Pella Class action lawsuit?

cindysbAugust 3, 2006

We are considering installing Pella Architectural series in a new addition as well as replacement in a 67 year old home. We have been told that there is a class action lawsuit against Pella regarding problems with wood rotting under the metal clad. Does anyone know anything about this and has anyone had any problems with Pella?

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Type in "Pella Class Action Suit" in a Google search and you will find a law firm currently investigating this claim.

The firm has a form for you to fill in if you happen to have Pella or have replaced leaking Pella wndows.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 8:40PM
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Andersen rejected aluminum for use as a cladding material in 1958 due to the fact that it conducts heat and cold and also requires maintenance due to the paint finish, but now it looks like they were even more prophetic knowing full well that the cladding would leak water and seperate.

God bless the customers with moldy, rotted, termite infested Pella windows.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 10:50PM
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I say go with stainless steel-reinforced vinyl windows!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 3:49PM
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Our Pella windows are about 15 years old and they are a mess. I would never buy Pella again. I called the company and they gave me the run-around. I have a friend who purchased a 20 year old house - windows had problems and Anderson replaced all of them at no charge!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 1:41PM
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Hi, I am about to purchase a home that needs all 39 windows replaced. I need some advice on the type of window to use......I have only skimmed over these posts and I know that I won't be using Pella. This house is of moderate value so I am not looking to break the bank on replacing the windows. Would like to use typical double hung double pane with a grid. I plan to cut out the existing window frames entirely and replace the whole thing. Any recommendations based on your experience what I should be looking at? Most of my windows measure 31 X 56, (27 of them) from the inside of the jambs. Help!?


    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 7:43PM
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I have three different messages to respond to three previous messages on this thread (even though it's almost 2 years old).

Hi Hal. As for your question about which type of windows to use, the answer is "that depends." It depends on your budget, climate, what you find attractive looking, and how energy-efficient you require the windows to be. Since you plan on completely removing the old window frame, you have four main choices: aluminum (the least energy-efficient, more commonly found on commercial buildings these days), vinyl, fiberglass, and wood (with or without exterior cladding). There are many brands that offer these various types.

Hi Antonio, as mentioned in the other threads you posted at, you sound so much like an Andersen sales rep, and yet you state in the other thread that you're simply an Andersen Renewal customer from six years ago. You slam other window companies with phrases that the Renewal people are trained to do. You make statements that even an educated homeowner wouldn't make - right out of the Andersen pitchbook. Allow me to AGAIN correct your misleading statements, just like I and others did in your other posts.

Here's your statements and my corrections:

"Andersen rejected aluminum for use as a cladding material in 1958. . ." Aluminum cladding wasn't even used by companies until the 1970s; are you saying that cladding could have possibly been used two decades earlier? How would you know this? And you claim to not be an Andersen person, simply a customer.

"due to the fact that it conducts heat and cold and also requires maintenance due to the paint finish . . ." So are you saying that if someone puts aluminum siding over their existing wood siding, they make the house colder? It's only a covering to make the house low maintenance. The wood is the insulator, the aluminum cladding just makes it so you don't have to paint. And what do you mean by the paint finish needing maintenance? I have been handling windows for 30 years, including Andersen, Marvin, Vetter, Kolbe, Lincoln and Pella (and that's just the wood brands I am not even mentioning the vinyl ones), and have never seen anyone needing to repaint aluminum cladding. For that matter the paint finish would presumably far outlast the glass. Using your mentality, if you wanted to get silly you could mention that there's a kit you can buy to seal the crack on the vinyl on Andersen if and when it cracks.

"but now it looks like they were even more prophetic knowing full well that the cladding would leak water and seperate." Give me a break. Two things here. First, Andersen DOES use aluminum cladding, on their Architectural series (not to mention the Eagle Window brand that they own), and that their aluminum clad windows are their high end compared to their vinyl clad. Secondly, it's incredibly arrogant to say "knowing full well that the cladding would leak." C'mon, admit you're a Renewal by Andersen salesman.

"God bless the customers with moldy, rotted, termite infested Pella windows." What a mean-spirited thing to say. It does make for entertainment and a good debate though. And nobody makes termite-infested windows; they're all treated with insecticides to repel bugs.

On the other thread you posted at
you stated "I do not work for Andersen Renewal or Andersen Corp. I simply spent alot of time and energy researching windows and I feel I made a great choice with Renewal. . . . I simply began a post describing what I have found during my shopping experience." The message you responded to at this current message thread is about two years old. Unlikely that someone who bought Andersen 6 years ago would just happen to register at this site and immediately begin slamming all other brands and use mean-spirited rhetoric in several posts about all other types/brands of windows because he is happy with his purchase of six years ago. At this current message thread you post another anti-anything-other-than-Andersen message, with a bit different spin than the Renewal spin from last time. Are you still maintaining that you're still only a Renewal by Andersen customer and not an Andersen sales rep?

