Opinions on Pella & Built In Window Blinds?

tyjyMarch 16, 2010

We're building a new home and the builder uses Pella casement windows. Two questions:

1. Do you like your Pella Casement Windows? Or would you recommend a different brand?

2. Would you recommend built in blinds? (I'm worried about future malfunction and if dust infiltrates?)

Thank you very much for your opinions!

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I had new Pella replacement windows installed last summer in two rooms. Pella is a quality product and we are very happy with them. The day the installers came, I also had to contractors here doing work on our basement and they commented on what a great product Pella is. I didn't spend the extra for the encased blinds. While they are a nice feature, I preferred to use my own shades if I ever decided I want to change the look or would tire of the mini blinds. HTH!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:54AM
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I dont have any experience personally with Pella but if you do a search in the windows forum under "Pella" you will see a lot of discussion about the poor quality and disappointment in customer service. HTH

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 10:10AM
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Thanks for the input!

I do have reservations about those built in blinds. Good point kmcg85! I suppose I'll steer against that idea I guess, unless I hear so many cheers for it to reconsider?

I did look for Pella on the Window forum and yes indeed, there sure seems to be a lot of complaints! I did notice, however, many posting dates were 2007, 2008... so was wondering if things have improved more recently? I'm also going for the casement style, which sound more air tight from what folks were saying there. But will research rotting now!

I do wonder if Pella has improved any IF it's enough to even consider them???????? Any more opinions? (thanks!!)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 11:14AM
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We built a sunroom addition in the fall of 2008 and put in Pella designer windows with the built in blinds and mullions. We too read all the reviews on the window forum and decided to go with them anyway. It seemed as though most of the problems were attributed to incorrect installation. Ours are the double hung not the casement. We absolutely have no regrets - they are airtight - no drafts and work great.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 11:51AM
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We have several of the Pella windows with built-in blinds. IMO, the older (2002-ish) ones were hard to operate; the newer ones (2008-ish) are much easier and smoother. Dust infiltration is not a problem, and if it ever is, the blinds part is removable, so relatively easy to clean. (We've done it once so far on the older windows.)

For those of you who are wondering, the enclosed blinds come mounted to a sheet of glass and clip in like an insect screen. If I recall, the cost difference is comparable to getting nice blinds, but the enclosed ones stay clean and don't flap back and forth when the windows are opened.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 11:59AM
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We installed Pella casements and a few doors, all with blinds between the glass, back in 2005. We've been very happy with them. If there were ever a problem with the blinds, it's not all that hard to take them out, though we've never had to do that for any reason. We like that the blinds work well, stay clean, and aren't a constant source of entertainment to our cat and our young son. The windows themselves function beautifully and look very nice.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 1:52PM
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One thing I wanted to mention about casements. If the grille is not in between the glass and you get the wood removable grille, my only problem is the grille getting wet from the window being open during rain. We have casements on several upstairs windows and the grille is peeling and falling apart from years of unintentional wetness. They are not Pella, but I wouldn't get casements again for this reason. Maybe those with the newer casements can speak better about this, but it is something to consider. My new Pellas are wood double hung and are airtight. Matter of fact I couldn't believe the difference in room temperature after they were installed.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 2:38PM
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Wow! I cannot thank you all enough for taking the time to submit some advice! Really!

I'm starting to like the built in blinds idea again because dust is a huge factor for me (as in, NOT wanting to dust them!!) I had no idea they were that easy to get to. I thought they were actually SEALED in between the glass panes! So this is good news!

I'm happy to hear some better comments about the Pella brand too. I don't like being too hasty in believing 3-4 year old reviews as I'd certainly think the manufacturer would do something about products that generate "class action suits". They'd HAVE to improve if they ever want to stay in business.

I have Paramount casements now (& like them) and when it rains I have to be diligent about being home to close them or close them before I leave, for the very reason you mention kmcg85! (It's fine to me but can see why others may not appreciate that). We'll be having 4' wide overhangs in this new house (which should help a little) and casements fit the design so I guess I'm signing up for the rain issue again with open eyes.

