Impact, Sound Control Grow
Larger glass areas lead customers to consider impact resistance. “As the glass area grows, security issues do arise,” says Neuma’s Castro. “We’re getting more interest in impact-resistant glass in general. It’s especially popular in coastal markets. It also helps with sound control, which seems to be a bigger issue on the West Coast, but it’s now moving east.”
|PATIO DOOR SIZES GROW
The biggest trend with patio doors is their bigger size. As homeowners look to connect interior and exterior spaces via more elaborate decks, they want the transition to be smooth. “There is a desire for bigger egress at the patio, with a multi-slide door option,” says Mark Montgomery at Ply Gem. “Patio doors in general are bigger, as the outdoor living space becomes even more popular.” Builders are using more 10′ x 8′ two-panel doors, which require beefier roller systems.
The company earlier this year showcased a prototype for a three-panel, 18′ wide door with an automated rolling system. “We’re still working through the details on it, but we expect it to be out by the end of the year.”
Adds Weather Shield’s Dave Koester, “It’s become almost standard to have a wall of doors to create a fluid transition. As a result, we have greatly expanded our lift-and-slide options with multipanel doors to open them wider. It’s a huge trend across the market now and has really exploded.”
The doors also are maximizing glass area to make the connection more complete. “Patio doors are seeing the use of more glass, with narrower stiles and rails,” says Joshua Wagner at JELD-WEN. “There’s a movement to make wall spaces bigger and open doors further. Even French doors are becoming larger. There is greater adoption of an entire door system rather than just a patio door. It’d definitely gaining traction to open up the back of the home while keeping the front more closed for security and privacy.”
“The French-rail style took away glass area, and now customers want to reclaim that area,” says George Castro of Neuma Doors. “They don’t want anything to take away their views. There is more interest in wider openings, especially on the West Coast and Florida.” Contemporary styles are taking over in this category too. “We’re seeing more interest in clean lines and aesthetics in which less is more,” says Wagner. “The design trends are spreading faster than they used to. Adoption of the new look in contemporary styles has happened very rapidly.”
Much of the interest in impact resistance is code-driven, says Joshua Wagner, product line manager for patio doors at JELD-WEN. “There is more code adoption for impact up the East Coast than in any other area, but that takes in a lot of area and a lot of people, so it’s growing in use. Demand is also growing as the codes get stricter and expand the area that requires it and more people see it being used.”
GlassCraft’s Plummer agrees that impact-resistant glass has potential. “The popularity is not really moving beyond the coast. It surprises me, as it’s a strong feature to have in many regions of the country and would make sense for weather resistance and security.”
Control for sound also is gaining more attention. “Sound has become a larger issue,” says Ply Gem’s Montgomery. “Homeowners want better noise control.” The company recently launched a line to tap into that need. “It offers significantly better noise control and excellent thermal performance at a lower cost.”
Adds Plummer, “Builders are looking for sound-rated doors. Those are especially popular for homes being built near airports or high-end homes near the coast.” His company offers a door with a STC40 rating.