Remodeling Professionals (and Custom Entry Doors) Needed!

Joe Klink is Director of Corporate Relations for ProVia

Joe Klink is Director of Corporate Relations for ProVia

The experts always say, “look for the market gap.” Loosely defined, a market gap exists when a lot of people need something that not many companies are providing. If your company can fulfill that need, you’ll have lots of customers headed your way.

One of our industry’s top resources, Hanley-Wood, has published a report highlighting a significant opportunity with the aging baby boomer population. Notably, the number of adults aged 65-74 is projected to nearly double by 2030. And contrary to popular belief, they don’t intend to flood nursing homes or downsize. More than 80% plan to stay in their current home for retirement.

aging in place
Here’s the gap
: while growing numbers of people intend to “age in place” in their homes, they often lack the kinds of accessibility features (in their entry doors, for example) they may require. Contractors, remodelers and building products manufacturers such as ProVia are needed to fulfill this huge demand, that will grow for many years to come.

Remodeling Professionals Needed!
“Age in place” households have a huge need for professionals and products, and this is highlighted in facts from a Remodeling report citing studies done by the AARP, the Joint Center for Housing Studies Harvard University, and Hanley Wood 360 Research:

  • The leading edge of the baby boom is projected to nearly double the number of adults aged 65-74 from 21.7 million (2010) to 38.6 million (2030)
  • 6 in 10 homeowners plan to stay in their current home for retirement
  • The median net wealth of homeowners aged 50 and over was 44 times that of renters in the same age group
  • There are over 11,500,000 million pro-worthy remodeling projects undertaken in 2014 and an estimated 44% of these are undertaken by 55+ households
  • As consumers age, their use of professional contractors increases
  • 5.5 million older households include someone with mobility difficulty, but have homes without no-step entryways
  • Demand far outstrips supply

The “Home for Life” Project
Recognizing this opportunity the folks at Hanley-Wood’s Remodeling magazine put together a program called “Home For Life” that educates the public on how to address accessibility needs. They’re promoting a project home on their website and working with high-profile partners such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). ProVia is a sponsor, and our entry doors are featured in the project home.

hflProVia Custom Entry Doors – Adaptable for Special Requirements
ProVia’s custom entry doors are adaptable to special requirements, such as those needed to address mobility issues. Our entry doors were chosen for use in the Universal Design Living Laboratory, which showcases home features that accommodate people of all abilities. Our custom entry doors were also used when remodeling the home of a Boston Marathon bombing survivor. The doors for this home address requirements for proper door width, thresholds, and ADA ease-of-use specifications for wheelchair accessibility.

Filling the Gap
As the need for accessible entryways grows, ProVia is positioned to fulfill escalating demand, and there’s a growing need for professional contractors as well. Together, ProVia and our family of remodeling professionals can help fill the gap. Our custom entry door capabilities will help the aging boomer population live out their dreams to stay home.

The Greatest Enemy of Greatness

As the tides of the housing market rise, many businesses are breathing a sigh of relief after the hard years of the downturn. But there are dangers in the “comfort zone.” Recently ProVia CEO Bill Mullet delivered a speech to our sales team as a challenge against complacency, and in support of ProVia’s core value of Continuous Improvement. Here we share a few excerpts you may find inspiring.

ProVia CEO Bill Mullet

ProVia CEO Bill Mullet

The Greatest Enemy of Greatness
A good question many business leaders ask themselves is “What keeps me awake at night?” Well for me, this answer is simple – it’s the comfort zone. We all know that the greatest enemy to being great is “being good,” a place where we’re comfortable. The comfort zone, I believe, is the greatest enemy to our passion. We can become so comfortable in this zone that we lose our passion, especially passion of quality and service.

I believe at ProVia we’re “the best of the best.” This should make me happy, right? But what keeps me awake is that we know that we’re good, and that could keep us from getting better.

Dangers of the Comfort Zone
When we get into our comfort zone, we relax and feel secure. We’re not afraid of challenges because they don’t exist. In our comfort zone, we’re in control, we’re familiar. We can predict tomorrow because as someone once said, “We cut and Paste” today. We get what we want without much effort. This is the reason many people don’t like change, because they’re comfortable and change destroys comfort.

With fast-changing technologies, products, processes, customer requirements and market opportunities, it’s suicidal for a business to sit on its laurels. We must continue to innovate and evolve. We must adapt new and better technologies, new and better products, new and better techniques, new and better processes, new and better styles, new and better services. What worked yesterday may not necessarily work today, and probably won’t work tomorrow.

