As the standard window and door market has become increasingly saturated, manufacturers have responded by targeting niche sectors with a huge range of new products and options. GGP talks to Glazerite’s Jason Thompson about how homeowners’ quest for authentically-styled Heritage windows and doors has greatly expanded sales opportunities.
Just a few years back the term ‘Heritage’ was generally applied to the vertical sliding box sash windows, a market that was one of the earliest niche sectors to be developed. The replacement VS market is itself becoming over-served, driving the pursuit of new opportunities.
The development of the market for flush sash frames by Residence Collection has resulted in the creation of a further niche market based upon a period window style. However, not only is this type of window installed originally in far greater numbers than box sash styles, authentic replacements look at home in far more house styles. The Glazerite UK Group Ltd took the decision to embrace this dynamic market early on, putting them in a perfect position to meet the current and future demand.
The Group’s Flush Sash offering has evolved over the last few years to include the original R9, the Halo Flush Sash in 2017 and at the turn of the year the range was supplemented with R7, giving Glazerite installers a Flush Sash at every price point with a huge range of options. All of which offers, says Glazerite director Jason Thompson, greater incentive than ever for homeowners to install new windows and doors:
“New windows and doors have traditionally been an isolated project based upon the need to replace tired or failed glazing, or as part of an exterior renovation project,” explained Jason. “With the new colour and styling combinations that are available generally but those specifically associated with Heritage windows, homeowners are including new windows and doors as part of interior restyling schemes. This trend offers huge opportunities for marketing and, ultimately, sales. In other words, the traditional sales approach for selling replacement windows – including the key sales propositions of energy saving, security and low maintenance – should now also emphasise aesthetics – stylish frames that can be colour matched with other home decorations. The windows and doors in a home are now part of the interior design scheme, planned as part of the décor, even the furniture and carpets.”
The surge in interest in Heritage windows is also having a profound effect on the colour choices being made: well researched homeowners specify authentic period colours such as Sage Green and other hues such as creams. Owners of more modern homes however are colour-matching elements of their homes, using a far larger colour palette, which Jason says Glazerite caters for very well:
“The Halo FlushSash window alone offers 900 colour combinations. Homeowners are becoming increasingly astute and knowledgeable about colour – we have recorded a 45% increase in coloured frames in just three years. Grey – typically anthracite grey or similar – is now the new white, so much so that demand has spread to other sectors including commercial projects and social housing. I hope that this growing awareness amongst public sector landlords of just how good modern Heritage windows are, will break down the ‘zero tolerance of PVC-U’ barriers that have been prevalent in many conservation areas. The option of mechanical joints instead of welds also creates an authentic detail many consumers are looking for.”
However, where once everything was white, has such a dramatic shift in the market towards different styles of window frames and the thousands of colour combinations created problems for the larger fabricator?
“We are constantly investing in our facilities,” explains Jason, “and that has included gearing up to ensure the lowest lead times for the vast majority of frame and colour options. At Glazerite we never spray or paint any of our profiles because VEKA does not guarantee any painted profile due to the fundamental changes that painting the surface may have on the characteristics of the PVC-U profile, let alone any issues relating to the colour itself. As a business we have made the decision to only supply foiled as we know they have been fully tested and allow us to offer the comprehensive guarantee to our installers. We keep huge stock levels in almost every combination to ensure our lead times are competitive.
Does Jason believe that the demand for Heritage windows is a passing trend?
“I believe that Flush Sash windows open up some great opportunities for modern replacement windows and doors,” replies Jason. “At Glazerite and as an industry we have seen the rewards of product innovation and development and the mind-set of the industry has changed. Modern replacement Heritage-style windows are very good for us and have changed homeowners’ perceptions about what is possible simply through changing their windows and doors. That’s good for all of us.”
ISSUE: AUGUST 2018