There is no doubt that aluminium windows and doors have gone through a major revival over over the past few years. They were certainly in the doldrums up until the last few years, at least in the residential market. Commercially aluminium has always been king. Yet it is commercial, industrial features that has been one of the reasons for aluminium’s rise.
When the bi-fold market exploded just under a decade ago, it exploded in aluminium. PVCu was overlooked a bit. Probably for good reason. Aluminium is stronger, power coated finishes give a quality, smooth finish, build quality is generally better and it was something different to what home owners had been used to.
That’s not to say there are no good PVCu bi-fold door products out there. There are. I particularly like Eurocell’s Aspect PVCu bi-fold. I have sold a few of those and home owners have been very happy with the end result. But I won’t lie and say that we haven’t had more leads for aluminium bi-folds than PVCu one.
Aluminium bi-fold doors are now a staple. A standard product that people know our industry for. It is also one of the reasons why aluminium windows are becoming more popular. For home owners looking to update all their windows and doors, and they’re considering an aluminium bi-fold, they want an aluminium window to go with it.
Improved quality and aesthetics
Like all products in the window industry, the quality and aesthetics of aluminium windows and doors have improved. Long gone are the days of thin, dark grey sliding doors that used to drip in condensation and draw all the heat out of a room.
It is this improvement, coupled with the boom of the bi-fold door, that has brought aluminium windows back into focus for home owners.
To add weight to this comeback, at least half of all window and door installation companies now offer a secondary material to PVCu products, with more choosing aluminium than any other material. That gives you some idea as to how popular the product has become and how the industry feels about aluminium right now and going forward into the future.
Aluminium benefit from home building
It’s well known that the Government has a housing crisis on it’s hands, with the UK failing to build enough new and affordable homes for a generation that is becoming increasingly trapped at home. However, the Governmen has set itself a target to build hundreds of thousands of new home by the end of this Parliament.
Whilst I think that any Government would be unable to build enough new homes for everyone, there will be more houses built, there’s no doubt about that. And this is where there could be an opportunity for aluminium to increase it’s market share in the residential market.
There is a chance for installers selling aluminium window and door products to get a foot in the door and tout the house builders for their aluminium, as opposed to the traditional PVCu. The challenge though will be a big one. Builders nearly always go for the cheaper materials so they can squeeze every pound of profit possible out of their plots. With aluminium being generally more expensive than PVCu, that might be a barrier that some house builder may not wish to try and get around.
Whether that happens, time will tell. But either way, aluminium is in the midst of a strong recovery that looks set to last for quite a long time.