To answer the original question (from almost 2 years ago!!) I heard that the person filing the class action lawsuit lost. Anyone can sue anyone they want to, and big companies make great targets for lawsuits whether valid or not. I don't know the specifics of the case, but I recall reading that it was one guy that sued and attempted to have his case be heard as a class action suit. The court disagreed but didn't dismiss the case (which is what Pella wanted); they simply ruled that the person could proceed with an individual case but not class action. In the 30 years I've been in the window industry, I've seen class action lawsuits against just about every manufacturer, including the big three of Marvin, Andersen, and Pella. Of the big three I only know of one time they were found at fault - that was Marvin and it was due to a problem that was corrected about 10 years ago and is no longer applicable.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 2:38AM
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Tru_Blue, thanks for the very informative post, especially the part about aluminum cladding. The original claim was obviously extremely ill-informed at best and outright misleading at worst.

I also want to second your post about Marvin's class action suit. When we settled on Marvin four years ago, our research turned up a class action suit against Marvin that had been settled by then. Being "paranoid" consumer and with a couple of poor experiences with local dealers, we almost abandoned Marvin for Andersen. We took a chance and got Marvin anyway.

Now, there is another forum on-line that has several owners reporting problems with Marvin windows installed around 1994, so we are again apprehensive. It is unclear if they were experiencing poor installation or actual defects. So far, ours have no visible problems and poking the wood pieces (inside and out and in hidden areas) reveals no weakening or any telltale signs of rot. Will see if ours hold up.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 2:16PM
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Whew! Thanks tru blue for posting and explaining.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 4:00PM
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The class action suit against Pella, started in 2006, had a ruling on May 20th, 2010 by the appellate court in Illinois certifying two classes of Pro-line window owners -- one which has replaced the rotting windows, and one which has not (attorneys are still working on the architect series class). In the court docs, I was shocked to learn that Pella had set up some sort of special enhanced customer service program for pro-line customers, but never told them! It is unusual to have a consumer fraud case become a class action suit and who knows when it will all end. Pella knows of the design defect, and, yet, they continue to try to abuse their customers - I know, I am one, and they are costing me a bundle. Advised me to rip out an entire three story wall of windows, but will only give me a discount on some of the rotten things. Gave me excuses for months. Pella is in the same class of company as BP, imo, because they do not want to step up to the bar and make good on what they KNOW is their own mistake.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 12:02AM
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Never have been a fan of Pella but I am even less of a fan of people claim that every problem associated with WOOD windows is a defect and the manufacturers problem.Wood windows require maintenance and that is just a fact clad or wood exterior. Not saying your claims are ligit or not but dam,some of those issues certain appear to be a lack of maintenance and quite possible installation.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 11:03AM
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"Now, there is another forum on-line that has several owners reporting problems with Marvin windows installed around 1994, so we are again apprehensive. It is unclear if they were experiencing poor installation or actual defects. So far, ours have no visible problems and poking the wood pieces (inside and out and in hidden areas) reveals no weakening or any telltale signs of rot. Will see if ours hold up. "

Do a little more research. They no longer build windows that way. Unlike Pella, Marvin tries to learn from their mistakes.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 10:06PM
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You nailed it. That IS the BIG difference.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 11:01PM
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I just purchased a new home in June of 2010. This winter I noticed water on the bottom of all my double hung windows on the inside of the house. I questioned a Pella Rep and he stated this was a normal thing. I don't think he's correct. I think eventually the window would rot because of water.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 8:54PM
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"This winter I noticed water on the bottom of all my double hung windows on the inside of the house."

The existing lawsuit only covers Pella casement windows, not double hungs (though that does not mean there is not a problem with the double hungs.

Where is the water coming from?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 1:05PM
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"I have heard of a couple of law suits against Pella, but then again which major company doesn�t have a law suit or two at any given time."

The Supreme Court of the US just upheld the class action status of the suit against Pella.

It is a VERY big deal.

As for maintenance, since there is no way to detect the damage occurring under the cladding layer it is a VERY poor method of making windows.

I have never used windows with a wood core and cladding for this very reason.
It is simply a dumb idea.

There is NO WAY to maintain a seal good enough to prevent ANY water entry, and then no way for the water to get back out.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 4:05PM
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Just my two cents worth as a guy who was in the window business for quite a few years.

First of all - the water you are experiencing inside your home is condensation. It occurs because the glass gets cold, and the moisture in the house condensates. Just like a glass of ice water condensates - there isn't a leak - it is just physics. Someone mentioned they had a new house, and there is a ton of moisture in new houses - from the sheetrock work, to the basements there is a TON, and it takes a long time for it to get out - especially if you built a tight house.. If you have a humidifier, make sure it is turned OFF. You should not have any more then 35% (at the MOST) humidity in your home, and the colder it gets outside, the more condensation your windows will get - again - when you take a shower, your bathroom mirror condensates because it is a cold surface, and moisture is attracted to it. A lot of people with new, tight houses actually need to ventilate their house about once a week - I don't care how cold it is- you should open your windows for about 5 minutes and let that moisture out - that's what you do in your car in the winter so your windows don't fog up, and it is the same principal here.

I tend to agree with trublue about the cladding; if you really look at the way Pella clads the window SASH (the movable portion), it isn't a "wrap" - its a cover (hence "clad")and there is plenty of areas where moisture can escape. As far as the frame goes, it too is a clad - the aluminum only goes about 2" inside the window, and then there is a wood frame. The cladding is meant simply as a maintenance feature - now - whether or not this is what is causing the problem, I can't say.

