Is it too late to benefit from the heritage flush sash market? We talk to Ian Cocken, Director of Sales and Marketing at aluplast, to find out more.
The Installer: There was a lot of talk about heritage projects a few years ago. Is this still an area worth investing in?
Ian Cocken: It is widely agreed that many homes in the UK have windows installed that don’t match the age and character of the property.
With the rise in popularity of the flush sash, homeowners found they could find window replacements that were more in keeping with what was originally installed; they have also opened new opportunities for installers to improve choice – in many cases creating a hook to win significant new business.
So, no. There is still plenty of opportunity, especially as homeowners are spending more time and money improving the look and feel of their homes in the wake of the pandemic.
What sort of design details help a product stand apart from the crowd?
aluplast’s flush sash has been refined to meet the demands of the heritage sector, including – at a 58mm slim sightline sash – the narrowest sightlines on the market. Other design features include a choice of standard and heritage deep bottom rail, and options for mechanical jointing, which combine to create a strong match for a traditional, 19th century timber sash.
It’s also important to consider the interior of the window as well as the exterior, and a key advantage of the aluplast flush sash is that it sits behind the rebate on the outerframe, in the same way you would expect on a standard casement.
On some competitor systems, their design effectively ‘rolls over’, leaving a gap between the outerframe, the transom and the sash, creating the potential for the window to drop over time and leave an unequal gap.
Don’t forget that flush products are a premium offer and consumers will naturally expect them to perform, and you don’t want to be called back to carry out costly remedial work.
Some companies don’t operate in areas where there are many period properties. Should flush windows be left off their product offering?
While the flush sash was born out of a desire to sympathetically replace timber windows in period properties, it is also being used to create modern façades where aluminium was originally the go-to option.
In fact, our flush sash was designed specifically to be used alongside both the Ideal 70 and Ideal 4000 systems. This significantly reduces stockholding for fabricators who are making contemporary windows using the flush sash with the Ideal 4000 outerframe and foiled with aludec, which accurately replicates an aluminium window.
So, while you may offer flush products to meet a demand for heritage-style windows, you could find yourself winning significant new business on contemporary projects.
Are heritage windows and modern windows that similar?
Colour is often the deciding factor, and the vast majority of flush casement orders include colour – in fact, foiled product accounts for as much as 50% of our total order volume across all ranges.
We have invested – and are still investing – significantly in our foil offer. We have a range of 40 different finishes, including our next generation woodec and aludec foils, allowing us to maintain a strong supply of its most popular stock colours.
Beginning life as a niche product, the flush sash is going on to define a generation of windows; those features that were developed for the heritage sector are being used to create modern alternatives, which is creating opportunities for forward-thinking installation companies. For more information, call 01684 273401 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.aluplast.co.uk.