Wanted to Love Anderson Doors, but Didn't!

karenmanessMarch 30, 2010

I'm driving myself crazy trying to figure out which sliding patio door to purchase. Our opening is 88"x80" so the door will have to be custom made. Marvin quote was $3800, Anderson was $2300, Peachtree was $2000. We thought perhaps the Anderson would be the best value option, so I went to look at it closer today. However, I was not all that impressed! I looked at the 200 Narroline as well as the 400 Frenchwood. I liked the greater open glass area of the Narroline, but the 400 did seem like a sturdier door overall. However, on both I was not terribly impressed with the construction details. On both, the bead of silicone around the perimeter of the glass area looked sort of sloppy. Both doors also use laminated veneer lumber in the frame, which I'm not sure about. The salesman assured me the LVL was very strong and sturdy (basically, multiple layers of wood glued together with the grains criss-crossed). However, it seemed sort of like a cheap approach to me, but maybe it is really stronger and superior to solid wood. I thought the hardware seemed a little flimsy and worried I'd end up breaking the deadbolt at some point. Also, and this may have just been the floor model, but neither door wanted to stay firmly closed unless it was locked. When I just pushed the door closed without locking it, you could see a gap which would basically kill off your energy efficiency. I don't really like the restrictions of options on these doors either... the 400 is only available with the High Performance Low-E4 glass, which I believe gives you the "self cleaning" titanium dioxide layer on the outer glass. However, this door will be under a patio roof so will not see sun or rain and therefore this TiO2 layer will never do anything for us. I asked the salesman if it would scratch and he said probably, so that's a concern considering I have 2 kids and 2 cats. But the regular Low E coating may also be scratchable. Basically, I was hoping to be suitably impressed with one or the other of these doors that I would be ready to place an order, but I wasn't. Anderson being a long-lived company with what seems to be better than average (for the industry) warranty support and customer service were the things that attracted me. Also, the $1500 cost savings when compared to the Marvin option. Can anyone dispel my misgivings about the Andersons? I may try to go to another showroom or two and see a few more floor models before basing my opinion on just the one. But I would love to hear others' personal experiences with these doors in the meantime! Thanks!

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I too am looking for sliding glass patio doors. I just went to a Marvin showroom, followed by an Andersen showroom. The Marvin sliding doors were awesome, and so was the price. I got scared by the price, so I went to Andersen. It was kinda like seeing the Sony TV, and then the RCA TV. The RCA will likely do the job, but nowhere as nice as the Sony. I agree with all your impressions about the Andersen, so you are not alone or overly-critical. I have crossed Andersen off the list because of some of the things you've noted that I saw too. I am going to try some other brands like Kolbe and Loewen and see how they price out.

I currently have a Pella sliding glass door, and I do not like Pella's "patented technology" where the track is on the outside. Pella says it helps with wind protection and some other things, and there are likely experts on this forum who can explain it better. But having lived with it, I don't like it. I am just mentioning this in case you are looking at Pella too.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 6:21PM
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Thanks, it's good to know it's not just me. I'm going to try to look at Kolbe, but there are no Loewen dealers within 100 miles of here. Thanks for the comment about Pella doors. We had some windows replaced with Pellas a few years ago, so I went to them first to get a door price and they quoted $5000 (that includes installation), so their quote was sky high. However, after I saw the Andersons yesterday I looked at a Pella door again and thought it did seem like a nice door. But it's good to know the track on the outside thing may not be all that great. I had wondered about that. Plus, the cost is more than Marvin, so not sure there would be any reason to go the Pella route. What is it about the track design that is bothersome? Is it hard to operate?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 11:42AM
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Pella's outside track allows debris to get in the track, it makes the door harder to operate, the screen door is then on the inside rather than the outside, and also it can be broken into easier. Pella will say they have a "clip" that prevents break-ins, but I'm not convinced. Just my $.02. Also I just saw the thread on here called "caveat emptor Pella", so you can read that.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 5:03PM
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That does sound like a pain with the Pella door. Screen on the inside?! My cats would shred it. Good to know.

