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IN DEPTH: Doors And Windows

Lower energy costs and fewer government programs have pushed door and window aesthetics to the forefront of purchase decisions, and style choices are changing.
Lower energy costs and fewer government programs have pushed door and window aesthetics to the forefront of purchase decisions, and style choices are changing.

Doors and windows present a unique challenge for builders and remodelers, as the products need to fit the style of both interior and exterior spaces while performing functional duties. Although energy performance remains a key driver for purchase decisions, aesthetics are becoming a more significant factor—and style choices are changing.

“Windows are one of the few products designed for both interiors and exteriors, with many moving parts,” notes Dave Koester, brand manager for Weather Shield. “They also are usually installed by someone other than the purchaser. It creates a complicated process.”

Adds Mark Montgomery, vice president of marketing at Ply Gem Windows, “Customers continue to look at design, functionality and performance as the key drivers.” The problem is that some customers consider only interior or exterior aesthetics in their purchase. “We target the four S’s: Style, Shape, Size and Scale. We often see windows that don’t seem to fit with the exterior because they were designed to go with the home’s interior design. Now, folks are looking more at the exterior elevation and getting it right.”

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Ply-Gem-ADA-compliant-sill-optionPly Gem now offers an ADA-compliant sill option for its Mira Premium In-swing and Out-swing Patio Doors. Available in 1/4- and 1/2-inch rise options, the sill provides easier mobility and can be used in single-family, multifamily and light-commercial applications. The aluminum-clad wood doors also offer adjustable, high-performance hinges.

Aesthetics Are Key
Aesthetics have become more important in the purchase decision as the economy recovers and homeowners have more discretionary income to devote to projects. “From our research, we find that customers choosing glass for their doors used to have price as the most important point, with appearance second,” says Amanda Fowler, manager of channel marketing for ODL Inc. “Now, appearance is more important than price, which is nice to see.”

They’re also considering more styles than in the past. “Houses are mixing styles more often, so the door choice is more open to the customer’s own preference,” says Donna Contat, director of brand management at Therma-Tru. “They’re looking at the entire package of style, privacy and other features.”

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