Alternatives to Andersen

amtaustinNovember 19, 2006

After getting really, really bad customer service from Andersen, I have decided to look for alternatives. For now, I am looking for just two windows of the same size, triple casement, 3-6 x 7-0. My first two thoughts were Jeld-Wen and Marvin. I would prefer aluminnum clad over vinyl, and I might consider no cladding at all. Is there a rough equivalent to Andersen 400 series for these two? Is there another brand I should consider? Thanks.

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jilliferd

amtaustin,

Just wondering, what was your bad experience with Andersen? We just installed Andersen 400's in our new house. One of our windows, a custom arch, came with the interior grids loose. A representative came out within a couple of days. They have ordered new glass, will come out and take out the defective and install the new. They also fixed a bad latch on a glider on the spot.

Otherwise, the windows are beautiful and solid. One of the reasons we went with Andersen was their good reputation (we live in MN).

Sorry to hear that you did not have the same good response.

Jill

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 12:33PM
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amtaustin

I had ordered two windows thorugh Home Depot, which had a 4 week lead time. That was OK, 4 weeks was just perfect. The day before the delivery, first thing in the morning, I called HD to make sure they were coming. They showed Andersen now had a delvery date two more weeks out! No explenation, nothing. So, HD called them, and Andersen assurred us they were "going on the truck today", and they would arrive at HD late tonight, and I would be able to pick them up the next day. So, I procede to carve out two very large holes in my house for the new windows (new ones are much bigger then the old ones), and the next morning go to HD to pick the windows up. Of course, they are not there. HD calls Andersen, and they claim "well, the windows are in the Fort Worth shipping depot (200 miles away) and they did not get put on the truck to go to Austin. It will be two more weeks before we will bring them down. Sorry, tough luck!" Honestly, I think they are lying thorugh their teeth. The windows probably aren't even built yet. But anyway, I will not deal with a company like this. I asked HD to cancel the order and refund my money (all of it) and they did. Not waiting two weeks and having to start the process from scratch again most defintely make my situation worse, but I will NOT reward companies that treat their customers like crap, period.

I guess what I am really upset about is that if these windows do exist, they could get them to me in a day or two. But they won't because they just don't care -they believe they already have your money, and you can't do anything about it. Well I can, and I will! Sad part about this is this was only $1300 of about $20,000+ purchase I plan on making for windows. Their loss I guess.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 1:16PM
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calbay03

If you are considering Aluminum cladding from Marvin, then Marvin is it because they have no separate lines within Marvin. There is a Marcin Integrity which uses fiberglass and Marvin Infinity which does replacements. I believe Marvin matches Andersen 400 easily. We happened to look at Andersen vs Marvn 3 years ago and went with Marvin Aluminum clad.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 3:38PM
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amtaustin

Thank you calbay03. I hope to go to the Marvin dealer tomorrow. One concern, and this is very much a novice question: Marvin's casement windows are spec'd as single units only (at least on the website). I assume I can put three of these together (left, fixed, right), but is there any concern about cladding, vs having a single unit with three units and a single, unified cladding?

Also, can the aluminum cladding be painted? I take it this is a bad idea for vinyl...

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 5:04PM
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pnwarchitect

Amtaustin:

Those are large windows, you need to be really careful what you buy (the bigger the window, the more problems that come with it). I think that vinyl is not a good option unless you get a well reinforced frame. If you choose to go with wood, I would stay away from Loewen, their large windows are underdesigned and fragile.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 11:10PM
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jilliferd

amtaustin,

I don't know if they have the same system in Texas, but I was told that if we had ordered from Home Depot the orders go to a main distribution center and accumulate until there are enough to be sent in. We ordered from a local lumberyard (who matched HD price, BTW) and the order goes directly to Andersen.

So, I don't know who was not quite honest here, HD or Andersen. Four weeks for custom seems a little short. Our standard casements came in at about that, but we had to wait about 6 weeks for custom. I can understand your being upset, and since you have cancelled your order, you are starting from scratch anyway.

I wish you good luck with whatever you choose.

Jill

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 12:11AM
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amtaustin

FWIW, these were standard sizes, etc. Not sure what defines custom these days. Thanks for the insight. I will be stopping by the Marvin dealer and Jeld-wen dealer today. Both of these places are not big box outlets, and that makes me a little more confident.

