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What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Posted by eating_in (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 2, 12 at 17:23

I'll try to keep this brief.

Nine JW clad awning windows that were professionally installed in my home are warping and molding. The windows do not have locks and so can't be properly shut. The JW casements that do have locks are fine. I do not know why JW did not install locks on these windows.

I went around with JW and they will not pay for the labor to install locks on these windows. They did send new sashes, but these are useless without locks.

This has been going on for several months. I have a letter of complaint that I want to send to JW corporate in Oregon, (to Philip Orsino, president) but I'm not sure if it will do any good. All direct emails were from a plant and customer-service based in Indiana.

Any ideas or help would be appreciated. Thanks guys!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

The windows don't have locks? WOW. Best advice I can give you is to keep pressuring them. I would never have made the final payment until everything was as it was supposed to be.

Once again, as every Pro on this site has stated over and over, do not count on manufacturers warranties to protect you. The companies that most of us recommend usually have a good history of taking care of problems without the run around. I would never recommend Jeld Wen to anyone and this is an example of the reason.

Good luck. I hope they get it resolved for you. Just keep at it. And send that letter. I would also file complaints everywhere like tha BBB and the State Board for Contractors if you have one in your State.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Thanks EcoStarRemodel. The explanation given to me as the reason the windows don't have external locks is that they have an "internal lock" which is determined by the dimensions of the window. At the time the windows were installed, I was under the mistaken impression that a window company knew how to design windows. So, at the time, I didn't know that this was going to pose a problem.

But my question still stands. Who are the best people to send the letter to? Is the president of the company going to care? Should I aim lower on the corporate ladder?

I don't think they are going to resolve it. This is a basic design flaw that they don't want to admit. To resolve it would require re-engineering the product. They insist the windows have "internal locks." I will file a complaint with the BBB.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Can you post a picture of the window(s)?


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Why isn't your contractor taking care of this?It sounds like JW is doing what it can. I have not ever had a problem with Jeld-Wen, though I don't think their products are best.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

How is Jeld Wen doing what they can, when according to the OP they made the windows without locks and then tried to solve the problem by sending new sashes? I don't even know how this could happen.

I'm really curious about the "external and internal lock". Awnings typically have a crank handle and then a lock lever. Are you saying there's no lock lever? If so, that would explain all the mold. Not sure what would have caused the warping other than exposure to heat.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

A typical wood awning window can be manufactured without an external lock using an internal locking system to close the sash tightly against the frame. It is designed and used primarily for "out of reach" situations where a pole or remote is used to open and close the windows. This saves the homeowner the hassle of having to climb a ladder each time to simply unlatch the window and then open it. I have used this window many times with great success.

Something else is going on here however and there is more to the story than we are hearing. What is the age of the windows? How did JW make the determination to simply send out new sashes? Where is the contractor and/or installer in all of the this?


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Eastbay is correct with the internal vs external locks, although not the correct term and with the fact that there is more to the story. Pictures would definitely help.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

How is Jeld Wen doing what they can, when according to the OP they made the windows without locks and then tried to solve the problem by sending new sashes?

I have Andersen awning windows that don't have a separate lock - the window crank holds the window closed.

How so you know that the problem isn't with the sashes?


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

The problem appears to me to be that the sashes don't seal well and thus condensation has caused mold. It may be that the sashes don't fit correctly but that doesn't mean the solution is to replace the sashes. It's possible the windows were not installed square and plumb and that is what is causing the condensation. It also may be that this is just a poor design. I do recall now that JW awnings do not have a lever lock.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

There are a lot of good questions, and I'll try to answer all of them. It would be nice to get to the bottom of this, and I appreciate all the interest.

Can you post a picture of the window(s)?

* Yes. See attached. On the lower photo with my hand, the window is fully cranked shut, and I can still get my finger in the space between the sash and frame. The photo to the right of that shows one of the windows with locks for reference.

Are you saying there's no lock lever?

* On the windows that are warping/molding there is no lock lever. On the windows that are OK, there is a lock lever. The difference is very clear.

Something else is going on here however and there is more to the story than we are hearing.

* There is probably more to this, and I'm trying to give all the relevant information possible. If you have more questions, just ask.

