From hero, to superhero

By Gareth Jones, managing director of Solar Fabrications Holdings.

Some manufacturers are fortunate enough to have a ‘hero’ product, one that stands the test of time, consistently delivers on quality and value and is the inspiration for any number of ‘wannabees’.  We like to think that the Solar Calibre Craftsman door is our hero.

A hero product has to be kept ‘fit’ by updating and upgrading which is what we’ve been doing over the last few months. The front door is on the front line when it comes to the elements and, as our climate becomes increasingly unforgiving, so must the door.

Recent improvements to the tried and tested Craftsman formula include improved performance in the stability of the door, when exposed to the everyday rigours of the British weather.

Craftsman is a precision engineered, top quality timber door available with a slab depth of 54mm and cross-banded for stability with a maximum bow of just 1mm per m2.

With LVL sub-facings covering the full area of the door, and finger-jointed stiles and rails, the engineered timber around the core greatly enhances the door’s stability. Its timber construction allows the manufacture of larger sized doors than standard GRP. This also allows for the production of narrower doors, often a requirement in local authority housing schemes, and cannot be achieved in GRP.

Craftsman is available in a choice of frames from PVC to timber clad aluminium and in a wide range of colours and finishes, which provides both contemporary and traditional styling, that can suit aluminium projects well. These doors are hard-wearing and water resistant and, with the emphasis on energy efficiency, homeowners can choose a thermal door with a polyurethane insulating foam core.

A glance along any residential street will demonstrate the consumer focus on aesthetics. Traditional style or something more contemporary? What colour and in what shade? Glass or no glass?

The Craftsman design team has curated an extensive choice of options – 30 styles and 24 colours – and each style is hand crafted, using routed grooves to give the impression of tongue and groove boards, the intricate designs setting them apart from the more standardised GRP products.

So, whether the property is period with a contemporary edge, a new build with a traditional feel, or anything in between, the same technical excellence and precision engineering still apply.

So, how does a hero evolve into a superhero? By addressing new needs and developments.

Last year we further enhanced Craftsman when we ‘soft launched’ our Portium door. Portium offers an even thicker slab, 68mm as standard, as opposed to 54mm, offering increased thermal efficiency and strength.

Then, with our supply partners, we introduced our Passivhaus door, with an increased slab thickness of 98mm, making it extraordinarily thermally robust. As both the Portium and the Passivhaus door are sourced within Europe, customers are assured a degree of comfort in light of the wider global supply chain issues that have been impacting on trade from the Far East.

With Part L legislation having tightened, and with the growing demand for high performing, energy efficient products, these doors have met with a very positive response although clearly we acknowledge they are not big volume sellers at this point.

That is where the ‘regular’ Craftsman range continues to hold court as our star performer. With Craftsman being such a high-end, specialist product it offers customers the opportunity to upsell from the standard range and increase their margins, especially when targeted to the right demographic.