Pnwarchitect, I didn't realize Loewen had that problem. They were probably out of my price range anyway. I am hoping Marvin works out for me.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 8:18AM
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amtaustin

OK, back from window shopping! I went to two places. One has Jeld-wen and Lincoln, the other has Marvin and Marvin Integrity.

What I observed:

Jeld-wen Pozzi: 20 yr finish, nice overall window, $1907/pair

Jeld Wen Caradco (Builder): Not as long lasting finish as Pozzi. Hard to find any other difference on paper. They did not have a demo one. $1345/pair

Lincoln: Very nice window, however handle was loose on demo. **They can build to exact size I want** -a big plus, as I have rough opening built already, and all other windows are about 1" to small in height and width. $1864/pair

Marvin: Looks very nice. Can't really say it's better or worse than the Lincoln or Jeld-wen. $1625/pair

Marvin Integrity: Much, much, less wood content. Demo unit was primed on the inside -I wonder if they are trying to hide something? $1255/pair

I am leaning towards the Lincoln right now, but I don't know much about them. Is there any advantage (other than custom size) that the lincoln has over the marvin?

Thanks for you help!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 12:20PM
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ekoreilly

what about Eagle windows? I read they were similar to Marvin in terms of quality.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 6:53PM
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calbay03

Regarding your question of putting several Casements together, we happen to have those. The largest we have is a 9' x 5' that uses 4 Casement. It was mulled (usage?) at the factory and delivered to our house. When they were unloaded, the whole unit seemed solid, no flex or movement if that is your concern.

As for having primed interior, that is one of the options offered by Marvin. The interior wood either comes primed at the factory for painting or bare for staining. We got ours bare for staining.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 8:58PM
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amtaustin

I had not considered Eagle. I'm having a hard time finding out enough information from their web site as well. Not sure if I have enough time to check out another store, but we'll see. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 10:54PM
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carll

amtaustin:
before i bought my windows i did plenty of research on companies like, Anderson, Marvin, Pella & Pozzi. Often what makes a good window and makes it much more expensive than others are the things you don't see.
Comparing Lincoln to Marvin in a showroom may look comparable. Floor models always look good. But the things you dont see are the engineering & how windows are assembled (mortise & tennen corners), hardware used, treatment of wood, glazing, and weatherstripping. You don't see any of that, however its the most important part of determining the quality of a window.
Of the windows you are researching, my opinion is that Marvin is the best of this bunch. More than Pozzi and i'll assume far more than Lincoln.

As far as your troubles with Andersen. More than likely it was HD that did you in and not Andersen.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 1:48PM
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amtaustin

Thanks carll. I am actually leaning towards Marvin. I will probably place the order on Monday.

I did get a quote from Loewen, $1800/pair. Basically same options but has douglas fir wood -not sure if that's a big advantage. But I still am leaning towards Marvin. Thanks all for your help.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 10:43AM
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mike35

amtaustin,
Just for the record, Andersen uses a 1 point shipping system. Once HD, or the lumberyard orders a trailer load, the windows & doors are loaded at the factory distribution center, then shipped directly to the dealer. HD orders are sent to HD's distribution centers around the country at HD's request. Andersen's only distribution center is in Wisconsin, just over the river from the factory.
When a HD store "calls Andersen", they are calling their own distribution network, not the factory.
To keep this short, HD lied to you to cover their own issues. A local Andersen dealing lumber yard is far away a better resource than HD for knowledge and experience. It may cost a little more, but you won't have the same issues, and that's priceless.
Good luck with what ever you choose.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 1:34PM
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amtaustin

Thanks mike35. I'm sure you are right about HD. I am now looking at this as an opportunity to upgrade to Marvin. I got -much- better sevice in general so far at a specialist store vs big box. When I get more windows and doors, I'll be skicking with the small dealers. I'll be ordering Marvin Windows this Monday.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 6:47PM
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guy_exterior_man

