Window + Door’s 2023 Industry Pulse marked this year as one where we’d see an influx of new products in the marketplace. “More than 80% of companies plan to offer new products this year—the highest percentage since I started compiling this report four years ago,” wrote Editor Laurie Cowin. “Consumers want customized windows and doors. They want color and design options. Plus, many are living in older homes where the windows are wearing out, and it’s time to replace them.”
Patio doors are among the potential areas to capitalize on with new product development. The Industry Pulse noted that multi-slide/multi-
panel patio doors were the second most-demanded product among consumers last year, right behind vinyl windows.
If you’re looking to break into the patio door market or to enhance your current patio door product portfolio, there are a few things to think through as you introduce your new product. Here are some considerations for window and door manufacturers when seeking to innovate with high-performance patio door systems.
What’s driving patio door trends?
One of the drivers behind the heightened demand for patio door systems is the increasing desire to combine the indoors and outside in modern living spaces. Large openings, made possible by oversized residential windows and doors, have attracted many homebuilders and renovators.
Uniting interior and natural spaces is sometimes called biophilic design, a concept that seeks to infuse natural elements into the interior space and create harmony with the outdoors. Wood, water, greenery, natural light and air are all common, with fenestration elements creating intuitive openings and connections with the outdoors. Biophilic design can reduce stress, improve creativity and improve the well-being of its inhabitants.
No compromises on energy performance
We know that Energy Star Version 7.0 hits in October, and window and door manufacturers have been working diligently to upgrade their Energy Star lines to meet the new criteria. Whether or not you choose to design a new patio door offering those specifications is a business decision you’ll need to make. Still, there’s no denying that the Energy Star label can be a powerful motivator for consumers.
But even without the Energy Star label, consumers simply expect their investment will offer higher performance levels than a door they might be replacing—especially in higher-end applications. Simply put, there’s no room for compromise regarding energy performance.
For these reasons, selecting a door system that can help meet these expectations is important. Vinyl framing technology is available that can help maximize both energy efficiency and durability. Performance attributes to seek can include foam-filling capabilities. And remember that aesthetics are critical too—minimized frame cross sections allow for pleasing aesthetics with a larger glazing area without any loss of performance.
Don’t forget about screens
To fully capitalize on the potential that patio doors bring to a home, it’s important to remember the screen door. Because as much as a homeowner might seek to unite their interior spaces with the outdoors, they still want to keep the bugs out, and expect reliable functionality every time they open or close their patio screen.
If you’re launching a new patio door system, a new size and type of screen must also be developed. That means new punches specific to that door, machinery that can properly assemble it, screen tabs and more. And that’s just for one specific size—a diversified line will require different equipment and components for corresponding screen production.
All of this screens-related capital requires considerable expenditure. Some companies may want to consider outsourcing screening solutions and focus their money on the patio door system in terms of color options, a higher-performing glass package and more.
Working with a dedicated screens vendor can give companies the potential to realize greater efficiency in the production process, free plant floor space and labor, and build higher value into their product without worrying about screens-related considerations.
Will you be capitalizing on greater demand for patio doors? These are some of the things worth thinking through. Remember, working with a supplier who can provide the right technology and services can make a big difference.