Embrace the Uncharted Terrain
We should apply these ideas to our personal lives as well. The moment we become comfortable and satisfied with “who I am,” passion dies and we lose the desire to improve ourselves. But we can always find ways to get better. Let’s make sure we embrace the uncharted terrain. It may be tough, the road may be rocky, it may be uphill – but let’s embrace it.

Do we want to live a full successful life? Then I challenge us to expand our boundaries. When we stretch and reach a goal, stretch a little bit more. In doing so, you’ll not only reinvent yourself but also our business and our customers, and we’ll contribute to making the world a better place to live.

Relentless Discomfort with the Status Quo
Let me conclude by simply saying this: that the comfort zone will take us and any other company to its demise. We can never let that happen. We must never become too comfortable. We must have a relentless discomfort with the status quo and say, “We’re going to the next level.” We’ll help each other get there. As we work together, I believe we’re going to be unstoppable.

I want to thank all of you for being unstoppable. For working together, for supporting each other and doing the job we’re called to do. Thank you!

What to Look For in Replacement Windows (Slideshow)

Wanda Angel is Door & Window Brand Manager for ProVia

Wanda Angel is Door & Window Brand Manager for ProVia

By Wanda Angel

The world is full of replacement windows. For a homeowner (or even a dealer or contractor), the choices can be overwhelming. What should you look for when shopping for replacement windows, to make sure you’re getting the most from your investment?

Innovations in Performance and Style
Most homeowners want it all: stylish quality, energy efficiency and low maintenance. At ProVia we’ve created each of our replacement window series to provide market-leading innovations that deliver on these selection criteria. Our revolutionary Aeris Wx1000 series windows combine a real wood interior with a low-maintenance vinyl exterior to provide stylish quality without the hassle. To enhance energy efficiency, our ComforTech™ Glass Glazing options can provide an R-value up to 9, giving them a window that meets the qualifying U-factor criteria for an ENERGY STAR® rated window in their climate zone. And our Inspirations Art Glass can make your replacement windows into colorful, unique works of art.

“Professional Class” Replacement Windows
ProVia is unique in the marketplace because we cater to customers who demand a high degree of quality, service and customization. To describe this unique perspective we refer to our products as “Professional Class.” As a first step in your selection process, view this slideshow to get a quickie tour of ProVia’s replacement window options that reflect the Professional Class approach. We hope this will give you some ideas about “what’s out there” and help you get the best value for your dollar.

Aeris Wx1000 Windows

These replacement windows from ProVia offer the best of both worlds. They are uniquely engineered using a patented system to provide the warmth and beauty of a real wood interior with a low-maintenance vinyl exterior that will keep its new looks for years. Aeris Wx1000 window units come completely pre-finished. The standard glass package is the ComforTech warm edge glazing system utilizing DLA-UV; which offers increased UV protection and a lower Solar Heat Gain Coefficient.

Aeris™ VT700 and VT800 Series

These vinyl replacement windows from ProVia combine superior quality and energy efficiency to deliver today’s highest levels of performance. They feature the ComfortTech™ Warm Edge Glazing System, which provides superior resistance to heat transfer through glass, keeping your home comfortable while saving on energy costs.

Integra® Series Windows

Integra replacement windows reduce energy consumption and are virtually maintenance-free. Because homes have a variety of window shapes, sizes and configurations, ProVia custom builds these vinyl replacement windows to meet specific needs. The Integra series offers a wide selection of styles, including double hung, casement, sliders, picture, bays, bows and dramatic architectural shapes.

ComforTech™ Warm Edge Glazing System

ProVia’s proprietary ComforTech system improves the thermal performance of our replacement windows, up to an R-value of 9. Every ComfortTech glass package features a NO-METAL spacer between the panes of glass and gas filled cavities that provide you with highly energy-efficient glass and a warmer glass edge.

Aluminum Storm Windows

ProVia’s professional-class storm windows are custom built from heavy-duty extruded aluminum to fit the exact specifications of any window opening. A cost-effective alternative to total window replacement, these windows reduce energy costs while also minimizing noise infiltration.

Inspirations Art™ Glass

This glass option for replacement windows is great way to add artistic character and splashes of color to your home. Inspirations offers many of the benefits of stained glass, at a more affordable price. With four bead colors, five harmonized color palettes for the fill, along with the ability to design custom color combinations, the design choices are extensive.