We haven't chosen for sure which window to use but because the builder seemed to like Pella and he uses them a lot, we are certainly going to consider them.

Thanks again everyone for your input! It's nice to hear from folks who actually have the product!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 5:13PM
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I have Pella windows with the blinds inside. I have a love/hate relationship with the blinds. I love that their is no dust and I don't have to buy window treatments unless I want to dress up a room. Downside, The window shade never fully opens so you will always see the little lines which can drive you nuts. Another issue, I have them in all my windows and actually want to change out a few of them for the mini window pane look. Problem is, I can only do it on the back of my house. The front of my house would look unbalanced if I took it out of only one window. Just my two cents. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 8:19PM
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I had Pella windows with the built-in blinds in every window in my previous home (even in the sliding glass doors). They were great except that the little controls to turn the blinds wore out after a few years. However, this was some time ago and the controls may have improved since then. I would ask at a Pella display store about the controls. I was able to replace just the controls, so it was OK, but I would have preferred it if they had not worn out in the first place. The little control knobs on mine were plastic. The windows and blinds were fine though. In my current home I have regular mini blinds and they get coated in dust--ugh. If I had it to do over again I would definitely have the Pella.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:09PM
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24 years and Pella wood casement windows are still in good shape. I moved into my house 6 years ago and could not open the windows. I called Pella and had a tech come out, thinking that it would be smart to make sure all the windows worked before I ordered and installed window treatments. The Pella tech came and opened, oiled and inspected all my windows. THEN...he says; "Are you considering the Pella built in mini blinds for your windows?" I had no idea that they made them for windows this old. I was wondering what those little round plastic turn things in the corner of the windows were for. So right then and there I ordered built in blinds for the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room as well as ordering new french doors for the kitchen. They installed 2 weeks later and then went on to update the cranks (the ones that don't interfere with your blinds) to match throughout the house. Yeah, cha-ching but I am so happy I did it. Especially since the Pella installers told me that I have at least a good 10 more years of life to my windows before they might have to be replaced.

Love my built in mini's no dusting, no dirt, just one spider that somehow got in there.

One other point of interest----all the homes(1983-1990) in my neighborhood have Pella casement windows and no one has replaced any yet. Good luck with your decision.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 11:19PM
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jamaraz: wait, I thought the blinds opened like the normal slant up/down OR all the way up and virtually out of sight?! Isn't that how they work? (I don't really have plans to use them much, just to block some definite summer sun due to the way the house will sit; not really for privacy).

I better get to the store to check 'em out. I haven't done that yet, was just going off the builder's suggestion so far.

(Anyone know if there are any other casement windows to consider that might also offer those built in blinds?)

Thanks so much for helping!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 11:44PM
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tyjy, our blinds tilt open/closed and can be raised and lowered - just like any other set of blinds. When fully raised, there's about a 2.5" stack of blinds at the very top of my largest windows and doors. The smaller windows, of course, have a shorter stack of blinds when fully raised.

I think some Pella windows do (or did?) have the option of blinds that only tilt open/closed but don't raise and lower.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 8:26AM
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My windows only tilt open/closed. I have one window in the kitchen that pulls up but the string gets in the way.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 8:42AM
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Even my old ones raise and lower in addition to the tilt...

