Door maker fends off international 'big boys'

New Zealand's largest interior door maker is holding its own against intense competition from overseas companies.

New Zealand's largest interior door maker is holding its own against intense competition from overseas companies.

Superior Doors, a family-owned business based in Papakura, was started 21 years ago and has outlasted competitors such as Fletcher's Plyco and Carter Holt Harvey's Bestwood.

It will receive its Building Research Association (Branz) certification today, which general manager Richard Martin told NBR ONLINE gives the company increased credibility.

"With the leaking buildings and other things going on in the building industry it's extremely important people buy based on quality, not just price.

"Part of the BRANZ appraisal for our product is the product has to be in situ for between five and 15 years.

"So we've been able to prove our products can last that long without being compromised at all."

Superior Doors employs about 30 staff and produces about 3000 doors a week.

"That's a lot of doors when you consider there isn't much building going on at the moment, and the general economy is pretty bad," Mr Martin says.

But while it might be New Zealand's largest interior door maker, he says it cannot be complacent. 

"The big boys out of Australia are here now, so we have to be innovative and do things quite differently from the way it has traditionally been done."

He says one of Superior's innovations is using a rib-core polystyrene in the door core, while other companies are still using the traditional paper honeycomb core.

"A rib-core polystyrene gives you about a 42% bonding between the skin and the core of the door compared to about 4% bonding when you use paper, resulting in a flatter and stronger door," Mr Martin says. 

"We were the first company in New Zealand to make cavity slider doors – where the door slides into a gap in the wall – with steel in them to increase the integrity so they didn't warp.

"That has been extremely successful. Cavity slider doors were a problem for every door manufacturer."

Superior's doors, which are mainly used in residential homes, are made out of MDF supplied by New Zealand manufacturers and the frames are outsourced to a Putaruru company. 

About 10% of the doors are exported indirectly, but Mr Martin says most of its products will stay in New Zealand.

"The building projects based in the South Island and in Auckland will take up most of the manufacturing capacity."

After seeing growth in sales of 45% over the past year, Mr Martin says the company is planning to grow another 50% in the first quarter of next year.

"We've had extremely good loyalty from existing clients and we've gained a lot of new ones."