Entry Doors and Replacement Windows: The Best-Kept Secret

Wanda Angel is Door & Window Brand Manager for ProVia

Wanda Angel is Door & Window Brand Manager for ProVia

By Wanda Angel

Early this morning, I was driving down the road taking my dog to the vet before heading in for work. I felt a rush of happiness as I looked at the explosion of summer colors around me! Right now the lush green backdrop of trees is splashed with flowers in every color in the rainbow. I was struck by the incredible power of color to attract attention and breathe fresh beauty into everything.

Summer is also a time when people are sprucing up their homes and working to maximize their curb appeal. So I wondered, do people know there’s a unique way to add color to entry doors and replacement windows that lasts year-round?

Add splashes of color with Inspirations Art™ Glass

Add splashes of color with Inspirations Art™ Glass

Best-Kept Secret for Color – Revealed!
When you think about your entry doors and replacement windows, do you think about color? You can easily add color with our Inspirations Art™ Glass, and this is the best-kept secret I’d like to share with you. Most people spend time thinking about the finishes and framing, and that’s a great start. But what about the glass? Here’s where you can add splashes of color, just like planting flowers adds beauty to the green backdrops in nature. Inspirations is available for ProVia’s entry doors, storm doors, patio doors, sidelites and replacement windows, and we have lots of designs you can choose from.

Inspirations Art™ Glass, truly unique works of art

Inspirations Art™ Glass, truly unique works of art

Artistic in Nature
Inspirations Art Glass is unique because the designs come from hand drawn sketches done by our in-house team of artists. These are truly unique works of art. I have the pleasure of being a part of this team, and it’s so fun and rewarding! Once the designs are complete, the production process combines the latest technology in CNC resin bead application with the personal touch of hand-applied color fills. This offers homeowners a lot of character plus the privacy attributes of stained glass, at a more affordable price. With four bead colors, five harmonized color palettes for the fill, along with the ability to design custom color combinations, the design choices are extensive.

The Harbor design is very popular with homeowners

The Harbor design is very popular with homeowners

Recently we did a project where we developed a series of nautical designs, because we had many customers requesting this motif for waterfront-area homes. As we produced sketches, we worked with our sales team, showing them the designs. Finally we narrowed it down to the three most-sought-after designs: a lighthouse, a ship’s wheel and a Texas star. The lighthouse design, which we call Harbor, has been a HUGE hit for ProVia already.

So Rewarding
The ROI for investing in the products like entry doors and replacement windows is really strong right now, as discussed in Phil Wengerd’s blog post “Lots of Good News for Home Remodeling.” This makes perfect sense to me, since people respond to curb appeal so strongly. If you’re thinking about new doors or windows for your home, take advantage of the chance to add color! Your home will stand out with originality and character, and will thrill you every day, in any season.

How to Sell Vinyl Siding in the Digital Age

Jerome Zenoby is Heartland Siding and Heritage Stone Brand Manager for ProVia

Jerome Zenoby is Heartland Siding and Heritage Stone Brand Manager for ProVia

By Jerome Zenoby

The way vinyl siding is sold today is vastly different than the way we did it 10-15 years ago. And yet, the core of this activity remains the same. It all boils down to human-to-human interaction. As sales trainer Brian Tracy once said, “Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service.” How can we apply this to siding? And what kinds of tools can we use to do this most effectively? A careful blend of traditional approaches combined with new digital “cool tools” will not only help you sell more vinyl siding, but ensure you have happier customers too.

Cool Tools in the Digital Age
We’re starting to see a shift where homeowners are “self-educating” using today’s digital tools. Many times, before they even talk to us, they’ve already been influenced by information they’ve found on websites, in discussion forums, via apps, and even through social media. For siding buyers, whether they’re homeowners, builders, contractors, this is a reversal of mindset. Buyers today know they can self-serve the information they need to narrow down the selection process, without being dependent on salespeople to give them preliminary information. Often, by the time a customer calls you, they’ve already decided (or are pretty close to deciding) what they want. When selling vinyl siding, you could be in or out of the selection process without even knowing about it. To make sure you’re in the game, rely on your siding manufacturer to give you the ammunition you need.

Most manufacturers now offer ingenious tools like online visualizing software. Heartland Siding by ProVia has a Visualizer on our website that allows people to virtually remodel their homes, without spending a penny or swinging a hammer!

Cool Tool: ProVia’s online Visualizer allows people to virtually remodel their homes.

