Door call backs erode installer margin

Composite door call backs are among the key challenges facing installers, according to a new poll by Sliders UK.

The study, completed at the end of 2018, asked retailers what they saw as the biggest challenges facing their businesses going into 2019.

It found that retention of skilled labour (cited by 86% of respondents) and reliability of supply (81%) were listed as threats to their business in the coming year.

A further 67% said that they believed consumer confidence had been eroded by continuing confusion and the lack of clarity surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU.

This aside, those polled said that they believed increased sales of aluminium products would continue, with all of those responding saying that they supplied at least one aluminium bifolding door system.

A further 40% said that they had added an aluminium sliding door to their offer in the last year.

While composite door sales were seen universally as a growth area, 78% of respondents said that they had encountered issues in reliability of supply in the last year, with composite door bowing cited as a problem by the same figure.

Steve Mines, sales director at Sliders UK, said: “When we spoke to installers we found that everyone saw composite doors as a growth area but there was a real frustration with reliability of supply and bowing.

“We were told that this had been a particular problem with the higher temperatures seen last summer, which had generated a large number of call-backs on composite door installations.

“Going forward, while there remained a level of concern about the continuing impact of Brexit on consumer confidence, there was a general level of optimism about growing demand for aluminium products, with bifolding doors continuing to perform strongly in the last year.”

Sliders UK warned last month that call backs on bowed composite doors could cost installers £thousands each year.

Its own offer, the Ultimate Composite Door launched at the beginning of 2018, has been designed to address this problem.

Available in 23 classic and contemporary styles, including cottage doors, it uses ‘intelligent timber inserts’, which meet requirements under PAS24 cut-through testing without impacting on the core structural stability of the slab.

This means that the Ultimate Composite door has a maximum guaranteed bowing tolerance of just 3mm compared to the 8mm of some other composite systems.

Available in a choice of Eurocell or Duraflex framing options and a range of 36 premium finishes, with any RAL colour available through Sliders UK’s in house spray painting facility, the Ultimate Evolution also delivers U-values as low as 1.0W/m2K.

“The problems that the industry is now seeing can be traced back to the increased use of timber in composite door manufacture to get slabs through new PAS24 testing,” Steve said.

“The problem is that timber flexes and bows with changes in temperature and the slightest exposure to moisture.

“The Ultimate Composite door avoids this by using highly engineered LVL timber inserts in areas of the door vulnerable to cut through, without compromising on the thermal efficiency or stability of the slab.”