanwhile, codes are requiring increased energy-efficiency and higher water-infiltration requirements.”

PGT’s WinGuard impact-resistant vinyl frame French door combine heavy-duty frames with impact-resistant laminated glass. A special silicone glazing process helps keep the glass from breaking away from the frame. Design details for the Vinyl WinGuard Series FD 550 include 1-in. laminated insulating glass, fully weatherstripped frame and integral nail-fin frame with 1-in. setback. Both are shipped fully assembled and include a corrosion resistant multi-point mortise lock system complete with hardware.

According to Craig Blomker, home improvement marketing manager for Andersen Windows, “‘Retro styling’ — designs with lots of glass — is popular. This style uses patio doors to create dramatic expanses of light in the home.”

Andersen has expanded its 200 Series window and patio door line with the addition of a new hinged inswing patio door. The new door features traditional French styling, glass fiber construction, energy efficiency and a low-maintenance design and is designed as a complete system that includes the door panels, frame, hardware and lock mechanism. The new patio doors are available in multiple widths in 6-ft. 8-in. and 6-ft. 11-in. heights. Other design details include Andersen High-Performance Low-E or Low-E Sun tempered glass for increased energy efficiency, adjustable hinges and full-perimeter weatherstripping, and a “rain drain” sill.

Jeld-Wen sees the importance of “helping remodelers realize the number of options now available that can not only coordinate, but enhance interior designs,” said Shane Meisel, product marketing manager for Jeld-Wen doors. “Doors take up a great deal of space, and remodelers can take advantage of some of the latest door styles and options to add an extra special element to any remodeling project.”

Jeld-Wen’s Exterior Folding Door System is available as a true 90-degree corner that can be completely opened to the outdoors. The folding door units meet at the corner, where two walls would ordinarily join and the doors fold back accordion-style from the corner inward. Beveled door edges and double weatherstrips ensure that the units are sealed against the elements — even without a structural corner post.

According to Lance Premeau, product manager for Kolbe Windows & Doors, “We help the remodeler by offering value-added options that benefit both the remodeler and the end- consumer. Options such as a factory-applied finish for the interior, exterior or the entire product can offer an advantage in the quality of the product and also the time spent on the job to finish the door.”

For a panoramic view or a unique room divide, Kolbe offers lift & slide and folding doors. Lift & slide door panels can either nest behind one another or recess into a pocket opening to disappear completely from view. Folding door panels fold back against each other to create a clear opening. Both door styles are available with heavy-duty extruded aluminum on the exterior with either wood or extruded aluminum on the interior. Available wood species include pine, oak, mahogany, fir, alder, walnut, maple and cherry.

The Legacy Series Bi-fold Patio Door by Weather Shield Windows & Doors is available in standard widths up to eight panels wide for openings as large as 23 ft. The Bi-fold Patio Door’s 3-ft. standard door panels are 2-1/4-in. thick with Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL). The door is available in standard configurations from two panels up to eight panels to accommodate a range of openings. Custom sizes are available for order. The accordion-style door stacks one panel on top of the next as it slides across the overhead track.

Atrium recognizes the importance of “making sure remodelers have the right options and the right price points so they have to have the right mix and the ability to sell up,” said Chris Reilly, director of marketing communications and replacement programs for Atrium Companies, Inc. SafeHarbor patio doors feature 7/16-in. tempered, laminated glass and are available in comprehensive vinyl and aluminum lines for replacement and new construction applications.

Silver Line’s Series 5800 Patio Door is a sliding door that features fusion-welded, steel reinforced vinyl construction boasting an optional DP-50 structural rating. For enhanced energy-efficiency, the door has 7/8-in. insulated glass and dual weatherstripping. The Series 5800 is available in a selection of several sizes and numerous design options for personalization.

Screening systems

If the homeowner wants to enjoy the outside without insects coming in, an important accessory to any patio door is the screen. Marvin Windows and Doors created the Ultimate Swinging Screen featuring no visible fasteners and panels with traditional shadow lines. The new screen includes an easy-to-install Storm Insert Option — comprised of aluminum-surrounded glass panel, and is designed to match Marvin’s Rectangular and Arch Top Wood and Clad Inswing French Doors. Additional features include hinges that match the clad screen color, solid corner construction and 70 percent Kynar 500 paint.

“NanaWall is popular in remodeling projects where the homeowner wants to make the room size feel larger and also bring in more natural light,” said Ebrahim Nana, president of NanaWall Systems, Inc. “We have seen the emergence of the outdoor living room and indoor/outdoor kitchens, bedrooms (sleeping porch) and bathrooms (grotto bathroom).”

Nana Wall Systems has introduced a premier European-designed operable screen system to the U.S. market. The NanaScreen system is licensed by Nana Wall Systems and has been customized to complement the large, movable NanaWall opening glass wall system. The NanaScreen is a series of collapsible, pleated, screen panels that connect to protect the full width of the NanaWall. The NanaWall and NanaScreen combine to provide the benefits of views and breezes without the drawbacks of insects.

To ease the worry and workload of builders and remodelers, most door manufacturers’ Web sites provide all the resources necessary to select, install and properly utilize their products. Atrium’s Chris Reilly advises, “Replacement and remolding contractors have to know how to make a margin so they have to partner with the manufacturer who is going to help them thrive and survive.