We also have our ProVia Designer Collections lookbook, a 52-page photographic catalog that features groupings of complementary color choices for vinyl siding, entry doors and manufactured stone. By showing various combinations of harmonious color options for exterior building products, the lookbook provides creative idea-starters for contractors and dealers to use with their customers. It’s available in a print version and also online and helps people “become a designer” by empowering them with professionally-chosen color palettes. Tools like visualizers and lookbooks help take the guesswork and risk out of making siding choices, helping ensure a satisfied customer.

Old is Still Gold
As I’ve worked in the siding business I’ve developed relationships with people and organizations across our industry, including other vinyl siding manufacturers. We all agree, “old school” is still working, and there’s a need for it. Sure, we have great digital tools that help to educate, and influence the final purchase. However, that final purchase is usually not made without the buyer actually holding a product sample in their hands, or looking at it in-person on an installed home. So, in the final stages, decisions are not being made without seeing, touching and feeling the actual product. Digital tools add some desirable sizzle that makes the process exciting for the buyer. But the final decision is a human-to-human interaction.

As a siding brand manager I get a close-up view of what salespeople are using. At Heartland Siding we still see heavy ordering of traditional tools like hand sample boards, color fan decks, brochures and showroom display materials. So today we blend old and new approaches to selling vinyl siding.

Happily Involved
I know here at ProVia we have a conscious focus on avoiding “gimmicks.” We put a lot of thought into everything we do with our marketing and sales tools, such as our literature, website, visualizer, and lookbook. Our goal is simply to help solve a problem or achieve a goal. You can’t go wrong if you do everything you can to simply provide quality tools, old school and digital, that help everyone have a successful outcome. Long before digital tools were available, Tom Hopkins, another great sales trainer, coined the phrase “getting people happily involved with your product.” Keep that as your focus, and you’ll sell a lot of vinyl siding.

This article first appeared in Building Products Digest.

Now That’s a Door!

Brian Miller is President of ProVia

Brian Miller is President of ProVia

By Brian Miller

Many of you have seen our new Embarq™ Fiberglass Entry Door System*, the most energy-efficient entry door available in the U.S. market. It’s fascinating to hear your responses when you get a first-hand look. The comment we hear most often? “Now THAT’s a door!” Its beefiness is impressive, but there are brains behind this brawn. I thought you might be interested in a peek behind the scenes about how this door was created.

We’ve Always Been This Way
The best new products come about when they’re aligned with a company’s “DNA.” In other words, when the product innovation is a match for the organization’s unique goals, philosophies, values and capabilities. When work began on Embarq, our goal was clear: to produce the most energy-efficient door in our market. And ProVia’s track record for energy efficiency made us uniquely qualified to take on this challenge:

  • ProVia has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year award for Door Manufacturing four times, and the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence award four times
  • ProVia is the only door manufacturer that has ever received any ENERGY STAR award for door manufacturing
  • Whether its steel or fiberglass, energy efficiency is always a major consideration when designing our doors
  • ProVia prioritizes energy efficiency education: through dealer/distributor training, marketing materials, and even our Sammy the Star program for elementary schools
  • ProVia’s commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency extends beyond just products, with our programs for pollution prevention and recycling, and even the use of TriPacs (auxiliary power units that reduce fuel usage and emissions) on our trucks

enVision-ing the Future of Energy-Efficient Doors
envision logoAs we set out on our journey to develop our new fiberglass entry door, the process expanded into a complete philosophy of creating unrivaled efficiency in home building products. We call this new way of thinking enVision. The first creation using the enVision philosophy is Embarq – the doorway to innovation and energy efficiency. There’s a mindset to enVision that’s critical to success: “don’t let old paradigms stand in your way.” This means that first, you have to throw out the old way of thinking.

Throwing Out Old Paradigms: The Making of Embarq
For several months we had 15-20 people meeting every week to work on the design of the Embarq door. The aha moment came from an industry meeting, where one person commented “until you guys get it through your head that a door doesn’t have to be 1¾” thick, you’re not going to improve energy efficiency.” With this, we opened our minds and started thinking that a door doesn’t have to be a certain thickness.

embarq logo-tempWe began experimenting and designed a 2½” thick entry door that also incorporates other advancements. For example, we utilized a stepped edge, which was inspired by European door designs. We also added multiple sealing surfaces: Embarq has two weather seals around the perimeter of the door, instead of one. Both of these upgrades enhance our ability to prevent air infiltration. For the foam, ProVia engineers created the optimum balance between strength and energy efficiency.

Lots of Innovation, Simplified for You
Now that sounds like a lot of change, and it is. But even though Embarq is thicker, it does work with our existing jamb system and threshold. This helps us keep our manufacturing and product costs down, because we can utilize existing equipment and processes. This is also a great benefit for installers because you don’t have to install it any differently.