What is the age of the windows?

* Bought new, and installed in January 2009. JW replaced the sashes on the two worst windows in 2010. These sashes have since begun warping again.

How did JW make the determination to simply send out new sashes?

* I don't know.

Where is the contractor and/or installer in all of the this?

* We are the contractors. The framer installed the windows.

How so you know that the problem isn't with the sashes?

* I don't know for sure. However all windows in the house are awnings. The windows with locks are perfect. No warp, no mold. The windows without locks warp and mold. I had another window installer come in and confirm this.

I do recall now that JW awnings do not have a lever lock.

* Some do. Some do not. Apparently, it depends on the size/shape of the window.

Not sure what would have caused the warping other than exposure to heat.

* The house is in a southeastern state. Plenty of heat and moisture here. It is interesting that the problematic windows are on the north side of the house, which gets the least sun.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Trying to post the picture again.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Wow...I have to say that I am blown away by this. Among the brands that I sell is Jeld-Wen. I have some gripes about the windows but I have never seen anything like this before. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. I think that Jeld-Wen needs to send a factory rep out to see your situation and assess what is going on. I would think getting to the bottom of it would be in everyones best interest.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Thanks WindowShopper50. Getting to the bottom of this is difficult. JW has dropped it, and I'm not sure what to do next. I have a letter I plan to send, but I want it to get to the right people. If you, or anyone, have suggestions (per the original post) as to who to send it to, I'd appreciate it.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Yeah...I might know of someone. Let me make a call for you tomorrow. I may have missed this in the previous post, but where are you located (what state)? You mentioned southeastern state (me too). And these are from the custom line, correct? (as opposed to Siteline).


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Danger Flag Here "the framer installed the windows" Hmmm. Where is he/she in this mess? JW has apparently stepped up in this situation by sending out new sash. Are you sure you want to keep barking at them?
Any drip cap or flashing above these troublesome units? Are the wood parts of these sash finished with anything, like varnish or poly. You can't leave bare wood unprotected, and they are probably bare when they leave the factory as they don't know what kind of finish the end user will be putting on.
Did you see a display example before you purchased these windows, and did it have a lock? I am also familiar with the Andersen product and they do not feature a lock, which is the nature of other brands too.
Too quick to blame JW, as I see it. I'd bet a case of beer that framer installed them pretty darn quick, maybe too quick.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Something is keeping the sash from closing tightly. Might be that things are not plumb and square, but somebody needs to make that determination. This homeowner has been dealing with this since 2009. Yes, Jeld-Wen sent some new sashes, that obviously didn't correct the problem. Where homeowners are concerned, if the window is failing, regardless of the reason, then the window gets a bad rap. I know this; any window professional knows this. So therefore, it is in Jeld-Wen's best interest to get to the bottom of this. Speculating as to the problem (over the phone, in a letter, e-mail or forum)is just that; speculation. Jeld-Wen has factory certified window technicians all over the country (sometimes employed by a local distributor). Investing a little money now to have a rep diagnose the situation, even if the answer ends up being in installation and not a design flaw, would be money well-spent by Jeld-Wen. At least then, a solution could be developed. I would hope that the distribution center that originally sold the product to the homeowner (or to the framer as it may be) would also take an interest in getting to the bottom of this. The only folks who stand to benefit from this dragging on any further, would be competitors of Jeld-Wen.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

I may have missed this in the previous post, but where are you located (what state)? You mentioned southeastern state (me too). And these are from the custom line, correct? (as opposed to Siteline).

* Located in Georgia. Yes, these windows are custom, ordered through HD.

"the framer installed the windows" Hmmm. Where is he/she in this mess?

* It was our understanding that the framer is supposed to install the windows. I thought the framer might be at fault, too, until I discoverd that the problem is only with windows w/out locks. Why would the framer install the locked windows properly and the unlocked windows improperly? Every other door and window in this house is fine.

Are the wood parts of these sash finished with anything, like varnish or poly.

* They are now. However, it didn't make any difference. I left them unfinished for a while until because I thought I could get this problem solved. The result was the same, even unfinished. Unlocked windows molded/warped. Locked windows fine. In the photo with my hand, that window is finished and had been for months.

