Opening up new possibilities

An Englishman’s home is his castle, and over the centuries homeowners have taken pride in the appearance of their homes; windows and the look of a front door sets the tone for the rest of your home so it’s important it makes a great first impression. Gareth Jones, marketing and technical director at Rehau, looks at how doors have evolved from being just an add-on to be a focus point that drives home improvement decisions.

Historically, homeowners mainly focused on replacement windows when improving the exterior of their homes, with doors often just an afterthought to the entire process. Today, however, the tables have turned, and – given the number of times you walk in and out of your home – most homeowners concentrate more on selecting good quality doors that are both secure and long lasting.

More importantly, customers prefer to install doors that are aesthetically pleasing with the very latest technological enhancements that help enhance and protect their homes for years to come.

Consequently, in recent years manufacturers have been focusing on innovation around doors solutions. For years traditional PVCU doors were perceived as the market leader due to their affordability and practicality. But changing preferences has made a composite door a far more superior choice, and it is now the most popular product on the market.

No doubt, the composite door has significant advantages that far outweigh the previously popular PVCU door and better captures the imagination of homeowners – they are more secure, modern and visually appealing, and the composite door also offers a vast range of colour options.

Changing preferences in architecture has also altered the type of doors preferred today. Customers are consistently looking for interiors that highlight modernity in tradition – think grand designs, wide open spaces, sun rooms and extensions, all of which are part and parcel of the modern customer’s demands.

This preference has opened the market up to multi-fold doors, fold and swing doors (eg, Invisifold doors), lift and slide doors, and the more popular traditional sliding patio doors. In an opposite approach to businesses like Rehau, aluminium manufacturers have regained a share of the domestic door and window market, by producing first doors, followed by windows.

These changing dynamics mean there is a higher demand for installers and fabricators to consider the door as a key purchasing decision and driving factor. As the demand for composite doors rises and the purchase price becomes more competitive, installers and fabricators have a new business opportunity open to them, allowing them to increase their margins and revenue by offering this product.

In 2016, Rehau launched a new range of profiles for composite door frames at the FIT Show to highlight the versatility of its systems, in particular Total70.

Rehau’s Agila range offers a grand portfolio of products perfect for modern living, combining superior design and engineering to bring greater choice to the consumer and a creating a sense of openness within the home. Versatile and good looking, the Agila Sliding Door for example, offers slimmer sightlines, thereby adding light and freedom and opening a home into the outdoor space.

At Rehau we also recognised that the cost of our doors has enabled our customers to have what they are asking for at an affordable price. By offering a range of products, the consumer has a wider choice and installers or fabricators can dip into the range to suit all buildings and projects while still offering the on-trend slim sightlines.

All in all, the change we have seen in the market has opened up a host of possibilities, both for homeowners to enjoy lighter and larger feeling living spaces, but also for those of us in the industry to witness an evolving market and much innovation, which can only be set to continue.