Fiberglass Door Turns 30

Maumee, OHIO, (January 03, 2012) – Back in 1962, John Glenn Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth, gasoline cost just 28 cents a gallon, and “The Beverly Hillbillies” was the most popular show on television. During this iconic year, when President John F. Kennedy faced the Cuban Missile Crisis and Johnny Carson started on “The Tonight Show,” the seeds of what would become Therma-Tru Doors were planted.

The history of the nation’s most preferred manufacturer of fiberglass and steel doors started when David Welles, a retired Owens Corning® executive, purchased a bankrupt building supply company in Toledo, Ohio. The new firm, named Lake Shore Industries, sold paneling and other building products to local builders.

In the late 1960s, a local home builder asked Welles if his company could supply metal doors, which were becoming more popular at the time. Seeing growth potential, Welles added steel doors to his company’s product line and saw his profits increase.

During the 1970s, Welles’ company continued to grow as the energy crisis facing the nation created increased demand for insulated steel doors. In response, the company began taking a systems approach to product development, focusing on the entire entryway system. This approach led to the development of a true innovation -- the Fiber-Classic® door.

Innovating the Art of the Entryway
As Therma-Tru marks its 50th anniversary in 2012, it also marks the 30th year of the introduction of the first fiberglass door on the market. Launched in 1982, during the same year the company changed its name to Therma-Tru Corp., the Fiber-Classic style of doors revolutionized the door industry.

“People just couldn’t believe it,” says Deke Welles, son of founder David K. Welles who held key management positions including President and eventually CEO of Therma-Tru Corp. from the late 1980s to 2001. “The product that looked so good was actually made of fiberglass.”

Four-times more energy efficient than most wood doors, fiberglass doors quickly caught the attention of the marketplace. In 1994 the company unveiled its premium Classic-Craft® line, featuring square solid wood edges and a beautiful, realistic woodgrain finish that offered all the benefits of fiberglass. The Smooth-Star® door, which brought to market a smooth, paintable fiberglass option, followed in 1999.

“The success of the Classic-Craft and Smooth-Star lines solidified Therma-Tru’s position as the leading fiberglass and steel entry door brand in the United States before the start of the 21st century,” says Dave Randich, president of Therma-Tru. “Following those two critical product introductions our company expanded its offering to include a complete portfolio of durable and beautiful entry and patio door systems, including decorative glass doorlites, sidelites, transoms and door components.”

The quality-manufactured product lines produced by Therma-Tru have been recognized repeatedly over the years for their durability and beauty. For 15 consecutive years, Therma-Tru products have ranked highest in the category of “Brands Used in the Past 2 Years” in the Builder Brand Use Study. And, in 2011, Consumers Digest® magazine designated the Therma-Tru® Classic-Craft® line of energy-efficient entry door systems as a “Best Buy” selection for the fiberglass entry doors category. Over the years the company has also received a multitude of industry awards, including the Best in Class Award, the Gold Hammer Award, the Most Valuable Product Award, the Best of What’s New Award and various other honors.

High Performance with Style
During the past decade, the innovators at Therma-Tru have stayed true to the company’s heritage, focusing on advancements in technology and aesthetics for the company’s popular doors.

  • In 2007 Therma-Tru introduced its Tru-Defense™ System for entry and patio doors. Designed to withstand damaging weather and harsh conditions, these products meet stringent codes for hurricane-prone areas of the country and are used in homes nationwide where security and durability are key entryway requirements.
  • The unique Vented Sidelites door system, introduced in 2010, brings both natural ventilation and light into the home via hinged sidelites. These popular door systems eliminate the need for storm doors or sliding screens that can obstruct the home.
  • The Classic-Craft® Canvas Collection™, launched in 2011, is the first premium, smooth paintable fiberglass door to carry the Therma-Tru name. The paintable door surface allows homeowners to customize the door for their personal design preferences while gaining architecturally-correct facets, including wide center panels and rich and embossment details that rival high-end custom wood doors.

Merging Fypon LLC into Therma-Tru Corp.
In 2009 Therma-Tru took another step forwards in its prestigious history by integrating the operations of its sister company, Fypon LLC, into the Therma-Tru business. Known throughout the industry for their exceptional quality and durability, Fypon synthetic mouldings, trim and columns are the consistent choice of builders and remodelers seeking products with outstanding value and fast installation.

Fypon LLC offers thousands of decorative polyurethane and PVC millwork elements in a variety of architectural styles to enhance the interior and exterior of homes and commercial projects. Each piece is crafted from tough, weather-proof, high-performance materials that are impervious to decay, insect infestation and water damage for long-lasting beauty and low maintenance.

Therma-Tru continues to expand the Fypon product offerings that enhance entryway systems and other parts of the home. In 2011 the company introduced the Fypon® Stone & Timber collection featuring more than 270 polyurethane pieces crafted with either a realistic stone or woodgrain texture. The decorative millwork products are created to accent homes with stone, stucco and timber as major design themes. Unique product introductions such as these have consistently helped Fypon earn the No. one ranking in the Builder Brand Use Study in the categories of brand familiarity, brands used in the past two years and brands used the most in both the “Decorative Mouldings/Trim/Columns: Interior” and “Decorative Mouldings & Columns: Exterior” categories.

Looking Toward the Future
Within the building products industry, Therma-Tru takes pride in its reputation as the company that offers the entire entryway system, not just different parts and pieces. The company offers slabs, glass and components that are designed and tested to work together.

“Therma-Tru engineers its doors to work together for ease of installation, unified aesthetic appeal and long-term durability,” says Randich. “We have remained competitive throughout our five-decades of history because of the quality of our products, our competitive price points, by continuing to lead in innovation, and by providing one-stop-shop aspects for trend designs in entryway systems.”

The company has pioneered several door visualization tools over the year to make it easy for homeowners and building industry professionals to select door styles that complement home designs. The “Door Designer” program (located at allows homeowners to customize an on-screen entryway by “trying on” different door styles and glass packages, along with selecting various colors for the sample home’s exterior, roof and façade. The “My Saved Doors” tool (located at allows homeowners to upload a photo of their existing home to the site and then browse Therma-Tru’s online product catalog to select doors they like. Therma-Tru also offers the Picture Perfect™ Virtual Designer (at that provides homeowners with the opportunity to upload pictures of their own home and make changes online in either the comfort of their own home or in a showroom by swapping in different door styles.

“We are completely dedicated to making door selection and installation a smooth-flowing experience in every way possible for both homeowners and building industry professionals,” says Randich. “Our team is just as committed today as we were 50 years ago to providing top quality products and support to our customers.

“Since 1962 the dedicated workers at Therma-Tru have been devoted to revolutionizing the home improvement industry with unsurpassed innovations and technologies in door systems. And in 1982 our company changed the door industry forever by launching the first fiberglass entry door in the market. We have a history worthy of celebrating --- and employees, distributors and customers more than worthy of our thanks.”

About Therma-Tru
Therma-Tru is the nation’s leading manufacturer and most preferred brand of fiberglass and steel exterior door systems. Founded in 1962, Therma-Tru pioneered the fiberglass entry door industry, and today offers a complete portfolio of entry and patio door system solutions, including decorative glass doorlites, sidelites and transoms, and door components. The company also offers low-maintenance Fypon urethane and PVC products. Headquartered in Maumee, Ohio, Therma-Tru is part of leading consumer brands company Fortune Brands Inc. (NYSE: FO). For more information, visit, or call (800) 537-8827.

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