* Did you see a display example before you purchased these windows, and did it have a lock?

No. I was naive and just didn't think this to be that complicated. I expected the window company to know how to make a window and to put a lock on it. I also bought the line about "internal locks." Now I'm not sure what to think.

Might be that things are not plumb and square, but somebody needs to make that determination.

* Yes, that's my argument. A local window installer agrees with me about the locks. Maybe a JW rep would think differently.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

"Located in Georgia. Yes, these windows are custom, ordered through HD."

HD....Home Depot? If that is the case, then I am shocked (shocked I tell ya) that Home Depot has access to the custom line. I could see possibly the Jeld-Wen Builder Clad series, but am surprised if they have access to Siteline or the Custom line.

I've got a call into the Regional Manager for North & South Carolina and Tennessee. I think Georgia may also be his territory. If not when I talk to him I'll find out who is. I have dealt with the Jeld-Wen Company for years, the plant in Bend Oregon (the custom line), Hawkins Wisconsin (the Siteline series) and Rantoul Illinois (the Builders Clad series) and they are generally pretty responsive when a dealer requests service for a problem that the homeowner or the dealers cannot figure out and will send a factory rep to diagnose and recommend solutions. That is what I am hoping for this time. I'll keep you posted as I find out.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Dear eating in,

Well, the regional manager is not available at this point. But I did learn a few things from the rep for my account and he highly doubts that Home Depot (if that is the HD we are talking about) has access to the Custom line from Bend Oregon. He agrees it is probably the builders clad or traditions plus, both of which come from Rantoul Illinois (and are the low end versions). He suggested that you post a couple of pictures of a complete window (inside and out) and he can probably eyeball and tell us which series it is. It is sort of hard to determine based on a picture of the corner of the window.

The next was yes, there is actually an option to select the awning windows from the builders clad or traditions plus to come without locks. For the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone would want a window without a lock (and neither could he unless it was for an interior purpose) but he did point it out to me in the quoting system that it is an option that can be selected. He figures in your case, it was probably selected to save a whopping $8 or $9 each on the window quote (this is where I get to remind anyone reading this that an experienced window professional can be worth their weight in gold and that sometimes a better price can come with a lot of extra cost!)

He is going to find out from his supervisor (the regional manager) next week why that is an option in the system at all (there is probably a logical explanation that given the circumstances of your troubles, I am having a little myopia about and cannot see)and get back with me next week.

In the meantime, the "likely" solution is probably not going to make you very happy.

First - post two more pictures (one of the interior and one of the exterior of one of the window so we can hopefully make a determination if it is Builders Clad, Traditions Plus or neither). I already have some good pictures of your problem area on the window, and am more interested in seeing the whole window.

Second - if it is a window from one of these two lines, then you will need to call Rantoul Illinois (800-626-3105) and verify that what I am about to tell you is your only option.

Three - the option I am recommending is to see if you can find someone locally who can engineer a surface mounted lock for you to pull those sashes in and lock them(suitcase style lock or cam lock is what I am thinking of). Unfortunately, I don't "think" Jeld-Wen can apply locks after the window has been manufactured since part of the mechanisim is housed inside the frame. When you call Rantoul ask them if you can speak to someone in the engineering department and see if they know if there is any way to replace parts of the window and install the inner locking mechanisms to give you a locking window. If not ask them if they can give you any advice on an after market solution. Customer Service Reps don't normally have the expertise to deal with this, but some engineers in some of the window companies I buy from don't get near enough recognition for their work and I find it really flatters them to be able to talk their craft and they may take a real interest in your problem and try to talk you through some ideas.

Fourth - recognize that the culprit here may have been Home Depot and that you as your own contractor also bear some of the responsibility for ordering windows with no locks. "I didn't know" is not an excuse when you are the contractor. That is why contractors get paid for the service they provide.....because they make it their business to know. I will caveat what may seem like a harsh judgement by acknowledging that we still do not have the piece of the puzzle that would explain why Jeld-Wen would allow an option of no locks to be selected in their quoting software. But they do, and it looks as though someone selected it on your behalf. If all of this is the case,then Jeld-Wen has actually been pretty generous by providing replacement sashes.

