In pursuit of perfection
Since replacement vertical sliders have come a long way since the first examples hit the market in the early ‘noughties’, Quickslide talks about the company’s pursuit of authenticity.
Although there are an estimated six million properties in the UK that sport vertical sliding windows, it was originally regarded as a niche market. Quickslide’s claim that when it entered the market with a good-looking VS in PVCU thousands of homeowners that suffered from ageing and failing wooden frames could afford replacements that at least maintained the appearance of the building, while providing superior weather resistance, thermal efficiency, and security of modern windows but at affordable prices.
Since then the number of fabricators producing VSs has grown. However, Quickslide has resisted the pressure to slash prices, and instead cost was taken out of the manufacturing process and profitability enhanced by focusing on efficiency and by adopting lean manufacturing processes perfected by the motor industry.
“When we first got involved with manufacturing VS windows we had very little competition but now the market is, if anything, over-served,” sales director Tom Swallow said. “When that happens it is crucial to find differentiation in order to avoid the mass, price-led bun fight at the bottom of the chain.
“We have always stuck to our commitment to quality because that is what the clear majority of our customers want, especially in a product that is fundamentally complex to manufacture and install.
“Our VS window is also continuously developed as most homeowners want the very best for their homes, especially if they live in an area of heritage properties. They tend to be very proud of their homes and are highly conscious of the need to maintain the authenticity of the area and they don’t want to stand out because their windows don’t conform, and especially if they look cheap. We recognised this early on and continually develop our window to ensure they appeal to the most ardent homeowner.”
Quickslide’ operations director Ben Weber said: “Because of the relationship we have with the systems company we are able to work with them to affect changes to the system we use.
“The real difference is in the detail however, which is where we really have researched and invested. The hardware is supplied to us by the world’s leading supplier of traditional timber box sash balance mechanisms, locks and fittings, the very best available; and our run through and plant-on horns are designed from period originals. We can also supply a mechanically jointed deep bottom rail, which really does set the frames off beautifully.
“We are the only VS manufacturer to have invested in the amazing Graf welder, that produces the most extraordinary seamless corner welds on woodgrain foiled profiles, as if the corners have been traditionally mitred and mechanically fixed. If further proof of our commitment was required, the machine cost more than £300,000. All in the name of reproducing the most authentic vertical box sash window in PVCU.”
What is the likely end game of all this? If such windows really are closely emulating original timber box sashes, offer superior performance but at a fraction of the cost of new timber frames, will they take over completely?
“No, never,” Tom said. “Many buildings are strictly protected and that is the way it should be. What vertical sliding windows and modern materials provide is an affordable option for many people that wish to maintain the authentic aesthetics of their home, but who want the latest weather performance, insulation and security. That’s more than enough for us and our customers to go after.”