Andersen windows

lexmomof3August 23, 2012

Can someone give me the rundown on the difference between the Andersen 200 series, 400 series and architectural series windows? I've looked at their website and clearly the architectural series offers the most options but beyond the options for hardware, colors, etc. what are the differences? I'm trying to educate myself on the energy efficiency of windows so I'm guessing that is also part of the differences. Also, are there other alternatives to Andersen that you'd recommend?

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I'm a Marvin Integrity Marvin Ultimate girl, myself when it comes to a clad window. The Andersen windows are beautiful, however, they have a reputation for failing in a myriad number of ways. That's the bad news. The good news is that they do stand behind their windows and will correct the problem. You may want to post on the Windows Forum. I've also posted a link to a post on windows where I listed out what my research had uncovered including the Andersens.

Hope this helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Window Research Thread

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 9:46PM
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First, to properly compare windows you must specify the type of operation because there is little in common between them. To make it simple I will assume you are talking about double hungs.

The Andersen Architectural series is a monumental aluminum clad wood window that is about 8 time more expensive than the 200 series model so it would serve no purpose to compare them.

The rest of the Andersens you mentioned have wood frames with vinyl cladding and there are very few colors.

The sill of the 200 series doesn't slope enough or overhang enough to keep water out of the building and has a wood sash painted with PPG Flexicron instead of a cladding although Andersen likes to call it a cladding. This is a builder/developer window that can be bought at great discount from professional supply houses.

The 400 series "Tilt-Wash" has the same painted sash as the 200 but the frame is vinyl clad and has a proper sill.

The 400 series (yes, it is confusing) "Woodwright" has the same frame and sill as the Tilt Wash but the sash is clad with a plastic and sawdust composite called "Fibrex".

Marvin makes an extruded aluminum clad wood window in endless colors that would be difficult to compare to the Andersen windows. It's only drawback is that it has a poorly designed sill and needs to have a PVC sub-sill added below it but this is usually needed with any high end window. Skimpy sill nosings are "in".

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 11:14PM
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You really want to go to a showroom and look at the windows from the inside and outside in order to make your decision. If you are near Boston I suggest JB Window & Sash in Chelsea. I think this is one of those things you can't figure out from pictures and pamphlets online.

Then again, I'm a bit of a nut about windows.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 7:41AM
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JB Sash & Door gives the same commercial supplier price to homeowners, builders and architects but they are justifiably suspicious of homeowners who are trying to get a quote so they can ask Home Depot to beat it.

Another good source is J&C Adams in Cambridge who are even more paranoid about being "shopped" by consumers.

Both of these companies will give you good advice, a fair price and deliver when they say they will because they have special dealership status with the window companies and Home Depot, Lowes, etc. do not.

Here is a link that might be useful: JB Sash & Door Inc

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:56AM
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Thanks for the replies. We're in the early stages of planning and pricing. The builder that we met with suggested Andersen 200 windows and I was a bit surprised. I haven't gotten to the point of researching windows but in the few threads I've followed, the 400 and architectural series were mentioned. Our build isn't completely high end but it's definitely higher-end. In other words, we're not expecting anything "builder-grade" in this home. I really thought he knew that from some of the finishes and features I described. He didn't ask for a budget from us so I know he's not trying to fit within a number. We haven't selected him yet but he was on our short list based on recommendations. Guess I need to make sure we're all on the same page.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 7:22PM
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Our plan currently calls for Andersen 200 tilt+wash double hungs, but I'm having a little reservation due to this:

"The sill of the 200 series doesn't slope enough or overhang enough to keep water out of the building and has a wood sash painted with PPG Flexicron instead of a cladding although Andersen likes to call it a cladding. This is a builder/developer window that can be bought at great discount from professional supply houses."

Is the water issue something that can be addressed or "fixed" during installation?? Should I be avoiding this window?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:21PM
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Go for the 400's. Many contractors will steer you towards the 200's but they really are slightly better than a "builders grade" window. Go to the showroom and feel the difference. They open better, they feel much sturdier, worth the money IMHO.

Our contractor has been very upfront and honest with us and he was one of the only ones when we were receiving bids to suggest that we do not downgrade to the 200's to save money. It's a significant number, but then again think about it why would there be such a big difference in price if they were virtually the same product?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 5:48PM
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The first thing to look at in a window design is the sill detail. If the window manufacturer is serious about the window the sill will have a downward and outward slope and there will be a drip groove under the nose of the sill and a groove to receive the top of the exterior cladding material. This is the way windows have been successfully designed for hundreds of years because water still runs over a sill nose and tries to travel back against the cladding and if it is successful water will get behind your siding and possibly inside your wall cavity.

Here is the Andersen 200 TW sill detail:

Here is the Andersen 400 TW sill detail.

Both windows are competitively priced because they have a tough paint coating instead of a cladding.

But for weather resistance gravity is your friend if you use it properly.

The 200 can be detailed so it doesn't leak under the flat sill by adding a properly sloped and grooved sub-sill just below the flat sill or using sill flashing that comes out between the next lower courses of siding but I would start with a window designed to shed water.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Haven't been back to this site for awhile but got an e-mail from another Andersen window buyer - still looks like Andersen is selling windows that let the outside in. My Andersen 200 series double hungs are great at letting the sunshine in as well as dirt and snow. Oh well - we just huddle around the fireplace all winter and stick pins in our Andersen rep voodoo doll. Come visit anytime, but bring your own firewood and warm blankets! New advertising slogan for Andersen - "We Let The Outside In!"
Don't believe me - I have photos!
Don't buy Andersen Windows or you will be very sorry!
They design these windows to fail and no amount of 'adjusting' will fix them. Buyer beware! Feel free to contact me for the real story about Andersen Windows.
Arlo Kallemeyn
cell phone 708-439-7316

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:51AM
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"Don't buy Andersen Windows or you will be very sorry!"

This is advice from someone who bought the bottom of the line model. You will find people like this complaining about poor quality radios and plastic hub caps on Toyota's cheapest model.

There is nothing wrong with the Andersen 400 Woodwright except that it only comes in a few colors but most homeowners don't find that an issue.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 11:23AM
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We have 400s in our current home which we put in as replacements 2 years ago and I love them. We have pretty large windows but they fit well. It took a bit of time to figure out how to close the tilt ins so they would not ding the wood trim. You gotta hold the tabs on either side as you pass the window by the trim.

The 200s are a lot cheaper and may be the ones with the problems. We had some older Anderson's installed when we remodelled (probably the 200's) and have had two of the seals fail. Anderson was good about replacing them for free as they were still under warranty. However, we had to pay someone to replace them.

We will be building a new home in May and will be using the Anderson 400s again.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 7:18PM
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We are also using the Andersen 400's in our build.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:53PM
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