Deceuninck UK Managing Director Rob McGlennon says rapidly growing homeowner demand for colour in their windows and doors is a big opportunity for housebuilders and developers.
You might look at Britain over recent years and believe we’ve never been colourful when it comes to our homes – but the truth is, we once celebrated colour. The Georgians and Victorians decorated every inch of their houses and buildings, and in medieval times the insides of cathedrals, which are now uniformly grey, were a riot of colour.
Sadly, in the wake of a depression and two World Wars, our buildings found themselves in a sorry, dull state. Then in the late 70s, homeowners welcomed PVC-U with its clean, ultra-low maintenance freshness. So what if it was mostly white?
“The growing desire for coloured windows and doors is a big opportunity for housebuilders”
But white windows and doors are no longer the only option. Where choice is offered, people are selecting stylish colours and colourways over plain white to enhance the appeal and authenticity of their property.
This growing trend is driven by the ‘Haves’ – mostly over 55-year-old homeowners, whose homes have appreciated dramatically in the last 20 years. The ‘Haves’ may not always be big earners, but they are mostly mortgage free, and account for most of Britain’s housing wealth and savings. The right windows and doors can transform a house and the ‘Haves’ want beautiful, top performing products to enhance and add value to their homes.
Increasingly they choose colour. Five years ago, one in four windows sold nationally were colour – now it’s 29%. Colour is a simple design choice that adds sophistication and kerb appeal, so it’s not hard to see why the ‘Haves’ like it.
A big opportunity
The growing desire for coloured windows and doors is a big opportunity for housebuilders and developers who can rely on high-quality products, short lead times and a reliable on-time-and-in-full service from their supplier.
Most coloured frames are made from foiled window and door profile, and the conditions for foiling are hugely important to the quality of the final product and its long-term performance. But as important as the right machinery, perfect factory conditions and stringent quality measures, you need skilled, experienced people who can foil correctly first time, every time.
Foiling also requires significant investment in stock, so fabricators who take orders for colour frames know they’ll get the profiles, and the matching cills, trims and ancillaries they need to make complete the order in the same lead time as white product.
To meet the growing demand for colour, Deceuninck invested in state-of-the-art foiling and a world-class foiling team. And crucially we foil for stock, not to order, so we can give customers the same short lead time on colour as white. Our 140,000 square-foot warehouse in Calne is packed to the rafters with colour – 26 colourways (increasing to 30 in January 2019) with matching cills, trims and ancillaries across our full Heritage Collection.
Using our online ordering system, customers can ‘look’ in our warehouse and put their name on what they want, from a single length of profile to a full stillage, knowing it will be on their next delivery. That gives them the confidence to sell colour.
Our big outlay has paid off. As a percentage of overall sales, colour grew from 30% in 2015 to 50% at the start of the year, rising to 55% mid-year and is on target for 60% by the year end. Most of Deceuninck’s biggest customers sell over 50% colour.
Deceuninck also offers Decoroc, a unique, proprietary colour-coating system developed for commercial applications, very similar in appearance to powder-coated aluminium. The coating is micro-sprayed for an easy-clean, highly durable matt finish in countless RAL colour options. It’s scratch, impact and abrasion resistant, easily repaired in sections if it’s damaged, and comes with a 10-year guarantee.
The evidence of Deceuninck’s skills in design, colour and innovation can be seen on several high-profile developments – including London & Quadrant’s Abbey Road in London, where our 5000 Series windows have a Decoroc Anthracite Grey finish, with the same appearance as aluminium powder coating to create a bold, modern look.
At Alexandra Wharf – stylish water-front apartments forming part of the Ocean Village development at the city’s marina – aluminium frames were specified, but Deceuninck fabricator Dempsey Dyer worked with contractor Bouygues to customise the specification to allow the use of sustainable PVC-U. The contemporary look of the 2500 Chamfered Series mimics the look of aluminium so closely that at street level it’s impossible to distinguish the PVC-U in the apartments from the aluminium used for the Harbour Hotel next door.
As colour demand grows, it’s important for everyone in the supply chain to have access to worry-free, from stock, colour supply. White PVC-U was once the cure for Britain’s housing blues – but now it’s colour that makes us smile.