Published May 25, 2020 9:45:00 AM

Beauty is Only Skin Deep – Why Product Performance Matters

Centuries ago, when generations long since passed were first establishing themselves in Colonial America, they built their homes to be functional. Some décor here and there was nice if it was available, but not as sought-after and not nearly as commonplace as it is today for the average homeowner. People built homes to serve a purpose: providing shelter. They were functional and strong, but not for show. Builders used the most durable elements they had available, as opposed to the prettiest. 

As the United States expanded and developed its built environment, homebuilders discovered different materials, building elements and design practices appropriate for each climate and region. For instance, New England’s cold winters required steep, pitched roofs to accommodate heavy snowfall, and thus they became a defining characteristic of Cape Cods. In the deep south, on the other hand, homes were built narrow and deep to help maximize airflow and ventilate the home during hot, humid summers. 

As the years progressed, and through today, we’ve seen architectural styles emerge from various regions and eras, each with distinct characteristics and features. But one thing is common across all designs — from the earliest Cape Cods to Louisiana shotgun homes — they were first and foremost built to be functional with materials and products that stand up against time and weather. 

Function remains significant in homebuilding and product engineering, but, influenced by the wealth of home renovation shows and blogs at their fingertips, today’s audience of design-savvy homeowners demands both functionality and beauty in the elements of their homes. 

As manufacturers, we face the challenge of producing functional, beautiful and design-friendly products without skimping or cutting corners on product performance. Built-in shelves must blend seamlessly into the walls and house books, photos and vacation souvenirs without sagging. The fireplace should blend into the surrounding aesthetic while providing warmth to the rest of the room. The front door and its doorglass contribute to curb appeal but need the strength and durability to weather the elements. 

Why Product Performance Matters

As building industry professionals, we know a product’s value comes from its long-term performance. After all, beauty is only skin deep. As dealers and distributors of building products, you have the responsibility of selling those products that will provide security and durability through long-lasting performance. Your challenge is doing this while also meeting homeowners’ aesthetic visions. 

Hopefully, selling brands like ODL relieves some of the pressure. “Building Value into Building Products” isn’t our mission statement just because it sounds good; it’s the backbone of our business model. While we strive to offer an array of doorglass designs to meet any homeowner’s taste, as well as doorglass frames and accessories that perfectly complement their surroundings, our priority has always been the performance of our products. 

ODL’s Commitment

All ODL products are designed to meet or exceed demanding quality standards and provide years of trouble-free performance. For example, all of our decorative doorglass is subject to extensive testing, including air and water resistance tests, slam and cycle tests and evaluation for sound transmission class and suppression. Our severe weather doorglass - available for many of our products - takes the testing up a notch and undergoes missile impact testing. We do this to provide added product performance assurance to homeowners in hurricane- or wind-prone regions. 

We also require all ODL products to meet rigorous code criteria, including design pressure requirements and structural integrity criteria that meet industry standards for air tightness, water tightness, wind resistance and forced entry resistance. In testing for these structural integrity criteria, we use using the AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 Standards/Specification for windows and doors, in addition to other industry standards, such as TAS 201, 202 and 203. Following these standards has enabled us to receive certification from the National Accreditation and Management Institute’s Quality Assurance Program.

To some, the amount of product testing and quality assurance that ODL products undergo may seem extreme, but having these standards in place is what makes us able to offer products that will bring value – as well as beauty – to our customers.

We’ve come a long way from the earliest American home designs. The average Colonial Americans may have considered four walls and a sturdy roof good enough, but each generation since has left their mark on the ways and materials we use to build homes as well as performance standards. Fast forward to today: we’ve innovated new and better building products, we’ve improved our building practices and we’ve found ways to build homes to be just as beautiful as they are functional. But let us never forget that beauty is only skin deep. The homes that withstand time and the elements are the ones built with solid, well-engineered products. 

To learn more about our product performance criteria, click here.

To view our digital catalog, visit

Related Blogs