Redefining PVCU patio doors

Ian Cocken, director of Sales and Marketing at Aluplast, explains why the new Smart-Slide PVCU patio door offers a high margin opportunity to win sales and build cash reserves quickly post Covid-19.

While there is still a way to go before the industry fully recovers from lockdown, the early signs are that it has got off to a good start; the demand is there, the greater challenge is cashflow.

Manufacturers, for instance, are already reporting pre-Covid levels of output, fuelled by a backlog of existing orders, and consistent demand from the commercial sector. They have also been bolstered by an uplift from retail customers, including those who are redirecting funds originally put aside for a foreign holiday into home improvements and additional living space.

All of which present excellent opportunities for installers, especially those that are equipped with high margin products. Recent Google searches for conservatories and patio doors, for instance, are at an all-time high.

While this is encouraging, the reality is that businesses have been closed for an extended period of time and so products that offer high margin at point of retail represent the best way for them to replenish depleted cash reserves as quickly and efficiently as possible.

With this in mind, the launch of Aluplast’s new Smart-Slide PVCU patio sliding door is timely. Capable of spanning widths of up to 4.5m with a sliding sash and fixed panel – exceeding the technical capability of any other PVCU patio door on the market – the 70mm system is available in an extensive range of finishes.

These include Woodec, the next generation woodgrain foil, and aluskin, Aluplast’s aluminium external cladding system, as well as a choice of grey substrates.

Fully tested to PAS24, it also boasts an innovative operating system with soft close technology, enhanced weather sealing and security, plus the ability to lock a sash in position while it is still open – allowing for ventilation while still providing peace of mind that it remains secure.

Considering its specification, price point, options and current levels of interest among consumers, Smart-Slide represents a fantastic opportunity for installers post-Covid-19. At the very least, you can upsell against other PVCU patio door systems, whether that’s on hardware features, or finishes, or the fact it can deliver such a large glazed area.

This manoeuvres Smart-Slide into a position where it can compete directly with aluminium systems as well, albeit with a product that is priced more competitively and one that offers far superior energy efficiency.

Given the quality of offer and the range of finishes, especially the look and feel of Woodec, and aluskin, aside from marginally thinner sightlines you’re getting a comparable product, which delivers the same design flexibility at a significantly reduced cost.

Its hardware system plays a key role in Smart-Slide’s ability to redefine the reach of PVCU patios. On the one hand, it can accommodate individual sash weights of up to 200kg, but on the other, by eliminating the requirement for brush seals, Smart-Slide can be opened and closed with very little effort, resulting in an ‘ultra-smooth’ operation.

In addition, the connection between the locking mechanism and the weather seals when the door is closed is designed to guarantee a weathertight seal. This includes testing to BS6375 and a DER of up to A+ dependant on glass specification.

For installers and fabricators, the advantages of Smart-Slide are also substantial. It’s easy to manufacturer, simple to fit and you can either upsell against competitor PVCU systems or convince them that they don’t need to spend as much on aluminium.

With holidays cancelled and the furlough scheme still in place, homeowners may have a little more to spend, but price point remains important.