Additionally, we’re taking the body of knowledge we’ve developed for energy-efficient doors and utilizing it as we develop all of our products. You’ll benefit from our technological advancements on energy efficiency in the entire line of ProVia’s professional-class doors, replacement windows and vinyl siding.

Future Focus
One of ProVia’s Core Values is Future Focus: “We define our destination…and create the path to get there.” Defining our destination of creating the most energy-efficient door in the U.S. market was critical in achieving this milestone. But we’re not done yet. Right now we’re working on glass for Embarq. To maintain the doors’ beautiful aesthetic, we’ll incorporate the Plugless Trim we’ve just launched for our Signet fiberglass entry doors. This uses a clip system, which we’re modifying to accommodate the thicker door and glass. We’re also working to make sure that the glass that goes into Embarq maintains the doors’ high energy efficiency. Style options for Embarq with glass are underway for release in the near future.

Only From ProVia
If anyone was going to do this, it’s ProVia. We have an organizational structure and culture that allow us to be very nimble. We have a close team that works hands-on, face-to-face, without being separated into various offices around the country. This strengthens our ability to collaborate and remain very focused on a clear end goal, as a team.

ProVia has always emphasized energy efficiency and pursued continuous improvements with high energy-performing products. With the introduction of Embarq and our enVision program, we’re strengthening our commitment to leadership in energy efficiency.”

To learn more, check out our videos: Embarq: Revolution in Energy-Efficient Fiberglass Doors, and Core Values Drive ProVia’s Success.

*Embarq is available exclusively through ProVia Platinum Club dealers
Embarq Fiberglass Door by ProVia

Lots of Good News for Home Remodeling

Phil Wengerd is Vice President of Market Strategies for ProVia

Phil Wengerd is Vice President of Market Strategies for ProVia

By Phil Wengerd

Recently we learned that four of ProVia’s key product lines – entry doors, replacement windows, vinyl siding and insulated siding – are named “best remodeling projects for maximum return on investment” in the 2014 Cost vs. Value Report released by Hanley Wood’s REMODELING magazine. In this report they measure the percentage of the cost of home remodeling projects (“Cost”) that is recouped in resale value (“Value”). The numbers shown in this report are averages from 101 markets across the U.S.

Of course we’re always glad to know we’re right in the middle of a sweet spot in the market. But I’m not here to bore you with the details of why this is good for ProVia. However, I do want to share just a few of the headlines, because there’s a whole lot of good news in here for everyone – including homeowners, contractors and dealers.

Here are the key takeaways I see from the report. There may be some “news you can use” in here!

  • The Trend is Continuing in the Right Direction.  For the second year in a row, all product categories have gone up. By “gone up” we mean that a higher percentage of the money that is invested in a home remodeling project is recouped in the home’s resale value (in comparison to the prior year). From a big-picture economics standpoint, this is very encouraging news.
  • What Does This Mean for the Homeowner?  Buyer’s confidence is continuing to grow. This means that people can have more confidence that if they invest in their home, and put some money in to upgrade it, this is a safer move because the market is increasingly valuing home remodeling projects.
  • Survey Says…Put a New 20-Gauge Steel Entry Door On Your House!  If you look at the data it tells you – the first and foremost thing you should do if you want to invest in your home is put in a new 20-gauge steel entry door. Steel entry doors actually came in #1 in the survey (with a whopping 96.6% Cost-Value, as you can see in Figure 1). What this says to me is there’s a high value for curb appeal. And since doors rank so high overall in the survey (fiberglass entry doors were a top performer too, with a 70.8% Cost-Value) this speaks to me about the connection that homeowners have with their front entryway. People really want to have an entry with an inviting look, and this shows up in resale value. And when you compare the cost of an entry door with the other projects on this list, it’s a relatively low dollar amount to put back into your house, while gaining significant resale value.

Figure 1: The #1 performer out of 35 categories is Entry Door Replacement (Steel), at 96.6% Cost-Value.

