Andersen, Pella and Marvin Oh My!!

from_a_buick_8October 25, 2009

We need comments suggestions bits of wisdom, trying to get this decision made so we can get the tax credit this year. It is a lot of money for us so I am not sure if we are just being too critical or not.

We have been looking for windows to replace the out of date single pane windows in our house (18 in total all DH). The current windows are original to the house (built in 1954 and are wood inside and out. We also want to add a bay where two side by side DH are now. We originally received 4 quotes two from companies that sell Vinyl windows (Champion and Gilkey) and two from companies that offer more of a wood window (Andersen and Pella). Our current windows, trim and molding in the house is wood (all stained a maple color) so we have decided to stay with a wood window. We will stain the windows to match the existing woodwork. We are leaning towards just doing half the windows this year (still will be enough to qualify for the whole tax credit) and then the other half next year just to spread the cost over two years instead of one.

We have also decided to go with a full install rather than an insert; the overall price difference was only about 10% more.

We have so many questions and concerns and it seems like when we get one answered we it brings up two more. This Saturday we drove to the showroom for Andersen and Pella thinking that would make up our mind but it did not.

Our current windows do not have grilles, but we want to have grilles in the new ones. We want the grilles to be inside the panes of glass (to make cleaning the windows easier), but worry that having the inside of the grilles not matching the wood we stain will look odd. Â.What have some of the folks on here done with this issue, do the grilles look ok white when the rest of the wood and trim is stained a maple color.

Our other question is of course which window to go with, we have yet to receive our quote from Marvin and to see their window so maybe when we do we will fall in love and say that is the one (I hope).

The Andersen rep that came out was at first talking Renewal and we have a quote for those, but he also provided a quote for a full tear and install of what I think was the Andersen 400 series. I have yet to receive the written quote from this fella so I am not 100% sure what window he quoted for the full tear out. We looked at some Renewal windows in a showroom and I did not like the way they looked on the inside, they wife is ok with them though. I looked at the 400 series and the 400 Woodwright and I liked the Woodwright, unless I am looking at the cutaway for the Andersen windows wrong it looks like they use the fibrex material for a lot of the outside of the window (not sure if that is good or bad). For the window grilles it does not look like Andersen offers natural wood on the inside, we would go with white I guess and that worries us that it would look odd.

The rep from Pella has sent me PDFÂs of the quote for both insert and full tear out (they seem more responsive then the Andersen guy). The Pella window for the full tear out is the Proline with Low E SunDefense, Dual LowE Argon Gas. I do not like the way the Pella windows achieve the ability to tilt out, it seems like compressing the jamb and then just pushing the window back in will result in failure of the jamb down the road. I thought the Andersen method of achieving that was better, but the parts were not and sturdy as I would have liked. For the grills on the Pella windows they do offer a natural wood on the inside, but again we a worried that it will not match the stain on the rest of the window or the trim. I do like the fact that the Pella window seems to have more wood in it then the Andersen.

We have not had the rep from Marvin out yet, I hope to get that this week. We are hoping that they have some of the best parts of the Andersen and Pella line and none of the bad (and close in price).

I guess I should add that we are both around 46 years old and we plan on being in this home the rest of our natural lives, so we need this to be the only window replacement we go through.

Sorry for being so long and thanks for any input you may have.

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Marvin, for my taste, is the only wood window that actually looks like a "real" double-hung wood window.

Personally, I wouldn't do inserts. You lose too much glass and they just look bogus to me.

If you can deal with the white-white of vinyl, I was impressed by the Simonton windows. We'll be doing the non-Victorian kitchen with them as they have, to my eye, a nice weight, work well, and they can do decent double-hungs, as well as a 9' wide, single-light, picture window that will look out over our garden.

(We're on the West coast and the choices in quality vinyl makes are apparently not as wide as back East. Not to minimize Simonton, but just can't comment on some of the other makes as I haven't seen them.)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 12:59AM
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Thank you for the response, yes we decided against the insert. Did not want to loose the % of glass and we did not like the look of the extra frame to make it work. We looked at Vinyl and just did not want to lose the wood window on the inside of the house.

I hope you are right about Marvin and it has the window that will meet our needs. I guess right now (not seeing Marvin yet) i would pick the Andersen woodwright.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 6:30AM
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I was able to confirm that the Andersen window for the full replacement was the 400 tilt wash series.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 11:52AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Why would you recommend either of those two window brands/companies...?