I've been pounding the pavement trying to see what I can see about other door options. I don't live near a big metro area, though, so there aren't a plethora of showrooms to visit. I've seen 3 different Anderson Frenchwood doors, though, and I still feel the same about them. I saw a Peachtree door today that I liked pretty well. It seemed to "seat" when closed (but not locked) much better than the Anderson did. With the Anderson, it just seemed like you had to lock it to be sure it was completely closed. None of the doors seem to have very stellar hardware, though, including the Peachtree. The warranty on the Peachtree isn't that great either - 20 yrs on the glass but only 2 yrs on everything else. The "big boys" offer a 10 year warranty on hardware, etc. so 2 years make it sound like they almost expect it to break. My husband liked the Peachtree door, though, so that was a plus (he is picky). This same dealer also sells Marvin and I asked him if Marvin was really worth $1800 more than the Peachtree and he said "no" without hesitation. So, Marvin is off the list due to cost, Pella due to cost and design, and Anderson due to design. Peachtree is on the list but I have reservations about the warranty. I have been completely unsuccessful in seeing a Jeld-Wen or Kolbe. There are dealers here but nobody has a display model and I just can't see plunking down $2000 for a door if I haven't been able to kick the tires, you know!? Chicago, have you had any luck with your door search? I feel like I have exhausted my options in this area and may just have to default to the Peachtree and hope for the best re: the 2 year warranty.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 2:06PM
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My info on the Peachtree warranty was wrong. I looked online at the warranty and it is 20 years on glass and 10 on non-glass parts, all non-transferable. When I asked the Peachtree dealer about the warranty, he said the following "I have a memo from Peachtree dated April 1 2010. It says that Products ( glass and material) will be free from defects in material and workmanship for a full 20 years. Products will no longer be pro-rated after the initial 10 years. This is now in force." However, I can't find this information on the Peachtree website so I don't know if it applies to all their products or just something specific. In any case, the warranty is better than the 2 years I mentioned in my previous post. I have my installer picked out and have been asking him his opinions on the doors he has installed over the years. He favors Marvin but said Anderson appeared to be a quality door as well. He mentioned that he had been impressed with Jeld-Wen doors they have been installing lately. When I asked him about Peachtree, though, he said they had installed one a few years ago and it seemed to lack the quality as compared to Anderson. Anyway, that's just his opinion from an installer's perspective. I imagine he is basing his assessment mainly on the perceived sturdiness of the door at installation.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 3:16PM
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In answer to your question, I went with the Marvin. I decided it was worth it.

I looked at many sliding glass door brands, and the only one I liked besides the Marvin was the Loewen, which I actually liked even more than the Marvin. Loewen's "french style" sliding glass door was better than anything else I've seen. Also, Loewen patio doors come standard with Douglas Fir (Marvin has it as an optional upgrade). However, Loewen was priced even higher than the Marvin. Also, I could only find a couple of showrooms in a 25-mile radius that carried Loewen, so I was worried about customer service. Marvin, on the other hand, has an enormous presence here, there are quite a number of places that sell it, and their customer service, at least around here, has a great reputation.

I didn't see Peachtree, so maybe it's not available around here. I did strongly consider Weather Shield, which says it has completely redesigned its windows/doors a couple of years ago, and the redesign is supposed to be great. However, Weather Shield was priced within a couple of hundred dollars of the Marvin, and isn't a known quantity the way Marvin is (at least to me), so I went with the Marvin. I also looked at Kolbe. Kolbe is a much lower price point, and for the money it is a better choice IMO than the Andersen.