2014 Cost vs. Value Report (from Hanley Wood’s REMODELING magazine)
CvV

  • Fiberglass Entry Doors Are Coming On Strong  While steel entry doors have consistently topped the list, fiberglass entry doors have actually been growing at a faster pace. This tells me that people are valuing the features and benefits of a fiberglass door more than they used to. We also see this trajectory of growth in an increase in sales for ProVia’s fiberglass doors. Steel is remaining strong and steady, but fiberglass is expanding faster.
  • Vinyl Siding and Insulated Vinyl Siding Continue Their Steady Climb  While historically fiber cement has been a strong market contender, I think awareness is growing that there’s maintenance that needs to be done with this product. So I think we’ll continue to see a shift toward truly maintenance-free products ­ vinyl siding and insulated vinyl siding. Our lives are too busy, we don’t want to hassle with taking care of something year after year. We want to put something on our house that’s going to last.
  • Replacement Windows Are a Bellwether Product  Replacement windows have also experienced a nice rise over the past couple of years. I attribute that to economic conditions – the overall market seems to be strengthening.
  • High-ROI  Leading the list of High-ROI projects is entry door replacement (steel), which topped 100% in 38 cities. Because there are 101 cities in this survey, this means that in 38% of locations nationwide, you get every dollar back on a steel entry door replacement.
  • Mid-Range vs. Upscale Projects  Home remodeling projects priced in the Mid-Range improved 10.6% versus 8.8% for those that are priced in the Upscale category. This was somewhat surprising to me, but it’s probably an indicator that more people with mid-range budgets are getting back into the market. This could be telling us something about how the market is recovering. I find this to be a very healthy indicator, because if only the very wealthy are putting money back into their homes, that would not be good. But the real power of the market is when there are more mid-range projects happening, because there’s a higher quantity of mid-range folks.

Even Better News Than You May Think
For the second consecutive year, all home remodeling projects have gone up in Cost-Value. But for the first time in four years, improved resale value of residential housing has more of an influence on the Cost vs. Value than the project cost itself. The 2.2% increase in project costs were more than offset by the 11.5% improvement in average national resale value. (This means that costs have only increased by 2.2% but the resale value has jumped by 11.5%.) That’s a significant spread. I don’t think most people are aware that the market is growing this strongly. We tend to have a general feel that the market is getting better, but most people don’t realize that it’s really this good. This further supports the idea that people can invest with confidence.

Great news and lots of upside here for all of us! What do you think? What are you seeing in your market? Please comment below and share your thoughts.

Just “DER” It: An Eco-Friendly Makeover

Jeff Wilson is a construction industry veteran with over 25 years as a carpenter, remodeler, and TV host on nearly 200 episodes for HGTV and the diy network.

Jeff Wilson is a construction industry veteran with over 25 years as a carpenter, remodeler, and TV host on nearly 200 episodes for HGTV and the diy network.

By Jeff Wilson

[Intro by ProVia]
Over the past several months ProVia has been honored to participate in a project called the Deep Energy Retrofit (DER), where Jeff Wilson and his family transformed their drafty 70-year-old home by installing ProVia energy-efficient entry doors, replacement windows and a variety of other eco-friendly products. As a result, they reduced their energy bills by a stunning 85%. Jeff believes you can make your older home a more comfortable and healthier place to live while also “having a positive effect on the wider problems of our economy, environment, and energy security.” We agree! And we thought you’d enjoy his story about creating a DER home.

When my family moved to this small college town, we had a plan: move to town, fix up the curb appeal of an old home, and then flip it and build an eco-friendly house in the country. Problem was, we liked the convenience of town life and even though we’d bought that farm in the country, the prospect of driving to and from town for work, school, shopping, and everything else, didn’t sound too appealing or “green.” If we decided to stay, however, we’d have to do something with our leaky, moldy, 70 year-old house. What could we do?

Check out Jeff's DER project in this video featuring ProVia's own Conrad Mast

Check out Jeff’s DER project in this video featuring ProVia’s own Conrad Mast

The answer: a deep energy retrofit to drastically reduce our home’s energy footprint and dramatically improve my family’s comfort and health. Since the house needed a new roof, siding, replacement windows and doors anyway, we began to search for the most energy-efficient products available to transform our home. We wanted this eco-friendly renovation to last at least fifty years, so we wanted to get it right.

ProVia's Integra replacement windows maximize energy efficiency while retaining the home’s architectural charm

ProVia’s Integra replacement windows maximize energy efficiency while retaining the home’s architectural charm

We chose spray foam insulation to completely air seal our roof, walls, and basement. High efficiency HVAC equipment and an energy recovery ventilator also improved our comfort and health. LED lighting and high-efficiency appliances cut costs further. But with such high-performing insulation, air sealing, and systems, where would we find replacement windows and energy-efficient doors that had the same high-performance? ProVia.

