The $8.3 billion market for residential and light commercial windows and patio doors will grow 7 percent on average through 2017, according to forecast figures released July 10 from the Malvern, Pa.-based firm Principia Consulting.
So a lot of window manufacturers have been or are planning to ramp up production. Milgard Windows & Doors of Grand Prairie, Texas, is among the most recent businesses to announce plans to expand operations and hire another 150 workers over the next four years.
With an estimated $74 million in sales, the Tacoma, Wash.-based Milgard is the No. 47 extruder of pipe, profiles and tubing, according to the new rankings by Plastics News.
Milgard, which is owned by Masco Corp., began construction this year of its first manufacturing plant in Texas to speed delivery service to customers there and in parts of Oklahoma. The company also plans to release new products later this year for the “specific desires” of Texans but has only described them in broad terms of meeting demand for functionality and aesthetics.
In general, Principia analysts say home buyers and remodelers are looking for more energy-efficient products as well as performance features like impact-resistant glass and integrated blinds or shades.
Energy Star ratings have become the standard and the trend to create living spaces that blur the line between the indoors and outdoors has manufacturers super sizing some of their windows and patio doors. Milgard produces what it calls a “moving glass wall system.”
Principia analysts say product lines and amenities need to evolve with distribution and strategic partnerships to take advantage of the window of opportunity for growth.
“The broader building and construction sector is pushing the frontier of innovation while windows and patio door manufacturers have made only incremental changes since the housing crisis,” a Principia news release says. “Manufacturers cut their research and development budgets due to the challenging business environment during the recession, but it is time to reinvest in technology and innovation.”
The market has been picking up steam for the last couple years, according to the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). Founded in 1927, the trade association recently released its 2015 window and entry door study for the United States. The study says shipments of residential windows increased 13 percent in 2014, exceeding the 10 percent growth rate seen in 2013. Last year, more than 50 million units of windows for housing were shipped across the country. The Midwest led the country in sales with an 18 percent increase to 11.83 million units.
WDMA also tracks side-hinged entry doors. Shipments of these products were up 13 percent in 2014 compared to 6 percent in 2013. The South saw the largest sales increase.
In addition to Milgard, Anderson Corp., which owns Silver Line Building Products, announced it was adding capacity at two factories in Minnesota at a total cost of $45 million. Silver Line is the No. 26 PPT producer with estimated sales of $170 million.
Veka Inc. put $6 million into its window and door profile factory in Fombell, Pa., in 2013. The expansion took the plant to 600,000 square feet and created 38 jobs. Company officials said at the time that new home construction in the West, home remodeling in the East and changing laminate preferences in the South were driving demand. With estimated sales of $145 million, Veka comes in at No. 31 in the latest rankings.