Jason Carey is the managing director of Totali Solutions, a relatively new company that’s already changing the way the market perceives timber and hybrid windows and doors. New timbers, paint technologies and production processes are now bringing a modern twist to a traditional material.
For many people, timber brings back memories of the cheap softwood windows of yesteryear, but today’s products and technologies in timber are a far cry from those inferior products. Timber windows and doors are part of the heritage and tradition of the UK and the market sector is starting to see some growth, innovation and investment.
On the face of it consumers love the look, feel and luxury of timber and conversely, the lower maintenance of PVCu. While the PVCu industry has attempted to replicate the look and feel of timber with new foils and profiles, the fact is that timber is a highly desirable material. Timber can also boast impressive environmental credentials in terms of recycling, sustainable resources, energy efficiency and performance. Furthermore, today’s carefully selected timbers and paint finishes have done much to reduce the issue of maintenance.
At Totali we offer a wide range of windows and doors including flush casements, with a wide range of natural, exotic and engineered woods. Engineered timber is far more robust in terms of keeping its shape, consistency and absorption of primers and paints. We’ve also made the change to specialist Scandinavian, Teknos paint in a vast range of colours and the results are highly impressive from a visual and performance aspect.
Our research and studies have shown that this new paint offers complete stability, including the paler shades and white. This finish will last a near lifetime internally and 7-10 years externally before it requires re-painting, that’s probably twice the lifespan of a skirting board! We’re also able to offer a 30, sometimes 60-year warranty against rot and fungal attack.
The fact is that modern timber windows and doors only require periodic maintenance, much like the inside of any house. Modern production facilities still harness considerable skill in manufacture, through new methodologies and processes and where modern joinery skills are combined with automated machinery. This set up is a far cry from the stereotypical old joinery shops of years gone by, as are the products manufactured.
Consumers in the 1980’s and 1990’s aspired to PVCu windows and now there’s an identifiable part of the market that no longer wants products of the mass market. As consumers, we are more discerning than ever in what we spend our monies on and this includes the home improvement market.
With bank lending having plummeted since the banking crisis, homeowners are less likely to move so often and consequently we should experience an increase in demand for home improvements. While PVCu windows and doors are more of a distress purchase, timber or even composite products are a more emotive and aspirational choice.
For those homeowners wanting a longer lasting and more contemporary external finish, hybrid windows and doors are the obvious choice. Architects love aluminium, while consumers go for the appearance and attributes of timber. A hybrid product is for many the best of both worlds, with near limitless colours and finishes available inside and out. Our own experience of composites has allowed us to develop both contemporary and traditional timber profiles for the internal face, to help ignite the market.
Considerable investment and development have gone into the modern timber and hybrid window in terms of environmental credentials, manufacturing processes, lasting performance and energy efficiency. Consumers are also now looking for more bespoke products in which to enrich their homes, away from the mass market. The market for timber may not be vast, but’s it’s strong, healthy and opportunistic for those that have the desire and aptitude to sell and market it correctly.