Turned out that my friends at ProVia didn’t just make windows and doors, but manufactured just the kind of high-performance windows and doors I was looking for. For starters, we chose the triple-pane, krypton gas filled, low-e ComforTech TLK panes in the Integra replacement window series to replace all of the old single-pane windows. The Integra windows weren’t just a major step up from our old, single-pane windows, but also a major step up from the double-pane, wood-framed windows I’d been considering. ProVia was even able to tackle the technically challenging arched dormer windows and big bays out front – their careful attention to measuring and design meant a trouble-free installation when the time came.

The Signet fiberglass entry door makes a statement

The Signet fiberglass entry door makes a statement

ProVia’s insulated Signet fiberglass entry doors fit the bill, too, giving us not only superior insulating power, but also a tight air seal through excellent hardware and door jamb seals. The beautiful cherry Signet door caused one of my neighbors to stop and stare:  “That door,” she remarked to me, awestruck, while I was working out front one day, “that door just sets this house…it’s just unreal what that door does…it’s astounding!”

We took advantage of ProVia’s Inspirations Art Glass to add accents to our home that really pulled the aesthetics together. To the cherry Signet entry door, we added a Harmony-style oval, which is beautiful, of course, but also lets light into the entryway and offers privacy. To complement the door, we added Harmony glass to the wing-windows on the big front bays on either side. On the addition, we chose the same designs on the entry door and awning windows, with a “glue-chip” effect for added privacy in what is now the master suite above the garage.

Inspirations Art Glass adds custom design detail to the front bay windows

Inspirations Art Glass adds custom design detail to the front bay windows

All in all, we added 350 square feet to our home and now set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature year round in our deep energy retrofitted home. Despite that, thanks to high-performance products like ProVia’s Integra replacement windows and Signet fiberglass entry door, our energy bills have dropped by over 85%. At the same time, ProVia helped us realize our aesthetic vision so that on all fronts, we’re proud to call this house “home.”

Our “DER” Home!

Our “DER” Home!

Jeff’s recently published book (The Greened House Effect, published by Chelsea Green) follows the deep energy retrofit (DER) of his family’s 70 year old home and is available wherever books are sold. Learn more about Jeff Wilson and his DER project at www.thegreenedhouseeffect.com and www.jeffwilsonregularguy.com. Jeff lives with his wife and two daughters in that perpetually half-renovated home in a small college town in Ohio.

 - Photography by Sherri James -

Door and Window Marketing: What Matters Most?

Wanda Angel is Door & Window Brand Manager for ProVia

Wanda Angel is Door & Window Brand Manager for ProVia

By Wanda Angel

For our door and window dealers, marketing is not necessarily your core business. But it sure is necessary FOR your business – if you want to thrive and grow. Marketing is as important as writing the utility check to your electric company every month. If you don’t pay your electric bill, you don’t get electricity. If you don’t market your company, you won’t see sales growth.

And things have gotten so much more complicated over the past few years with the profusion of potential marketing channels (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, email, etc.) you can use. Even just social media has quickly evolved into nearly a full time job for a marketing person (or business owner). For our purposes here, I won’t advocate one channel or the other – they all have their usefulness. But I do want to talk about one thing that matters more to your marketing effectiveness than which channel you choose – and that’s consistency. Here are some helpful tips to think about, and ask yourself: am I building momentum with my marketing investments, or am just I shooting stray bullets into the wilderness?

Your Core Message: The Foundation Upon Which All Else is Built
First things first: the foundation must be built, and your marketing foundation is your core message. Ideally your message will be based on research with your door and window audience and internal stakeholders. Find out what the needs are, and how your company uniquely fills those needs. Query your sales force, your installation departments, and your customers. Then, compile the information and bring it to key stakeholders in your company where you can distill it down. We did this exercise here at ProVia, so I’ll use this as an example.

We have a couple of core messages, but the main one is “The Professional Way.” This means that we’re a leading manufacturer of professional-class exterior home products (including doors and windows) and the “professional-class” part reflects our company’s high levels of quality, service and customization. That’s what we do, and that’s what our customers want. So we make sure we spotlight this in every possible marketing channel.
Professional Way uses
1 in 20,000

Why is a consistent message so important? As the dissemination of information has exploded in recent years, today we see estimates that a single individual can be exposed to anywhere from several hundred to 20,000 marketing messages per DAY. And, while your message may be very important to you, for your audience this gets mixed in with billboards along the highway, packaging labels in grocery stores, scores of daily emails, and sponsored ads on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. The only way to break through all this clutter is with…consistency.

