As the composite door sector continues to outperform the rest of the industry, Chantel Roach, Sales and Marketing Director at Distinction Doors, considers why this is and discusses with Luke Wood why the company’s new nxt-gen door is making headlines.

Q: The Insight Data report has shown that the number of installers offering more than one composite door range has risen from 550 in 2012, to 3,031 in 2017. It’s a competitive market place so can you tell us a little more about what is required for a composite door to stand out from the crowd these days?

The growth of the composite door industry is nothing short of astonishing.  Just ten years ago, composite doors accounted for 19% of the total door market. Fast track forward and last year it was 38% and by next year it’s predicted to be over 50%.

It’s a remarkable rise but the reason, I believe, is very simple: they give homeowners everything they want from a home improvement product while offering feature-rich qualities.   But as the market becomes more competitive it is vital that you offer something different in order to have a competitive advantage. In short you need to start looking at the next generation of composite doors which is why our new nxt-gen door is making headlines.  Our nxt-gen system takes everything that is great about the market-leading Distinction door and moves it to the next level. Quite simply, it sets a new standard in composite door design.

Q: What was the inspiration for nxt-gen?

As the industry’s biggest supplier of composite doors, we have a responsibility to ensure our customers have the most cutting-edge products at all times.  We wanted to deliver something very different from the existing cassette glazed system that would offer numerous benefits to fabricators, installers and the consumer. The feedback from our customers would indicate we’ve achieved that and more.

 Q: Could you shed some light on the R&D that went into the range before it was launched?

The nxt-gen project commenced in March 2015.   Working closely with Nan Ya we looked at how we could raise the bar even further in composite door design and researched every aspect of our composite door.  The new nxt-gen door needed to cover the most popular doors styles while accommodating existing glass sizes.  We wanted to offer trimmable options and have Secured by Design thumb cylinder compliance. The door needed to be designed to ensure bottom and midrail dimensions were consistent to simplify programme writing and letterplate positioning.  But ultimately, we wanted to provide savings to the fabricator and deliver a beautiful pre-apertured door with balanced aesthetics. And that’s exactly what you have with nxt-gen.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the benefits nxt-gen offers – both to installers and homeowners?

Nxt-gen doors are quicker to fabricate: machining time is cut by an average of two minutes across all six door designs and glazing time is cut too. There are also significant cost savings because waste disposal costs are reduced.

These benefits are thanks to the three pre-apertured trimmable sizes, the consistent letterplate positioning across all six styles, the integral preformed glazing system that accepts IGUs of 24mm – 26.8mm, the one piece internal glass retention bead that sits within the door, the ease of deglazing and the fact that the system uses the same glass sizes as the existing Signature cassette system.

Homeowners will appreciate the enhanced aesthetics. Available in six of Distinction’s most popular designs with a choice of seven standard colours or a range of bespoke colour options, clinical sightlines deliver perfect symmetry while the inverted glazing system provides balanced aesthetics with depression mouldings. While the design has been moved to the next level wherever possible, the widely admired Distinction oak tree woodgrain effect remains, meaning it retains all the hallmarks of a Distinction product.

The insulated foam core delivers exceptional thermal performance and the acoustic performance has a weighted reduction of 31 decibels. The risk of water ingress has been reduced by 50% and security is second to none too: nxt-gen doors are PAS24:2016 compliant as standard.

Q.nxt-gen made quite an impression when it was unveiled at the 2016 FIT Show. Has it lived up to expectations since then?

We received excellent feedback from both existing and potential customers and it became clear that it was the must-have product for the composite industry.  Nxt-gen was officially launched earlier this year and the take up for the product has exceeded all expectations.

According to the latest Insight Data and Palmer reports, the composite door sector is once again earmarked for growth. With that in mind are there plans to improve or refine the range further – or maybe introduce a new product range altogether at some point?

As a business we keep our finger closely on the pulse and we know the composite door industry has done an exceptional job of promoting the advantages.  As the UK’s number one composite door supplier, I think it would be fair to say that our marketing and our customers’ marketing have been instrumental in developing homeowners’ perception of the composite door.

In the past two years we have invested over £750,000 in our production facilities at our 86,000 square feet headquarters in South Yorkshire and have a stockholding that far exceeds that of other competitors.  In 2015 the Earl of Wessex officially opened our new state of the art 198m2 paint plant. In 2016 we launched Distinction Glass, our new impressive glass range and in 2017 we launched nxt-gen!

I firmly believe our commitment to reinvest and reinvent has kept us as the number one choice for composite doors.  As we move forward we will be looking at what we need to do to maintain the dominance of the composite doors in the market place. To my mind the best way we will do that is to continue what we have always done: remain at the forefront of the industry with product development and market driven innovations that blaze a trail for others to follow.