Just a quick note - it's spelled "Andersen" with an "e", no "o". I'm only correcting you because if you are doing searches on this site or elsewhere, you will come up with more info if you spell it correctly.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 4:08PM
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Weathershield actually bought Peachtree about 5 years ago. The Peachtree salesman told me they make both brands in the same facility, that they just stick different labels on them. Are you using a standard sized door? At 88" wide, mine will have to be custom and Marvin was waaayy more than anyone else. The Marvin door was $3800 while everyone else was in the $2000 range. That's interesting that you had a Weathershield quote within a couple hundred dollars of the Marvin quote. For me, Marvin was almost double everyone else including Peachtree/Weathershield. The only sliding door floor models I've been able to see are the Peachtree and the Andersen (thanks for the spell check!). You can find hinged doors to look at in other brands around here, but not sliders. It's frustrating! I want to see some other options before I commit but I may have to drive 100 miles or so to do it.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Regarding pricing, make sure you are comparing apples to apples with respect to materials, style and cladding. If you can't see the actual door, the salespeople should at least have a cutaway where you can see the thickness of the aluminum cladding, and how the door is constructed. Since you say you need a custom size, make sure the Peachtree and others you have looked at are quoting you the custom size option too.

Also, there is a way to get around the custom size issue. Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact method my installer was talking about (it turns out I didn't need it), but try posting here and asking. It was something about you can get a standard size sliding glass door if it is within 2" of your custom size, and use some kind of frame and filler to get it to fit. My installer said he has been doing this for years, and there is absolutely no problems, as the frame/filler gets fused to the door and become one. Sorry I am so lame at describing this, you should ask this forum and/or the Remodeling Forum, because you could save a lot by not having to go custom (post something like "How can I Install Standard Size Sliding Door in Custom Size Opening?").

Also, prices do vary regionally, and I think a lot depends on how available a product is in your area. I believe if I shopped for Loewen on the west coast it would be much less expensive than the price I saw, because there isn't much Loewen availability here. Conversely, I can buy Marvin at a dozen places within just a few miles, and they are all competing with each other, so the Marvin prices are better.

I didn't know Weather Shield bought Peachtree. Actually I was at Menard's this morning, and saw Peachtree there, so it is sold here locally. I am not sure I agree with your salesperson that it's just a question of "sticking different labels on them". You could post on this forum, and ask that question. Having now looked at both, I think the analogy is Toyota/Lexus (setting aside the whole Toyota recall thing!), in that Toyota and Lexus cars are the same platform, but the Lexus has many more luxury features to set them apart from the Toyota. The Peachtree to me looked more lower-end than the Weather Shield I saw. I was impressed by the Weather Shield cutaway that was at the showroom, which made it seem comparable to the Marvin in thickness of materials and overall build. However, evidently the Weather Shield pre-2008 had problems, and the redesign is supposed to be so much better, but I didn't have enough verification for that to make me choose the Weather Shield over the Marvin, since they were priced so close together.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 11:57AM
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Meant to add to my previous post that your quote of $3800 for an 88" Marvin sliding glass door is nuts, even for a custom size Marvin. I would revisit that price, go to another dealer, or ask the dealer you saw to go over with you what makes up that $3800. Something is off there.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:10PM
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I work for the Marvin distrubtor in the Northwest. There are a lot of great doors out there and from the sounds of it you were quoted a Marvin Ultimate Sliding French Door, which features a large bottom rail and traditional stiles. With only an 80" rough opening height, your concerns on visible daylight are completely valid.

You may want to consider a Marvin Sliding Patio Door, which features narrower 3" stiles and rails. This will give you the daylight you're looking for with the functionality, construction and performance of a Marvin Door. The Sliding Patio doors are a bit less than the Sliding French.

Of course reframing your opening to a standard size, whether a Marvin or Anderson size, would drastically reduce the cost of your replacement product. Marvin makes a standard size Sliding French or Sliding Patio door to fit in a 72" x 80" rough opening.

The other option, would be purchase a standard size door (72" width) and frame in a tempered direct glaze window to one side of the door. This makes the product cheaper, and fills your current opening, but changes the aesthetics.

I hope this helps. Good Luck with your project. You can find addtional Marvin Dealers at the Marvin website, should you need a comparison price.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marvin.com

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 2:15PM
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