When it comes to customer DIS_satisfaction HD usually pulls it off daily. Andersen is usually very good to deal with and has great customer service. Just like any company though they have the jobs that just fall through the cracks occasionally. Considering all the windows talked about on this thread, I'd rank them as follows with the big boys first. Eagle Windows by far the best of the windows talked about. The windows have some fabulous options with custom glass and design. They come with an aluminum exterior which you can get with a Kynar finish. Eagle windows have always seemed to look and feel strong and sturdy. Their products are built with great pride and always come out to the job looking sharp and clean. Everything lines up well and the craftsmanship stands out much higher than the others. Eagle was just recently purchased by Andersen to finally give them that upper end window that they needed to break into the high end market. With their other purchase of Silverline they have the cheap vinyl line to cover the lower end of the spectrum. So Andersen now has pretty much everything they need to cover all ends of the industry. Eagle for the high end, Silverline for the low end and their original product together with the Renewal line to satisfy the middle of the road. The only problem with Andersen's standard window is the fact that the exterior is vinyl cladding. This vinyl cladding is limited to their standard four colors. Where the aluminum exteriors have a rainbow of colors you can get. Marvin runs a close second to Eagle pretty much offering the same products. I just find the quality Marvin has been so famous for has taken a nose dive over the past couple years. Since I hang doors and windows daily for a living, I get to see most of these windows all the time. I would rank the Pella window in the third spot with the Jeld-Wen Pozzi in fourth. The last place window I would choose would be the Andersen. I've just seen to many air infiltration issues with the Andersens that make me leery. The Loewen and Lincoln window are made by smaller manufacturers and don't really produce the volume the others do. So some people don't really know much about these windows. The Lincoln and Loewen window would fall right up there with the Eagle and Marvin. They are very well made and have some great options. The Loewen window is made with the Douglas Fir and it really does make a difference. These two smaller company's take great pride in manufacturing a quality window and it really stands out. Either one would be a great choice for anyone to make. They happen to be more available in the Northern part of the Nation than the South. I'm fortunate to live in and install windows in MN where it's a hot bed for the industry. We have Andersen & Marvin based here in MN with Pella in Iowa, Lincoln in WI and Loewen North of us in Canada. MN is also home to one of the Nation's largest glass supplier Cardinal. So we are lucky to have them near. Hope this helps and Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 10:30AM
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breezy_2

Around here in the southeast, we see mostly Marvin, Andersen, Pella, Weathershield and Peachtree (now owned by Weathershield and basically the Weathershield line). Weathershield has a lot of press and write ups in some of the magazines we looked at and were impressed with them and even more so the newly designed Peachtree under Weathershield. None of these models cheapies by any means but we went with the TOL aluminum clad Peachtree. Anybody had experience with Weathershield/Peachtree?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 4:31PM
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don_ball

We have had a terrible experience with Andersen double hung 200 series with low e glass. The low e glass may be OK, but the windows leak air, and mulch like a sieve. So without the ability to keep cold air out, the low e is worthless. Neither the builder nor Andersen have stood behind the windows. Instead they blame me for where I built the house, how the house is shaped, the direction of the prevailing winds, the intensity of the winds, my tolerance for cold, etc, etc.... yes I've heard it all. So it's my fault that these miserable things allow air and particulates to pass through the window... between the sashes and the jamb liner. But wait Mr. Builder and Mr. Andersen... you knew exactly where I was building, the shape of my house, the orientation... and yes your subdivision is in a cow pasture so there aren't any wind breaks. And you did encourage me to buy these windows. This wasn't really my choice. I just followed your recommendation. My greatest fault was to trust you.
But nothing galls me more than the fact that Andersen's regional rep stood in my house and said, "these windows meet Andersen specs" although I have to wipe mulch from my flower beds off the top of the lower sash and sill everytime we have a windy day... very frequent here in the winter time. And yes the windows are closed and "tightly" latched. I have photographic and videographic evidence to back these assertions up. I am thorougly disgusted with Andersen's failure to stand behind their windows. If it is poor installation they should have the integrity to tell me. It seems to me that the builder and Andersen have a cozy relationship... maybe collusion is the proper term. The bottom line is that you cannot trust a brand name, history, number of units sold ect. to assure a quality product or customer service.

Don

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 2:07AM
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rick77

guy exterior man,

I live in Kansas and we are building a new home. We are looking at purchasing aluminum clad casement windows. We had Jeld-wen recommended to us as a replacement for Crestline that the local lumberyard used to sell. Alot of what I read about Jeld-wen scares me. We are currently looking at Kolbe & Kolbe. Have you had any experience with this brand? Have you heard of any problems with wood rot over time with these windows? Would appreciate any information. Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 12:11PM
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housebaby

Just a few comments: I was about to go with Eagle but couldn't find an installer comfortable with the unknown factor. We're going with Anderson, and they weren't less expensive than Eagle. We used a local window chain (Windowrama) who could hardly have cared less about me. But my contractor works with them and our Anderson windows are coming in Wednesday after about only 5 weeks. And most are custom sized, and there are about 40 of them! So it sounds like HD is the culprit. But...wish me luck!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 11:20PM
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pinar

Out of all mentioned, I liked Loewen best, Marvin next. We went for all wood, but even with clad, Loewen was very good with aesthetics and I heard they will change the built even more soon to have even less non-wood stuff show.

