The state of the door market is strong. According to a 2016 Freedonia study, demand for doors will rise 6.6% per year through 2020 at which point the market will be worth $14.95 billion. The Residential Remodeling Index done by Remodeling’s sister company Metrostudy, which tallies the number of exterior door renovations over $1,000 in the U.S., forecast there will be 4.5% more projects this year than last. In the South Atlantic and Pacific regions (areas more prone to exterior door renovations), the industry saw 4.2% and 5.2% growth, respectively. For sliding glass doors alone, there was 3% growth last year, and that market is expected to grow 4% annually this year and next year, says Anthony Matter, marketing director of MI Windows and Doors.
So what is driving this door boom?
Simply put, big, clean, and easy. This is what customers are looking for when it comes to doors. According to Matter, “the industry continues to place a heavy emphasis on two things: ease of use and size.” Kris Hanson, senior manager of group product management at Marvin Windows and Doors, agrees. “Consumer preferences for bigger, more expansive doors will continue to shape the industry. This has been a developing trend over the last few years and we believe it will persist in the future,” Hanson says.
Customers desire bigger doors both for the interior and exterior of their home, and the most prominent example of this is the farmhouse movement. Whether a house is designed as urban, modern, or rustic, customers seem determined to incorporate some version of the farmhouse trend into their home.
Jim Flickinger, senior director and product line manager at JELD-WEN, says, “Barn doors are rapidly growing in popularity for interior use. These doors are highly functional in a number of spaces, both dividing rooms and covering storage.” This growing market pushed Masonite to launch its own line of barn doors designed by Jeff Lewis of Bravo’s “Flipping Out.” Mark Ayers, VP of Therma-Tru Doors, notes his company also is seeing the modern farmhouse style “really gaining momentum.” Barn doors fit with the desire for bigger doors and easily slide to separate or unite spaces. And for Brad Loveless, marketing and product development manager at Simpson Door Co., “Big doors are capturing attention throughout the home.” This past year, Simpson got in on the trend by introducing a full line of interior and exterior barn doors. “We offer a variety of classic barn door designs, which can be mounted on a sliding barn door track or as a traditional door swing,” Loveless says.
This big-door trend is consistent with exterior doors as well, with Matter saying, “Eight-foot heights are increasingly common, and 10-foot high doors are beginning to gain traction. We’re seeing these large doors migrate from custom homes to the tract communities as well, which will further increase their growth and popularity.”
In terms of materials, customers want aesthetically pleasing doors but still want high performance, durability, and ease of installation. Though Loveless maintains that wood doors still reign supreme because of their beauty and ability to be easily customized, customers seem to favor many different materials. Fiberglass, steel, composite, and aluminum are all popular choices. Of the bunch however, fiberglass seems to be getting the most love.
“For door materials, fiberglass is still the best choice for a beautiful looking door that is made to last,” Ayers says. David Perkins, vice president of Masonite’s North America Residential Marketing division, agrees, saying, “The industry is shifting toward more fiberglass doors because it can offer the look of tighter wood grains.”
Almost all firms report customers want a clean, crisp, and simple look. Flickinger says, “Simpler, more minimalistic door designs that have a clean look that bridge and complement both the traditional and contemporary preferences will be on trend for both interior and exterior door selection.” Ayers cites a focus on “clean, straight lines and simple designs that work in a variety of architectural styles.”
One of the biggest demands customers have is that their doors be customizable. It’s becoming easier to visualize doors in the home prior to purchase, which allows homeowners to be more design-savvy and request certain styles or materials. Hanson points to social media and sites like Houzz and Pinterest as heavily influencing customers.
“Design trends are spreading at lightning speed,” he says. “Homeowners are taking the driver’s seat when it comes to identifying their personal preferences and home design style, and they’ve got access to projects from all over the world.”
This trend has prompted Simpson to invest heavily in door customization.“We predict that people will continue to ask for unique doors,” Loveless says. “In fact, we’re betting on it, as we’ve made some significant capital investments in our facility, which will enable us to operate as a custom plant on a mass scale.” And according to Masonite’s Perkins, “Now, more than ever, consumers have more of a voice in the decision-making process.