Hardware Spotlight

Locking in Some 2013 Predictions

Everyone has their projections of what they may foresee for the door and window market in 2013, and maybe they even have some ideas on what will happen in specific segments. If you are a door or window manufacturer or dealer and want to know what’s coming in hardware, DWM makes it easy. On the following pages you will find forecasts from two industry leaders regarding their predictions.

We also gathered some of the latest products, and asked the industry its input regarding hardware on our Second Annual Industry Benchmark Survey. Following is what to look for in 2013.

Window Hardware

Chris Dimou, President and CEO, Roto Frank of America

Chris Dimou, President and CEO, Roto Frank of America

As we all know, the loss of stimulus tax credits translated into a market dip in residential door and window sales in 2011. We are glad to see that 2012 shows signs of improvements.

2013 Outlook:

Economic environment: Macroeconomic indicators have started to improve.

Remodeling: The (slight) improvement of the economy combined with the record low interest rates will generate moderate gains in the home improvement market.

New housing: Due to the strong increase in housing starts and building permits in 2012 (compared to 2011) the hardware market should benefit from it in 2013.

Remaining risks: Total housing inventory, foreclosures and the relatively high unemployment rate in the U.S continue to pose risks. This is also true for the Canadian economy due to its strong ties to the United States.

Conclusion: The weak economic recovery in the last years has been limiting growth prospects, but suggests prospects for sales in both the new construction and remodeling/replacement markets will gain some momentum in 2013 and beyond.

Customer Expectations/Product Growth

During our annual customer satisfaction study which we performed this year, we asked our customers about their outlook for 2013. The vast majority is expecting a “flat” to a “slight positive” market development.

From the product perspective, I see European products (tilt turn windows, tilt/slide, lift/slide and fold/slide doors) gaining momentum in conjunction with more stringent performance requirements.

Our company has been growing strongly the last years and gaining market share, despite the fact that the market shrunk substantially. Now, as Roto North America, which also includes the newly acquired Roto Fasco Canada (formerly Fasco Die Casting), we plan with continued growth into 2013 and beyond.

Door Hardware Forecast

Dave Johnson, Manager, Door Hardware Products, Truth Hardware

Dave Johnson, Manager, Door Hardware Products, Truth Hardware

The future of the door industry is an exciting one in that there are many new features and styles of hardware coming out in the marketplace designed to benefit the manufacturer, door jobber/pre-hangers and homeowners themselves. When we attended the Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) Convention in Louisville in October 2012, we had numerous discussions with millwork dealers and pre-hangers who are looking for better quality, multi-point door hardware systems. Many of the systems that have been on the market had design and reliability issues that caused a lot of installation and service issues. The market for multi-point hardware systems is increasing and these manufacturers cannot afford to jeopardize their own brand image with hardware systems that are unreliable nor have all the design features they require. The increase in multi-point door hardware is not confined to simply the French or terrace doors as we are also seeing a trend toward this robust and dependable hardware being considered for entry doors as well—security is one of the main drivers. The same is true for multi-point door hardware usage on different “levels” of doors. Where once these systems were just considered for upscale wood or wood-clad doors, there is an increasing desire to incorporate this type of hardware into a company’s standard door offering, no matter what the material make-up.

One interesting expansion of this hardware usage has been to operable sidelites. Homeowners are now seeing the advantages of the multi-point locking system on these companion doors and are searching for systems that will not only provide the security, but also offer an aesthetic look that is complementary to the system on the entry or patio door.

While multi-point hardware, with three to five locking points, has become the new benchmark for customers looking to enhance the security of the door as well as improve the overall integrity, there are certain elements that help distinguish one system from another. Homeowners are looking for styles they are accustomed to using, such as the preferred, North American designed deadbolt configuration where the locking mechanism is located above the handle making it easy to see and access. To help optimize the security of the door, shoot bolts at both the top and bottom of the door are becoming specified increasingly by manufacturers.

For sliding door systems, manufacturers are offering rollers with precision bearings designed to provide a smooth, effortless movement of the door panel. Engineered to carry the load of much heavier door panels due to triple-pane glass, these roller systems produce new opportunities for door manufacturers to extend their product offering.

While stainless steel hardware is now considered more of a standard than an option for the purpose of optimizing the corrosion resistance of the hardware, there are also certain decorative finishes which have risen to the top of people’s lists. Brushed finishes in chrome and nickel are more popular than they once were and those that resemble an oil-rubbed bronze look remain extremely sought after.

Overall Door Market Outlook

Ducker Research recently reported that patio door usage will increase by 14 to 15 percent in 2013, with 22 percent of this surge being found in new construction and 8 percent in repair and remodeling. Being able to enhance your living space by bringing in more light, as well as opening the interior of the home to a patio or courtyard, is a wonderful way to extend the useable footprint of a home’s floor plan. The popularity of bi-fold doors has really started to create a buzz within the architectural community. These “folding glass walls” are enabling homeowners and architects to literally push the envelope on what once was considered a limitation on what a wall area was intended to do. For many, these bifold door systems were often considered mostly for light commercial applications, however architects, designers and homeowners are really driving the interest in this market. Those companies looking to jumpstart their business  out of the doldrums of recent years should strongly consider the potential this market provides in terms of sales and broadening one’s product offering.

Handle with Flair

Manufacturers and dealers polled regarding consumer hardware preferences prove that customers of all types are looking for a variety of hardware options: and a little style to boot.

While we asked both groups in our second annual industry benchmark survey how many customers are asking about automated options and more, (see charts below), they also gave us some additional responses of what is requested on a regular basis.

The manufacturers placed fancy finishes, more hardware options and colors, metallic finishes and ease of operation on the top of their lists. Dealers agreed with many of those requests and one survey respondent answered: “finishes: brass just doesn’t work anymore.” Another said, “customers are trending to more expensive finishes like satin nickel.

Dealers

Increased automated technology 14 percent
Products that come with a window opening control device (WOCD) 14 percent
Multi-point hardware 85 percent

Manufacturers

Increased automated technology 15 percent
Products that come with a window opening control device (WOCD) 45 percent
Multi-point hardware 75 percent

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