Remodels Help Keep Some Glass Companies Busy
April 6, 2009
Trends in residential construction, as with any type of construction,
come and go. Not too long ago the industry was seeing houses become
smaller as the demand for high-end, luxury upgrades-especially in
kitchens and baths-increased. However, the American Institute of
Architects (AIA) recent Design Trends Survey of residential architects
HERE to read the survey report) showed that as the housing market
continues to suffer, demand is declining for upscale products and
features for kitchens and bathrooms.
|Frameless shower doors remain a popular choice
for homeowners. Photo provided by Drexler Shower Door Co.
While new residential construction may be down, that does not necessarily
mean glass companies are struggling for work. Some say shower door
remodeling and upgrades are keeping them busy.
"Work in the new construction market is off, but remodeling
is still doing fine," says David Drexler, of Drexler Shower
Door Co. in Atlanta. "When homeowners can't sell their houses
they typically invest back into their existing home and the kitchen
and bathroom are where they spend the most money because that's
where they will get the most bang for their buck."
Drexler's company works primarily in the high-end market. He says
the heavy frameless enclosures are still the ones seeing the highest
"We do very few aluminum enclosures, but also that's not our
market," Drexler says.
Angela Harris with Shower Doors and More in Central Point, Ore.,
agrees that the frameless doors are still the most popular.
"Residential building may be slow, but we have been doing
a lot of work in high-end custom homes where the homeowner is having
three or four enclosures installed," says Harris. The dollar
value of our orders is high because of that high-end work, even
though we may not have as many jobs coming in as in the past."
She adds that remodeling has also remained strong.
"Remolding pretty much got us through last year," Harris
says. "A lot of people take on remodeling projects and as part
of that they add frameless enclosures to their master bathrooms."
As far as bathroom trends, some interest has stirred around doorless
showers, but Drexler isn't concerned about losing business.
"That's a trend we've seen for a while in Florida and tropical
climates, but many customers still like their shower to be warm-even
if it's not a steam shower-and without a door that shower is going
to be a drafty," he says. "There are also a lot of other
considerations that can be expensive. For example, the floor has
to be dropped down somewhat to keep water from dripping out."
"We've seen homes that have the doorless shower and sometimes
people who have one end up saying it's too drafty and then call
us to come in and add a door," she says. "This area really
isn't the right market for that type of product; we are not in a
Drexler adds, "That's something that's new and cutting edge,
but a lot of people still like seeing a door as part of the enclosure."
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