Making an entrance
The opportunity to capitalise on homeowner demand for high margin aluminium entrance doors has never been greater, Deceuninck Aluminium’s Nigel Headford tells Glass Times.
“The conditions created by lockdown, the home improvement boom, and the record-breaking property market have all combined to turbo boost the demand for high value residential entrance doors,” Nigel Headford, Deceuninck Aluminium, said.
“Up until now, this sector has been led by homeowners upgrading their old PVC panel front doors for composites, but there are signs now that the trend is shifting: we’re seeing a notable increase in demand for aluminium, and not just on higher end installations.
“That’s due to market saturation: composites no longer have the exclusive kerb appeal they used to enjoy. But it’s also rooted in ongoing supply chain issues and well-established problems with performance – specifically bowing.”
Forming part of a complete aluminium system offer that includes the Decalu88 bifold, Decalu163 lift-and-slide patio, and a range of contemporary casements, the Decalu88 Entrance Door is suited to a wide variety of applications.
Available in a range of flush and glazed-in door slabs, and with the same marine grade finish and dual colour as standard as its stablemates, a key USP of the Decalu Entrance Door is its ability to resist warping and bowing when exposed to high temperatures, Nigel said.
Designed with the same pre-rolled high-performance polyamide thermal-breaking system that is a hallmark of the Decalu range, the Entrance Door also features ABS inserts that can adapt to temperature change.
This means that the internal and external faces of the door can expand and contract independently, which limits bowing to a maximum of 2.5mm when subjected to extreme heat. Conversely, in very cold temperatures – as low as -30ºC – deflection is limited to no more than 3.5mm.
“Anyone who has fitted a composite door will tell you that there is always a risk of bowing, no matter how much adjustment you make,” Nigel said. “That risk is greater when you’re working on a south-facing installation, and even more so if the door has been specified with a dark coloured foil.
“People have been complaining about the lack of sunshine this summer, at least in the south of the country, but it’s not unusual now for the mercury to be well into the 30s. That’s more than enough to cause problems with bowing.
“The Decalu88 is tested to 80ºC. That’s currently way more than you’re ever likely to see in the UK, but even at this temperature, the movement is minimal. The impact on performance will be zero, you can simply fit and forget.”
While the Decalu88 Entrance Door’s core strength effectively eliminates issues of bowing and costly remedial work, it also helps to lay the foundation for outstanding weather performance and thermal efficiency, even when specified at large sizes, Nigel said.
Capable of handling sash weights of up to 150kg, and with contemporary flush sash options across 21 styles as well as 30 insert panel options, U-values remain as low as 1.1W/m2k.
It can also be optioned with a selection of hinge types, including flag, roller and hidden, which means it can be tailored to suit a broad range of applications and budgets.
“The latest report from AMA Research predicted a V-shaped recovery for the residential door market,” Nigel said. “It predicted growth of 15% by the year end of 2021 and a return to pre-Covid levels by 2022.
“If Covid has taught us anything though, it’s that the future is hard to predict – there’s a good chance those figures will prove to be pessimistic. The housing sector continues to defy expectations, with average prices increasing again over August, and it’s clearly going to be some time yet before we get back to normal with foreign holidays.
“That translates to a continuing surplus of cash for home improvement, one that could sustain high levels of activity in the retail sector well into 2022, including continuing demand for one-off purchases such as bifolds and entrance doors.
“For installers, the only question is how best to equip yourself for that demand. Do you continue to hold out with your problematic composite door offer, an increasingly commodity solution at a time when homeowners are actively looking to splash out on something special, or do you take advantage of a premium product that delivers higher margins, without the hassle?”