Issues with Kolbe and Kolbe windows-FYI

deedlesJune 22, 2013


Usually post on kitchens but thought I'd hop over here to share the issues we've had with our Kolbe windows.

First, we ordered a triple bank, double bank and one single: all double hung. We've gone with their higher end 'Sterling' line and the 10 year warranty K-Kron finish for the outside wood trim. Beautiful windows however, in that first set of windows, which were ordered at two different times about a month apart, 3 of the 6 sash 'stuck' together and when we opened them, a piece of wood ripped out of the top rail of the bottom sash on each of the 3.

Now in our second order of windows, 4 big single double hung, one of the frames is 3/16" smaller at the top than the bottom. Not noticeable until we tried to put the screen in and it wouldn't go. Our installer measured and found the discrepency and also noted that because the wood was cut wrong (how does this happen in the world of CAD and computers and etc, ) they forced it together and there was a sizable crack/gap at the corner of the window. Pretty much would be the end of the 10 year warranty paint finish once water got in there.

To be fair, Kolbe and our local supplier have made no bones about replacing all the sash and now also the frame for this window but hello... quality control? We'll now wait another month or more for the frame so we can re-install it. PIA.

We asked our installer friend which window he though was the best and he said 'none of them, I don't think they are any good windows anymore'. He's seen a lot over the years and says the quality overall is downward trending in his opinion.

Anyway, thought I'd share our experience and maybe it'll be a head up to someone down the road.

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Things happen from all and every manufacturer. What separates the good from the bad starts with accepting responsibility and taking care of the issues when they occur. Tough to fault them when they readily accept that responsibility and step up and fix it.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 8:27AM
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Windows on Washington


Something will always go wrong. It is all about what you do in response.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 9:41AM
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But Kolbe and Kolbe are rectifying the issue. Whats the problem?
They make tens of thousand of windows per year, some will have issues, thats called life. As long as they fix the issue.

This post was edited by mmarse1 on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 10:54

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 10:53AM
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+1 to the above. They seems to have fewer issues in my experience than some others, you just happen to be one of the unlucky few. The fact that they are taking care of the issues no questions asked is very telling as well.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Yes, they have and are fixing it, but doesn't it seem odd overall to have ordered 7 windows and then have to get elements replaced on 4 of them? And all from different ordering time periods?

I'm not dissing them for stepping up, of course they have to make it right. Just thought in case someone else had issues down the road I'd post this as an FYI. FYI for damage possibilities and also FYI for Kolbe making things right.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 9:12AM
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Windows on Washington

Depending on the timing, it could have been an issue with that specific paint color and/or curing time.

Things can go on for a bit unchecked or unnoticed prior to determining what the issue is.

I have seen it many times.

Not something you typically hear of with the K&K folks but I am sure they will make sure it doesn't happen again.

Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 10:40AM
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Even with the tightest regulations in quality a small change in the calibration of a machine can cause an issue of miter separation. K&K deserve a hand for taking the right steps for you and replacing. I say this as a Marvin service person

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:04AM
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I didn't know they were still in business.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 10:39PM
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Update on the Kolbe window frame: I received an email today from the glass company salesperson where we bought these windows saying that the new frame will be delivered August 5th. She goes on to say this: "We were notified your new window frame will be coming in the week of 08.05.13. We are charged for the new frame. Then when we return the original (bad) frame, Kolbe reimburses us. So we will follow that same procedure. There will be a charge for the new frame that we will reimburse when the original (bad) frame is returned."

Um. This seems not SOP. Isn't this a warranty issue? Why on earth shouldn't they deliver the frame and put it in and then backcharge Kolbe? We should have to rehire the installer for a defective window that has a 10 year warranty? When we needed the 3 defective sash replaced from our last order, one of their field people brought them to us and swapped them out for us.

Someone tell me why I'm wrong in thinking this email from her is BS, please.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 10:00PM
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I would not charge my client in such a scenario, nor do I believe that most would. Did you deal with a very small company that could be strapped for cash? It just isn't logical to inconvenience a client like that IMO, unless there is something that I'm missing here.
I would tell them that you have already paid for completed, defect-free windows which you have yet to receive in full, and that you have no intention of paying additional charges even if they will be reimbursed. I'm very surprised they would do that given the circumstances.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 10:47AM
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Windows on Washington

Neither would we.

The contractor being charged by the manufacturer and then getting credit is not out of the realm of normalcy but I would not charge my client.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 2:50PM
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It's a quite large local company that has been in business for decades. I'm going to ask the sales rep if this is her idea: if so, I'm talking to her boss. If it's coming from above her, I'm talking to that person. No way in H-E-double-L am I going to allow a charge at all. I'll let you know what happens Monday when I talk to the rep. I'm thinking she's kind of doofy.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 5:17PM
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My thought is that you should get satisfactory results by moving up the ladder of authority. You are probably correct that this just an inexperienced sales person that is unaware of proper procedure in this case.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 6:04PM
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I had issues with my Kolbe's we put in our new home under construction. They sent all of the south windows with the wrong glass in it. Also one of the windows developed a stress crack in it. One of the factory mulled units the trim covering the joint kept coming off. However the rep, factory, and sales company were all involved and jumped on the issue right away. They replaced all of the glass including the cracked one. Not once was money/charge ever mentioned. My factory rep emailed and called me with updates not only working with him on the order but also replacing the glass. Obviously the glass should have been sent correctly to begin with, however since the house was and is still under construction, the swap was not a big issue for me and they handled it quickly and professionally. I have no issue recommending them to any of my clients. They are a great window.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Well, I just talked to the rep and asked if this was her decision or someone up the chain. "Er, well, it's what Kolbe decides. We're kind of just the middle man." I explained to her why this was not any problem of ours and was far removed from anything resembling good customer service, in light of the fact that we've already paid in full for what we don't yet have, we have to rehire people to reinstall the replacement at our cost and we have to put off finishing that part of the house until the window is here in 3 or 4 more weeks. I suggested when they deliver the new frame, their guy waits for the old frame or maybe puts it in for us and they can then charge Kolbe for their trouble. She said she understood and maybe if I could "sign something" saying we'll return the old frame it would be okay. Do they think we're going to split town with a defective frame or something? Jeepers. I asked to talk to her boss who said this was the first he'd heard of it and would let me know what he found out. I told him that whatever he 'found out', the answer from us was the same. Not paying for anything further.

I think I may look for another Kolbe dealer.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 11:48AM
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All of your troubles are with the distributor/dealer for Kolbe. When dealing with warranty items Kolbe will charge the distributor for the product then reimburse the cost once the defective item is returned. However, this cost should NOT be put on to the customer. Deciding to do this is purely the decision of the distributor.

My own company's policy is 5 years free labor on all warranty items. I wish others would follow this and I hope you the best.

If you have any further issues with warranty items you can also contact the regional sales rep for Kolbe. They should make sure things are taken care of properly on their end.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kolbe Regional Rep

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Quality control does seem to be Kolbe's weak point. Your rep is correct when she said Kolbe charges them for the replacement parts, but that should never be your problem. The only time it creates an issue is if your contractor disposes of the part that was supposed to be shipped back to the manufacturer.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:18PM
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