Repetition Yields Repeat Sales
So we understand the importance of consistency in the branding of your company, but how does this translate into door and window sales for your business? Let’s say you’ve integrated your core message throughout your entire organization, not just your marketing. This could include things like:

  • Investing in samples and displays that depict your core message along with the product you sell.
  • Investing in your employees and helping them understand how to “walk and talk” your core message and be a brand ambassador for your company.
  • Investing in your customers: calling them to find out how the job was done, if they were satisfied, and if they would recommend you to others (if there were problems, this might be a golden opportunity to learn how you can improve your service AND solve their problem to create a happy customer). This all boils down to your customers experiencing your core message, not just seeing it.
  • Investing in advertising, updating your website, and using direct marketing tools.
  • Investing in your community by getting involved in charitable projects that shine a spotlight on your company. (ProVia’s Sammy the Star educational program provides an easy way for you to get involved, you can read more about this in our press release.)

What is your return on these investments? With consistency, you’ll achieve a snowball effect, and ultimately your reward is repeat business and referrals.

It might seem intimidating to think about getting your message out, but remember, ProVia is here to help you grow your business. We have several marketing tools that can be used as great vehicles to easily express your message consistently in your marketplace.

What matters most in your door and window marketing? Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts, we’d love to hear your ideas.

Never Fear – Choose Home Renovation Products With Confidence!

Joe Klink is Director of Corporate Relations for ProVia

Joe Klink is Director of Corporate Relations for ProVia

By Joe Klink

Whether you’re a homeowner searching for much-dreamed-about home renovation products or a dealer seeking to ensure that your customers are “beyond satisfied,” you share a common dilemma – making decisions about product selection can be nerve-wracking. With all the research, comparisons, and guesswork (Will it look great? Will it perform reliably? Will it add to the value of the home?), the selection process can feel like a big overwhelming task. At ProVia we’re rolling out our latest website technology that takes some of the guesswork out of the home renovation process and helps you choose products with confidence.

SEE Your Home’s Future – For FREE!
Of course, picking out new entry doors, replacement windows, vinyl siding and manufactured stone can be very exciting. But we figured it’d be a lot more exciting if you could actually see what these products look like on an actual home. So recently we unveiled the new ProVia Visualizer. This free online tool can be used to preview ProVia home renovation products on sample images…or on your own house photos.

In addition to trying on our entry doors, siding and stone products, the new Visualizer offers additional product choices for home windows: double hung windows, slider windows, casement windows, picture windows, and storm doors. Some highlights of the Visualizer include:

  • Open access and free to use, without annoying barriers like forms or registrations
  • ProVia products can be viewed either on sample images or on uploaded photos of your actual home
  • You can “try out” various products and create your own aesthetic, with a wide variety of styles, colors and hardware to choose from
  • The improved user interface makes it easy to select and view product choices

Go to the Visualizer now and play – but first run out and snap a photo of your own home if you really want some fun. (Fair warning: you might fall in love.)

Enhancing the User Experience
Just as in the products we make, it’s the details that make the difference in the usefulness of our website. With that in mind, we added lots of upgrades throughout the site that make it easier to find and compare products. Here are just a few:

  • The Products menu in the top navigation is now organized by generic terms such as “Entry Doors” instead of branded terms like “Signet,” making the viewing process much more intuitive
  • The Heartland Siding section offers easy-to-browse selections for siding colors and accessories
  • New landing pages for vinyl siding and manufactured stone are streamlined and offer many product highlights for visitors to discover

Supporting Professionals
We’ve added more value for professionals with upgrades to the Professionals section of the ProVia website:

  • Tons of new content and reference materials like Specifications, Installation Instructions, Insulation Guides, Certifications, Warranty Info, and more
  • Any dealer’s “Where To Buy” listing can now include a Google 360-Degree Showroom Tour (if you don’t currently have this, you can learn more in my previous blog post “Bring Eyeballs Into Your Showroom – Virtually!”)
  • The “Where To Buy” listing can also include a “Connect Me” link that homeowners can use to directly contact you by email

You can activate the new “Where To Buy” features by logging into your account via entryLINK and adjusting your “Location Settings.” There you can paste in the URL to your Virtual Showroom Tour and add email addresses for receiving leads. If you need help, feel free to contact our Customer Service team.

Choose With Confidence
Our goal is to help make the process of choosing home renovation products easier, less stressful, and a whole lot more fun. Even better, we hope these new website tools will inspire you with choices that surprise and delight. Combine these tools with your imagination and create (or help your customers create) the home renovations of your dreams.

What do you think of these new website features? What would you add? Comment below or email me to share your thoughts. We have more enhancements to come – they could be yours.