Just wondering?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 10:28AM
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Yes Champion was one of the Vinyl companies we had a quote from. We also had a quote from Gilkey, we told the Gilkey guy that we have decided to go with a wood window and he asked if we had heard of Kolbe & Kolbe (i had not) but he is going to get us quote for those.

We have looked at several vinyl windows that have a wood look to them (at home shows and at showrooms) and we did not think they would meet our needs.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:51PM
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The Andersen rep was here again and showed us the "tilt Wash" 400 series, looks good. We still need to hear from the Marvin rep (he is due at our house on Wed night).

We have decided to go with the modified prairie style grilles and the snap on type not the between the pane type. We want to stain the grilles to match our wood on the window and we cannot do that with the between the pane type.

The downside of the Prairie style grilles is how they snap onto the sash on the 400 TW. The colonial style has a spring-loaded clip that has matching built in "holes" on the sash. It is a very nice design, for the Prairie style it uses a two-piece clip.

I also have a better understanding of why the Andersen rep wanted to go with the Renewal bay, it is because of the custom sizing.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 8:01PM
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I know have quotes for a Kolbe wood window, the price for a full install of these are very close to what I have from Andersen and Pella, but for one exception.

I was quoted two prices one for the Kolbe Ultra traditional and one for the Ultra Sterling, the difference being the Sterling has an extruded exterior cladding and the Traditional has the roll form exterior cladding. The Sterling is about 15% higher.

Neither of the Kolbe quotes includes the grilles we want so this may push them a little higher then the Andersen and the Pella quote. We have pretty much ruled out the Pella window and the contractor that installs Marvin in our area was out and took measurements last night so we expect to hear from them soon.

We still need to see the Kolbe and the Marvin window in person, but hope to do that in the next few days.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 8:56AM
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Still waiting on the quote for the Marvin windows, but we were able to drive out to the showroom and i will say that so far they are the best looking window i have seen. i really like their approach to tilting the window and the jamb shows a lot of wood when compared to the compression jamb on the Andersen TW 400 and the Pella.

If the price from them is reasonable then i think we have found our window.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 8:40PM
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Well after much research and several salesmen and contractors in our house we have finally decided on a window. Marvin Ultimate DH, these are great looking all wood windows and will match the all wood trim in our home.

I was very impressed with the Marvin product, the extruded exterior cladding, we like the way the Marvin window jamb and tilt to wash feature works, much improved over the compression jamb on the Andersen 400 TW and the pro-line Pella. I would say the Andersen woodwright would be a close second. We are also going with the extruded brick mold on the outside and it should be a nice maintenance free look to the outside of our home.

We will have interior removable grids, full surround modified prairie style (Marvin speak is prairie 9A), also liked they way these attach.

After all is said and done the Marvin quote is less then either the Andersen or the Pella, so that helped make the decision easier, but even if it had been slightly higher we would have went with the Marvin.

I am also very happy with the contractor they have set me up with to do the installation, they have provided several references and when we met with them they were very helpful and able to answer our questions.

Thanks to all of those on this site who have helped us with this decision

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 10:42AM
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Congratulations on a good choice in windows, you will not be sorry with the product.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 12:34PM
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We are in the middle of a situation with new Marvin Integrity Ultrex windows that you should be aware off. We have spent 10s of thousands of dollars on Marvin windows. The windows came in two shipments. 8 of the windows are 72 X 72 fixed pane, low E. The first of the 4 windows were installed a couple of months ago, the next shipment of "matching" windows are very different even though they say they are the same. They do not match the first windows in size or profile. At first they said that they would expedite replacement windows to match the installed windows at no charge. Today they said that they have changed the design of their windows and we will have to live with it. If we want windows that match we will have to pull out and discard 5 72 X 72 ultrex low E glass with wood interiors at our cost. About 5 thousand dollars not including labor and lost materials like insulation, house wrap, sill seal, etc.

These windows sit next to each other and they don't look even remotely alike. We also had one of the windows installed windows crack do to a sub contractor mistake. The glass can not be replaced. The whole window had to be replaced. If they can not match their own product line you run the risk of having to replace many or all of the windows in your house to get them to match.

