Many homeowners are investing in home improvements and with the trend for light-filled spaces showing no sign of slowing down, aluminium bifolds and patios having never been more popular. Steve Cross, Director of specialist trade fabricator Mercury Glazing, discusses the importance of choosing the right products and the right supplier if you want to capitalise on the market opportunities.
It’s fair to say there’s a home improvement boom going on at the moment!. The statistics are astonishing – according to a survey by money.co.uk, between March and July last year, homeowners spent £55 billion on improvements – that’s an average of £4,035.70. 
There are several reasons for the boom. Firstly, many homeowners are stuck at home and want to create a property that works better for them. Secondly, more than half of people (53%) said they would rather improve than move over the next year.  And thirdly, they’ve got the funds to be making the improvements. The Office for National Statistics estimates that UK households spend an average of £182 per week on activities such as holidays and meals out – activities that have been in short supply in the past year, making it easier to save.
The good news is that the boom looks set to continue with a recent report confirming that British households are planning to spend an average of £6,531 on transforming their homes in 2021.
When it comes to this upturn, the question for our industry is simple: how do we capitalise on it? The answer is to make sure we have the products that fit the bill for the improvements that homeowners are making.
In many ways, not much has changed. Homeowners are still seeking to create more space. The drivers have changed slightly, though. The aim now is to create living spaces that enable home working. This means that garden studios are growing in popularity as well as new build extensions. 
For our industry, key products are aluminium bifolds and patios – doors that create inspirational spaces that make the most of natural light and bring a sophisticated edge to home life.
Both options have their advantages.
Bifold doors are the aspirational choice with consumers, the doors that feature in nearly every Grand Designs project you’ve ever seen and as such, they have become a staple part of most installers’ portfolios for some time.
Equally patio doors are always popular and offer numerous benefits. They can have larger panes, which means fewer glazing bars interrupting the view and they take up less space than a bifold. And in the great British climate, they may actually be a more practical choice for consumers.
The one thing that’s surely a given is both bifold doors and patio doors have to be aluminium. Only aluminium has the dramatic aesthetics as well as the lightweight but robust credentials that these types of door need. Most importantly they present a great upsell for the installer as often command a higher pricing point.
We can see that aluminium bifold and patio doors are growing in popularity since the first lockdown by looking at our order book. We’ve witnessed a huge upturn in sales in the past year and hear from our customers how important these must-have products have become.
As a trade supplier that focuses on specialist products, our customers return to us time and again to help them keep up with demand and maximise sales.
In the first instance, we have the capacity to keep lead times to a minimum – we opened our second aluminium factory last year as part of our strategic growth plans, so we have the capacity to cope.
We have the experience too – we’ve been in business for over 15 years’ and we pride ourselves on our quality and service.
And of course, we have the products that homeowners want and installers need. We fabricate two aluminium systems. Smart Aluminium Systems is the UK’s leading supplier of aluminium glazing systems and Alutech is a world-leading supplier.
The Smart Visofold Bifold series of doors has all the design, thermal efficiency and security benefits you would expect. Add in impressive opening apertures and low threshold options and you have a package that’s hard to beat.
The Alutech Aluminium Bifolding Door has up to seven leaves each way (14 in total), comes in a wealth of options and has all the durability and reliability bifold doors need. It offers an exciting solution for time-sensitive or budget-conscious projects too: there’s a short lead time and it costs from £350 per leaf, including cill.
Finally, we have the Visoglide Plus Aluminium Patio Door, which offers contemporary styling, robust performance and superior thermal performance.
It’s fair to say that there is a sense of unreality at the moment. Our industry is booming but there’s also concern about what the longer term looks like. It probably means you’re keen to capitalise on as many opportunities as you can at the moment. This means savvy installers need the right products from the right supplier more than ever before with the added assurance that they are working with a business that offers longevity and financial stability. And with our capacity, experience and commitment to quality, Mercury Glazing ticks all the boxes.
To find out more visit www.mercuryglazing.co.uk
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