The future of the door industry is an exciting one in that there are many new features and styles of hardware coming out in the marketplace designed to benefit the manufacturer, door jobber/pre-hangers and homeowners themselves. When we attended the Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) Convention in Louisville in October 2012, we had numerous discussions with millwork dealers and pre-hangers who are looking for better quality, multi-point door hardware systems. Many of the systems that have been on the market had design and reliability issues that caused a lot of installation and service issues. The market for multi-point hardware systems is increasing and these manufacturers cannot afford to jeopardize their own brand image with hardware systems that are unreliable nor have all the design features they require. The increase in multi-point door hardware is not confined to simply the French or terrace doors as we are also seeing a trend toward this robust and dependable hardware being considered for entry doors as well—security is one of the main drivers. The same is true for multi-point door hardware usage on different “levels” of doors. Where once these systems were just considered for upscale wood or wood-clad doors, there is an increasing desire to incorporate this type of hardware into a company’s standard door offering, no matter what the material make-up.
One interesting expansion of this hardware usage has been to operable sidelites. Homeowners are now seeing the advantages of the multi-point locking system on these companion doors and are searching for systems that will not only provide the security, but also offer an aesthetic look that is complementary to the system on the entry or patio door.
While multi-point hardware, with three to five locking points, has become the new benchmark for customers looking to enhance the security of the door as well as improve the overall integrity, there are certain elements that help distinguish one system from another. Homeowners are looking for styles they are accustomed to using, such as the preferred, North American designed deadbolt configuration where the locking mechanism is located above the handle making it easy to see and access. To help optimize the security of the door, shoot bolts at both the top and bottom of the door are becoming specified increasingly by manufacturers.
For sliding door systems, manufacturers are offering rollers with precision bearings designed to provide a smooth, effortless movement of the door panel. Engineered to carry the load of much heavier door panels due to triple-pane glass, these roller systems produce new opportunities for door manufacturers to extend their product offering.
While stainless steel hardware is now considered more of a standard than an option for the purpose of optimizing the corrosion resistance of the hardware, there are also certain decorative finishes which have risen to the top of people’s lists. Brushed finishes in chrome and nickel are more popular than they once were and those that resemble an oil-rubbed bronze look remain extremely sought after.
(This article was originally printed in the January/February 2013 issue of Door & Window Market Magazine)