Insulated steel doors still dominate the marketplace, but fiberglass-reinforced entry doors are gaining steady market share. Just like in the window industry, they seem to be getting the largest share of product-development dollars by door makers.
In mid-2005, fiberglass doors made up just 10 percent of the entry-door market. Today, according to the Des Plaines, Ill.-based Window & Door Manufacturers Association, fiberglass commands nearly 25 percent.
``What's happening in the marketplace is a tremendous evolution with all kinds of high-end, value-added products,'' said Jeff Lowinski, vice president of technical services for WDMA, in a Feb. 12 telephone interview. ``Fiberglass is bringing to market a door that is pre-finished and looks like a wood door.''
Several manufacturers showcased their fiberglass entry doors at the International Builders' Show, held Feb. 7-10 in Orlando. Nearby signs explained the doors weren't made of wood.
Livingston, N.J.-based Plastpro Inc., the No. 2 player in fiberglass entry doors, offers doors with exteriors made of sheet molded compound and filled with polyurethane foam. The doors are covered with polyester film and have PVC composite edges.
They are waterproof on all six sides, Plastpro President Franco An said at the show.
Plastpro doors are sold in Menards, a Midwest-based chain of home-improvement stores. Plastpro is exploring opportunities with Home Depot Stores Inc., where Plastpro already is supplying Veranda-brand wainscoting, An said.
``We're really starting to see the business grow,'' he said.
Plastpro trails only Maumee, Ohio-based Therma-Tru Inc. in fiberglass entry-door market share.
Typical fiberglass doors use 20 percent glass fiber reinforcing a polymer. Therma-Tru uses a higher percentage - about 25-35 percent, said product manager Bob Keller.
While about 70 percent of Plastpro's overall sales come from new construction, about 60 percent of Therma-Tru's doors are installed in repair and remodeling applications.
Fiberglass is expected to make up about 30 percent of the market by 2010, Keller said.