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 8:56AM
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I stayed in a guest house with the built-in blinds, and absolutely loved it. With the wood floors, built-in blinds, and half the furniture being leather, it was great for allergy sufferers. :)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 10:25AM
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I've never had a problem with our two pella sliding doors with built-in blinds. Forgotten how many years ago we got them. I opted for the string so I could open the blinds all the way up rather than the slider which didn't allow it. I'm sure they've changed designs by now and are much better, don't like having the strings but at least they've never broken unlike the Hunter Douglas blinds on the windows. You can remove the glass to clean inside but I've never had a reason to do so, no dust or bugs have filtered in there as yet. Because he were buying sliding glass doors the blinds were a must otherwise there wouldn't be a way to provide privacy.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 1:53PM
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My Pella windows have been a nightmare...I could write a book about all the problems we have had with them. Mine are large casement windows with blinds and wood grill. I won't bore you with all the details but will say, they replaced my glass 3 times in most windows, 4 times in some of the others....there are still small scratches all over them, suction cup marks that show up on days when there is condensation or if a bright light shines through them at night, and they NEVER look clean but that is an improvement over the larger gouges some of them had when they were installed. As for the blinds...a good idea but they don't always close clear to the bottom of the window, lots of light comes in through them, but they are convenient and easy to operate. We also had to have seveal of them replaced immediately after they were installed. 2 servce techs were fired over our case ( in my opinion anyway). Also, if you are staining them be careful and report any problems immediately. My french door had to be replaced because it has a big glue blob on it that wouldn't take stain. Also my double french doors had to be replaced immediately because they wouldn't open...that should have been my first clue. Our contractor installed them correctly, Pella admitted the doors were flawed. It took us almost 2 years to come to the conclusion that the glass we have is the best pella can do. If you want clean looking windows go with Marvin! They don't have blinds but you can buys some and install them over the windows! Our contractor recommended Marvin, wish we would have listened!

Good luck! Ours were installed in 2006 by the way, after the company had been sold.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 2:19PM
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We have three different brands of mostly double-hung windows in our house and our vacation house: Pella, Armstrong, and Harvey. Harveys are our favorites and Pellas are our least favorites. We had the Pellas installed maybe 9-10 years ago and they just don't look as nice as our other windows, they don't close well (there is some junky rubber sealer thing on the bottom that causes issues or just falls off), and while the blinds between the glass work okay, I got tired of them after about five years and now I'm sorry I have them.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 2:29PM
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I have no opinions about pella but wanted to say that I'm not a huge fan of the look of blinds between panes. My 2 cents for what it's worth. We have allery sufferers in our home so we are all hard wood and no window treatments except in bedrooms.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 2:56PM
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I REALLY appreciate all your input. It's awesome to hear good reviews and scary to hear bad! I need to go shopping now. (I will be interested in seeing the blinds that raise all the way up plus tilt.) At least I'll be MUCH more educated at what to look for and questions to ask! Glad to hear of alternatives as well.

You guys are GREAT! Thanks for helping me!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 2:47PM
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We put in Pella Designer Series casement windows in our addition last year. We chose the preprimed windows with cellular shades between the panes, along with the roll down screens.

Everything has been wonderful! Chicago had a nasty winter and our windows were solid and tight. The built in cellular shades work very well. Fully open, they stack to about 1 inch at the top. And if I ever tire of them, I can just change the color of the shade inside or take them out completely. It's reallly easy to clean these windows also. I can open the interior pane of glass very easily and wipe the windows. (I still have to go outside to do the external-facing glass, though.) I did this after the drywall was installed and have not had to do it since.

We chose these windows because I wanted a clean look with no other window treatments. I think Pella might be the only company that offers shades/blinds between the glass? I liked Pella's warranty and customer service also.

We did put Pella Proline (lower quality) casements and double hungs on the second floor of the addition with no problems. This line does not have the option of built in blinds or shades, I believe. No matter, they are on the second floor and no one gets a good look at them anyway. But I am still without permanent window treatments.

Do you have a Pella store nearby you can visit to check things out? It's good to see the different lines in action, to see how they open, how the internal shades/blinds work, etc...


    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 3:34PM
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I have the older Pella windows with blinds in between, but they use strings to open or close the blinds. The newer Pella windows have a slider to open or close the blinds. Does anyone know if it is possible to replace the older blinds with the new blinds (with the slider) without replacing the entire window?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 3:20PM
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