Think about the cost of just one broken pane if they can not provide you with a matching window to replace it. We have 8 72 X 72 windows that adjoin each other. One foul ball that cracks one pane and we are looking at over $10,000.00 to replace the windows.

I suggest you raise these issues before you go too far down this path.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 4:39AM
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First of all, your talking Integrity which is a limited line of windows stock sizes only to complete with the likes of Andersen. from_a_buick is speaking of Marvin MTO which as MTO suggests is MADE TO ORDER, a completely different animal. Before you blame Marvin much time was there in between orders as I used to sell Marvin and if your order was during the running change they made there were notices that there dealers had for MONTHS about the change. I would if i were you take a closer look at your dealer because if they knew you were placing the order in 2 batches they could have let you know of the change but if you place the orders a year apart shame on you because i believe they stated right on Marvin quotes that they were the new style units and that was all that was available. Before you say it I DO NOT sell Marvin, i used too and because if that i think they make a dam fine product and do not like to see them get blamed for something not there fault

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 9:02AM
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I think that's a great choice, Congratulations!!
Don't forget to let us know how the installation goes and what you think of the windows once they are installed.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 10:33AM
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Yes I want to take a bunch of before and after pictures and I will be sure to post online, of course I always say I am going to take the before, during and after pictures but I sometimes drop the ball on that.

I also have a high level of confidence for the contractor we are using and I hope to be able to report a glowing review of their work, will it be ok to post their name at that time.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 10:49AM
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This site isn't as restrictive as that other one. Many of the people who frequent that other site are just window salesmen and get very upset whenever anything good is said about anyone other than them and their brand of windows. I say if you got a great window and a great install, let everyone know about it.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 11:40AM
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What other site? I am looking for more research portals?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 3:10PM
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Here is where we ended up.
The windows are the Marvin Ultimate DH, pine (we will stain to match the existing wood in our house) with the extruded aluminum cladding (white) on the out side. Low e3 366 glass with Argon gas. This will be a full tear out not an insert.
The cost breaks down as follows;
Marvin Ultimate $1,020 per opening.
Pella Proline $1,086 per opening.
Andersen 400 TW $1,124 per opening.

Our project will include putting in a bay window where two DH windows are now, The price above does not include the bay.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 7:40AM
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The ultimates are fantastic windows! Great choice and best of luck!!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 8:21AM
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I don't know the size of windows you are buying so I can't comment on the prices but I can tell you that the Andersen 400 TiltWash is not in the same league as the Marvin Ultimate and should have been priced about 20 to 25% less. The TiltWash doesn't even have a cladding on the sash, just a high-tech PPG paint coating.

Andersen's 400 WoodWright has the same frame but a composite plastic/wood fiber Fibrex sash cladding (like Trex) so it is closer to the Ultimate and should be about 15% cheaper.

I would not use Pella ProLine windows even if they were the equal of the Ultimate; Pella as a company is unreliable IMHO.

You certainly made the right decsion given those choices.

If the Ultimate has a flaw it is the sill nosing which is ridiculously thin and does not project enough to act as a drip (not that any modern nail-fin windows do). I strongly recommend adding a PVC sill nosing from Advanced Trimwright (ATW) or a similar product. Extending the sill under the jamb trim makes a handsome job and avoids sill the waterproofing problems I have seen so often.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 9:20AM
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I would definitely stay away from Pella, After reading about the strong consumer dissatisfaction, along with my own personal experience with Pella's lack of any customer service. Hope all goes well with your project.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 9:33PM
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I wanted to give an update; installation was started this week on our new windows. Looks like the installation is going to take about 4 days (1 day just for the new bay window), the wife and I are taking turns being there. We are both taking lots of pictures so I will post some good ones when the project is complete.

I was working from home on Tuesday so I was able to watch what was going on, very interesting to see the process and how the walls are put together. Our house is brick on cinder block construction so it is a very deep wall.

So far the Marvins look great; I am amazed how much better they look from the outside versus the old aluminum storm windows that are being torn out. From the inside they really op up the room and allow more light, did not realize how dirty the old SH windows were. They have not done any of the trim on the inside yet and the screens and grills are not on yet.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 2:36PM
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I would love to see your new windows. We are considering Marvin ourselves.

Please post how they did this winter.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 4:19PM
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Did you post any pics? I did a search and couldn't find anything. Are you happy with your window choice?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 12:21AM
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