I have Proline's in my house - they are 15 years old - do I think they could be doing a better job? Yea - I do, BUT...I want to be clear here - I am not so sure it is the windows fault as much as the installation of the windows, and other products in the house - the siding, the way the insulation is done, etc.

I just can't honestly say that it is 100% the windows fault. "Most" Prolines are used in new construction, and in MY opinion, the new homes are too tight, and installation crews (sorry) suck at putting windows in - they just throw 'em in the hole and nail em in - they ned to be properly shimmed and put in square so all of the weatherstrips line up; insulating around the windows needs to be addressed as well. There is too much humidity that can not escape, and in MY opinion this is what is causing the premature rotting of these windows. There is nowhere for this moisture to go. It wants to run to where it is cold, but it can't get there.

Just my two cents worth - feel free to bash away all you folks that want a free lunch, but I don't think the window is "completely" at fault here. Do I think some design changes nee to happen - yep. Do I think Pella is asleep at the switch? well....I think they have great engineers who know that the basic design is good - the problem is the have NO CONTROL OVER WHO PUTS IT IN. Imagine if Honda just sold engines to put in any car without regard to weight, use, etc - and with no concern about if it lines up properly with the transmission etc....there would be an awful lot of problems........and who would get the blame? Honda would.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 9:36AM
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We will have to see how the court decides.

Regretfully the folks that often make the most money off class actions are the attorneys though.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 1:25PM
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Epiarch Designs

I agree, (mostly) tight houses need to be designed correctly. Including wall structure, cladding system, window system, hvac system, and even the interior wall finish type. A very small percentage of builders know enough about tight construction to do it right.
However opening a window once a week.......gotta to disagree with you there. That defeats the purpose of tight homes dont you think? You need to install an ERV or HRV, depending on your location. This runs every day, and regulates your air quality. Further more, the moisture levels need to be kept in line.
I have Pella double hungs in some parts of the house that are about 8 years old, and the rest are 3 years old. 0 issues, not even condensation. proper install is a key element to any window.

I am working on a new house design to start this spring, and I plan on using Pella again, however not the clad but rather their fiberglass Impervia casement windows. These appear to have a pretty basic and flawless design with good hardware. Obviously no rotting issues at all. They are also releasing a vinyl line this summer I hear.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 4:47PM
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My home was built in 1979 and has Pella Windows with slim shades between the panes. the frames are wood and have been maintained on the outside with painting. I have had rot in two frames but in areas where moisture is a problem.

My problem is that my house has become increasingly hard to cool. The heat coming off the glass of the windows on the west side in the afternoon is significant. Could this be a problem with the seal... the inside pane is removable. The windows open to the middle of the frame. Has anyone experienced this problem and is there a solution?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:16PM
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I also built a new home in 2001 and the windows rotted from the inside out. Literally falling apart in my hand within months after the warranty expired.

Hidden damage that existed for years! Unfortunately, Pella and Gunton Corporation (Pella distribution in PA) did absolutely nothing for me.

Good news, however. It appears like a long awaited class action lawsuit should be approved soon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pella Class Action Suit

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:25PM
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The last I heard was that Pella reached a settlement that caps out at $6,000. I expect to start seeing advertisements from attorney's group to sign up for opting out of the settlement. I would think that high-end builders will advise their clients against using Pella for fear that it will reflect poorly on the overall project. It may appear that Pella is getting off easy, but I don't think this will go away that easy. I may be wrong, after all, Hurd faced a class action lawsuit, filed bankruptcy and was able to void their warranty and start fresh, and I still have customers (builders and homeowners) requesting the product.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 6:14PM
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What a mess.

Rest assured, the people that will make money on this deal will be the attorneys.

Please post up any follow up as it happens.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Water tends to make wood rot (the cellulose in the wood is food for mold and bacteria, all they need to eat is moisture).

The grater the number of wet-dry cycles the worse the problem gets.

The longer the wood is held damp the wrose.

Pilings in water rot at theair-water bondary much faster than the top free inthe air or thebottom under the water.

Any type of 'cladding' to try and reduce maintenance is going to allow water to pass (eventually if not immediately) and then the wood is like a sponge and soaks up the water (and even swells as the remains of the plant cells (cell walls) fill with water) moving it well away from the entry point.

Now it has to get back out.

While the' critters' are busy eating away at the wood.

The same thing happens with paint film, and if there is enough water vapor pressure it will force the paint film off the wood.

Maintenance time has occurred.

Time to scrape and paint.
Anew paint film improves the protection.

The cladding still looks great as the wood behind it is slowly consumed to mush.

Time for new windows.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Good post Keeper. I am continually amazed at people that blame windows for condensation. Why don't you just shoot the messenger?
Also, keep in mind a number of these lawsuits were caused by a preservative treatment that actually accelerated the rot. I think that chemical was made by PPG, yet the window companies are bearing the burden of the suits.
Just like OJ. It doesn't matter what actually happened, it matters who has the best lawyers.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 1:30PM
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