TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF INNOVATION:
THERMA-TRU DRIVES THE FIBERGLASS ENTRY DOOR INDUSTRY
Creator of Fiberglass Door Category Continues to Break New Ground
With a Complete Portfolio of Products for Today’s
Home Builders and Remodelers
MAUMEE, Ohio (Feb. 1, 2008) ― It was a bold innovation for the home-building market: 25 years ago Therma-Tru® introduced an entryway door that looked as a beautiful as wood but performed with the durability of steel. In the process, the company created an entirely new product category that has since revolutionized the industry — the fiberglass exterior door. Now, as the nation’s leading manufacturer and most preferred brand of fiberglass and steel exterior door systems, Therma-Tru celebrates 25 years of innovation by offering an expanded portfolio of products designed for today’s home builders and remodeling contractors.
Since Therma-Tru pioneered the fiberglass door category in 1983, it has continued to lead and grow the category with a continuous stream of new products to meet the needs of home builders, contractors and their customers. In the span of a quarter of a century, the fiberglass door category has grown to comprise more than 20 percent of the 13-million-unit U.S. exterior door market. Studies also show that the fiberglass entry door category is the only growth area within doors and is expected to grow to about 25 percent by 2010.¹
“Since we introduced the first fiberglass entry door, the Fiber-Classic®, we have continued to invest in new technologies that were aimed to great performance, great looks and value for builders, remodelers and consumers, so much so that today nearly one out of five entry doors sold are fiberglass,” says David Randich, president of Therma-Tru Doors. “We have the proud heritage of being a fast growing company that has always had great relationships with our trade partners, builders and remodelers.”
1962: A small company thinks big
Therma-Tru’s roots go back to 1962 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 the company could also supply metal doors, which were becoming more popular at the time. Seeing growth potential, the company added steel doors to its product line. Shortly after, profits increased, and it dropped making paneling altogether.
1970s: The fiberglass door evolution
“People liked the way steel doors performed, but they still liked the way wood looked. We felt if we could do something similar with fiberglass, it would be an exciting marketing opportunity,” says Dave Haddix, Therma-Tru CFO and 28-year veteran of the company. “Fiberglass has so many benefits. It won’t rust or dent like steel. It doesn’t warp or crack or split like wood does. It’s really an engineering material that allows us to build a lot of functionality and aesthetics into a door.””
By the 1970s, the company continued to grow as the energy crisis created increased demand for insulated steel doors. The company began taking a systems approach to product development, focusing not only on entryway doors but also on entire entryway systems to offer to trade professionals and consumers. This approach led to the development of a true innovation—the Fiber-Classic door.
1980s: The birth of a new category
After changing its name to Therma-Tru in 1982, the company launched its Fiber-Classic style, the first fiberglass door on the market, in 1983. “People just couldn’t believe it,” says Deke Welles, son of founder David K. Welles and President of Therma-Tru from 1989 - 2001. “The product that looked so good was actually made of fiberglass.”
Although it took a while for the market to embrace the product fully, Therma-Tru continued to push its creation, stressing to buyers that its door, like many popular building products, was built with material that had evolved over time due to superior technologies. Eventually, as more homeowners discovered the beauty and durability of the Fiber-Classic fiberglass door, the idea caught on, inspiring both the competition as well as Therma-Tru to take the idea to the next level.
1990s: A good product gets even better
Determined to have the best fiberglass door on the market, Therma-Tru unveiled the
Classic-Craft® line in 1994, featuring square solid wood edges and a beautiful, realistic wood-grain finish that offered all the benefits of fiberglass. The value-priced Smooth-Star® door followed in 1999, giving consumers the aesthetic look of steel with the durability and performance of fiberglass. The success of the Classic-Craft and Smooth Star door lines made Therma-Tru the leading fiberglass and steel entry door brand in the United States.
2007: High performance with style
With the introduction of its Tru-Defense System for entry and patio doors in 2007, Therma-Tru once again took its advanced engineering to an entirely new level, providing builders and remodelers with a door designed to withstand damaging weather and harsh conditions. Designed to have an air, water and structural performance rating of DP-40 or higher, Tru-Defense doors are independently tested and certified by the National Accreditation and Management Institute (NAMI). The DP-40 rating indicates that the unit passed a structural test pressure of 60 lbs. per square foot equal to 150-mph winds and a water penetration test under conditions equal to eight inches of rain per hour driven by 49-mph winds; and an air infiltration test pressure of 1.57 lbs. per square foot equal to 25-mph winds.
The Tru-Defense System also was part of the largest product introduction in Therma-Tru history. Other innovations included a new line of impact rated entry products, decorative glass designs for dramatic entryways; elegant eight-foot door styles; and the Pro-Edge line of steel doors featuring high definition panel embossing.
Therma-Tru today: the legacy continues
Therma-Tru continues its legacy of innovation with a variety of new products designed to meet today’s building trends. For example, 2008 introductions include new decorative glass designs, reflecting the popularity of modern and craftsman styling. The designs complement an array of glass options that meet a variety of home architectural styles. The company has also added impact-rated decorative glass, half-round transoms to let more light in, internal blinds for select Fiber-Classic door systems and two new Smooth-Star door styles that coordinate with popular interior door designs. Also new is authentic-looking hardware to accessorize the Classic-Craft Rustic Collection.
The company has continued to grow as well. As a fast-paced entrepreneurial brand leader in the exterior door business, Therma-Tru’s progress can be attributed to its ongoing development of innovative products and systems and its expansion into new channels and market segments. With five facilities in the U.S. and Mexico, and more than 1,600 employees, the company focuses on products for the residential new construction and repair and remodel segments in North America.
Now a part of Fortune Brands, a leading consumer brands company, Therma-Tru continues its commitment to help its customers through new innovations that meet today’s home building and remodeling needs and trends.
In 2008, Fortune Brands named David Randich president of Therma-Tru Doors, succeeding Carl Hedlund, who retired at the end of 2007. Randich joined the company from Armstrong World Industries Inc., a global leader in the design and manufacture of floors, ceilings and cabinets, where he spent 24 years in a variety of leadership roles including his most recent position as CEO of the company’s floor-covering business in Europe. Passionate about building brands through delivering quality products and service, his extensive experience in varied market and product categories with multiple supply chain configurations has prepared him well to lead Therma-Tru into the future.
“I am proud to work with our team of associates as we build upon a proud history of delivering demonstrable value, quality and service to our customers,” Randich says.
Therma-Tru Doors 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. Therma-Tru, headquartered in Maumee, Ohio, is part of leading consumer brands company Fortune Brands Inc. (NYSE: FO). For more information on Therma-Tru Doors, visit www.thermatru.com or call (800) 537-8827.
¹ Therma-Tru market intelligence
CONTACT: Therma-Tru, Sara Theis, 419-891-7400 ext. 7426.