Pella seemed ok at Lowe's, but the customer service is so poor. Our opening was 1/4" off from the recommended RO for a standard size and most other manufacturers say that is not a problem. The Lowe's guy quoted us for custom and it was the most expensive quote we got, custom or standard and didn't think it was worth it. I didn't see Pella at a dealer location, we would have probably gotten much better service.

Eagle was by far the worst. All the windows installed in the showroom were stuck one way or another and after 15min the rep couldn't open and close a double hung window right. They were probably installed wrong, but we didn't want to go with reps who didn't know anything about their windows.

So, we went with Loewen. It was a bit more expensive than Marvin, but also came with a custom brickmold that would match the trim of our house. We figured, we would save a lot from labor that way.

I know this is an old thread, but I couldn't help but chime in.

Pinar

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 10:05PM
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ahooke

Has anyone ever had Andersen say that water leaking into the INSIDE sill tracks on Narroline 200 gliding window/doors under NORMAL rain conditions - NOT driving rain - is normal???? That the sill track is designed to keep the water (up to about an inch high at times) from running over to the floor?

AMH

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 4:59PM
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teedup1

Ahooke: Yep. Not only with Andersen windows, but I would venture to say with most, if not all, windows. The window unit itself is waterproof, but water can and does get into the track the window unit sits in during a normal rain against the window or by hosing off the window. If installed properly the excess water runs out of the track through the weep hole in the track designed for just that purpose.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 10:17PM
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galefarm

This is in response to Pinars post about Pella and Lowes. The big box stores are not the way to go when shopping for windows. Pella has a network of showrooms that are much easier to do business with than trying to shop at Lowes. The price point at Lowes may be enticing but the customer service sucks and getting any followup help is non existant. Pella is an excellant window and wold have worked well for Pinar even though his openings were 1/4 inch to big for the recommended opening of Pella

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 12:07PM
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ahooke

Thank you teedup1 (Hey! I would rather be playing golf too...not looking out my window at cold rain in Ohio...), but I mean the INSIDE sill track along the bottom edge of the stationary door/window. Where on earth is the weeper for that...? If there is a weeping hole in the track to let the water out, why wouldn't it let the water IN as well? And how, if the window unit is waterproof does the water get in????
amh@muohio.edu

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 2:47PM
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teedup1

Ahooke: I have a dear golfing friend, now living in Marietta, who is not playing much golf at this time of year either. LOL

Totally unscientific and I have don't have proper terminoligy for window parts, but here my theory goes:

Water can definitely get in on the "movable/sliding" window unit at point where it's fitted into the track bottom. But I think even if you took a syringe of water and squirted it out anywhere along the vertical sides of the window unit where it fits into the stabilizing wall track, you will find the water ends up in the horizontal track, at the bottom. The sill track, inside and outside, has enough fitting joints for parts that are not water tight so that the tract (under both the stationary and movable units) really acts as one single trough and lets water occupy all of it if not leaning toward the way of the weep holes.

On my vinyl replacement windows there needs to be about 1/8" of water in the "trough" before weepers reach "emptying/draining" mode. Why are the weep holes placed so high in the trough sides? I do not know.

Hidden weatherstripping all around our stationary sealed window unit looks like a long 1/4" wide strip of short fiberglassy hairs. It is not a closed-cell vinyl strip material and therefore I'm assuming it is not waterproof.

Hey, what do I know, but I may test my syringe theory when it warms up. It was 31.8 degrees in my So. Cal. backyard this morning!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 4:10PM
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ron6519

The posts I have read are problems with either the supplier or the installers. Special orders from any of the Big Boxes take much longer to process then your local lumberyard or window store.
Bad installation is not the problem of the manufacturers who make the windows. If you can't understand who's at fault for a problem, try hiring someone who can enlighten you.
Ron

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 7:13PM
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