Marvin, Andersen or Pella?

oceanbeachroseJune 14, 2013

Hi, I live in a condo on the National Historic Register. I am limited in the type of window I can install: wood, Marvin Infinity, Pella Architectural, or Anderson Fibrex. I haven't priced out wood yet, but the 3 name brands are very expensive - $7000 to $9000 for 8 windows.

I want to replace the windows because they don't fit right in the window and cannot be opened or closed without a hammer and flathead screwdriver. I often can't lock them because they aren't lined up right, and this leads to the top section slipping down and leaving the window open.

Please advise. Which of these options will be most satisfactory?

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None of the above. Go Marvin ultimate or Andersen wood wright.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:35AM
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Personally I would drop the Woodwright and add Kolbe Sterling's alongside the Marvin Ultimate's.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Thanks to both. The Pella salesman came today and will give me Pella architectural for the same cost as marvin infinity. marvin ultimate is sadly out of my price range. I noticed neither of you said Pella - why?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 6:59PM
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Not a fan, don't care for the company and most every series they make has had and or still has issues and their customer service has always been suspect in my book. Plus they sell through there own stores in my area plus dealers and I personally don't think much of that business model.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 8:46PM
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Terrible customer service IMO, roll formed sash cladding. There are better choices.
I'd would agree with millworker that the Kobe is good as well. Probably better than Andersen.
I find it strange that you are so severely limited by being on the national historic register yet Andersen fibers and Marvin infinity are both approved. Both are synthetic materials which really make them nothing more than glorified plastic in my book, yet neither offer anywhere close to the same level of performance that some of the better vinyl options do.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Excellent point Karate, normally Historic Districts severely limit what type of windows you can use and composites, vinyl or even aluminum clad are generally not allowed in my area at the very least not on the street facing elevation.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:09AM
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I replaced 26 Pella windows last year and am in the middle of replacing 22 Pella windows. I am not touching the last 25 windows until next year.

What I see wrong with these windows is that the clad is folded so water slides into the sash. The glue to the sash failed. The sashes are rotted and then travel into the window sill.
Pella has not answered any e-mails or phone calls.
Pella has not answered any inquires on how to find weather stripping on 10 doors.
Pella has not answered any of my contacts except for one. They sent out a service man who said my windows have mold due to the house settling. The level shows the window sits square. The pella repair man says to take a single edge razor blade and cut out the mold. Why is there mold to begin with? The pella rep says to swing the casement window out really fast and then slam it shut to close it.

All my Pella windows installed in 1998 are failing.
None of my calls or e-mails get a response.
The cost of the windows, the cost of the new trim and the installation for 48 windows is over 60 grand.
Pella has no customer service and is selling a product that fell apart in less than 10 years.
I just took a video of two rotted sahes and how the window failed.
I will never buy Pella or a home made with Pella products.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 1:35PM
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That sounds terrible chickadee. As you can see by my post above, I am not Pella's biggest advocate and I do agree that the lapped, roll-formed sash cladding is not a good deign. That said, I do have to point out that windows cannot be held responsible for condensation which is likely how the mold formed, and they do require maintenance in the form of keeping that moisture off of them on a daily basis and periodic attention to the finish. I'm not trying to throw salt on an open wound, just pointing that out for the sake of others, and so that you don't find yourself in a similar situation in another 15 yrs should you choose another wood window. If you build a new home with wood windows and don't pay them any attention, a 10-15 year life expectancy is about right.
On your other issues of finding parts and poor service, that is consistent with what many people say. You might have better luck dealing with a local Pella retailer than you are dealing direct.

This post was edited by Karateguy on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 16:05

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 4:03PM
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I have lived in five states encompassing three different USA zones over thirty years.
I have lived in 30 year old homes and new construction in humid, dry, hot and snowy weather.
These Pella windows failed within five years of the home built. The previous home owner had replaced four doors and several sashes. The home inspection did not reveal that all the sashes were rotted. When I opened a window in the middle of a snow storm the sash fell out. I used a stocking to pull the window shut and then stuffed the window with insulation until the new window was ordered.
I agree that windows do not last decades but 14 years for an entire home to replace 72 windows is a crime.
These Pella windows have a seam that should have been under the side folds.
I sold a home in another adjoining state that was also 14 years old. The double hung vinyl windows were in great shape . There was no mold , cracks or wood rot whereas the pella made windows are rotted. Design and construction were the obvious reasons for the need to replace. It did not help that Pella did zilch, nada, rien, zip to help .
I had to stuff a french door for the winter cause Pella would not answer any calls in needing a new kerf designed weather stripping. "Windows and doors" spent hours searching for a product that would help my replacement weather strip.Windows and Doors spent two hours searching for a replacement piece that cost about 20 dollars whereas Pella stayed mute.

When Pella installed a new french door for the homeowner they reused the old weather stripping and nailed it into the door.
A Pella rep installed the new french door nailing the weather stripping . Sounds like a grand solution to a simple fix.
I am not a Pella fan.
I am dumpster diving tomorrow and submitting a class action complaint. I do not expect a cent.
I will post my wonderful 14 year old Pella windows so others can see their product and read how well they treat their customers.
I do find that products are made differently due to plant location. I had replaced double hung windows in a NJ home years ago and forgot to order one bathroom window. I paid 200 dollars more for that one single window. It is cheaper to buy in bulk.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 9:03PM
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Thanks everyone. After reading everyone's comments hear and on the consumer affairs website, I am leaning toward sticking with my existing wood windows!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 10:25AM
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If your price quote includes installation, then it is very good. I add a post here recently about 3 quotes for fiberglass products and a ultimate wood french door. The quotes run about 17K-25K.

I decided against Pella products largely because of the bad PR they get here and on other websites. I also spoke to a vendor who is a Pella certified dealer and he did not have great things to say about the company as well. I know they were involved in class action lawsuit some years back that settled. Also, they are a venture capital owned operation so you must question the commitment to quality over the bottom line.

I am waiting on one other quote for the Marvin ultimate clad windows and door. Once I receive it, I can make my decision. Please keep us updated on your decision.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 7:30PM
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