Fifth - you may need to bite the bullet and pay what is necessary to have a local craftman find something that would be surface mounted installed on your windows. You might be able to go back to Home Depot but my guess is they won't make good on this, this late in the game. You could probably get copies of your original paperwork from them (if you don't have it) and see if "no locks" was selected.

There is not much that can be done about the mold damage on the sashes, but you may find if you can get them locked (with new after market sash locks) and keep them shut and locked for a few weeks, that they will dry out and the warping will be reduced somewhat.

The alternative to all of this is tear the windows out and buy new ones(or if you can find an after market locking solution, buy new sashes)taking all that you have learned from this experience and applying it to a better experience with the new windows.

I sure am sorry you have had this problem and while Jeld-Wen is not my favorite window, it "appears" that they have done more than they were obligated to do if what I believe to have transpired is accurate.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Kudos to you Windowshopper50 for trying to help this consumer out.

It will be interesting to find out who placed the order and if they selected the "no lock" option. I have never ordered a Jeld-Wen window but many manufacturers software contains defaults that we have to be aware of when ordering.

Provia comes to mind. I recently discovered that if you order a single swing patio door w/ sidelite, that the software automatically defaults to a cut-back door unless you de-select that option. Even thought the size shown on the order would be a 60x80, the actual default size is 57.25x79.375. However if you order a 60x809 double swing door, the default size is correct.

You are also correct in warning consumers that when they decide to become their own contractor, different rules apply as opposed to just being a consumer. Contracting law is something consumers would be well advised to research before taking on a project. There is a GC on every project. If a homeowner doesn't hire one, by default, they become the GC and all the responsibilities fall on them and there's no weaseling out of their mistakes by pointing the finger at the supplier.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Wow WindowShopper50, you are amazing. Thanks for all you've done, which is twice as much as anyone at JW has done at getting to the bottom of this.

I have dealt with the Jeld-Wen Company for years, the plant in Bend Oregon (the custom line), Hawkins Wisconsin (the Siteline series) and Rantoul Illinois (the Builders Clad series) and they are generally pretty responsive when a dealer requests service for a problem that the homeowner or the dealers cannot figure out and will send a factory rep to diagnose and recommend solutions.

* OK, I've been dealing with the plant out of Rantoul. That must mean the windows are Builders Clad. The paperwork states that the product line is "Tradition Plus--Premium Series." When I said "custom" I meant that I had to order and choose all the specs on the window, not just pick it out at the store.

The next was yes, there is actually an option to select the awning windows from the builders clad or traditions plus to come without locks.

* This is news to me, and it's good information to have. No one at JW ever explained this to me. Like I said some of the windows have locks, and others do not. If it's an option that the HD ordering person missed, why is it automatically selected for some windows and not others? JW told me that locks were included based on window size. I sat there with the HD clerk and ordered the windows. Of all the options that were presented, "include locks" never came up. I still have the paperwork, so I will visit HD to see what happened. If I had known this earlier, I would've gone to HD first instead of JW.

Fifth - you may need to bite the bullet and pay what is necessary to have a local craftman find something that would be surface mounted installed on your windows.

* Yes, I'm already doing this, and it's not looking good. Both my local installer and I have been looking for an aftermarket solution. I will contact him next week to see if he's come up with anything, but nothing I've found on the internet will work. I've ordered several casement locks but none fit.

As for being our own contractor, yes, we made mistakes, but it was a great experience. The house turned out wonderfully because most our subs were wonderful and helpful.

WindowShopper50, if you can come up with any more information on the "locks" option that I can arm myself with for my trip to HD, I would very much appreciate it.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

WindowShopper50: When I said Builders Clad, I meant Traditions Plus. Sorry!


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

There is a guy that I use out of North Carolina that is very talented. He works on all the brands of windows that I sell. I'll see if I can't get ahold of him over the weekend and see if he has any ideas (he does a lot of work for a large Jeld-Wen distributor in North Carolina so I know he is very familiar with all it's component parts).


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Just spoke to the North Carolina window tech I had mentioned (he is really good...he just converted 15 completely fixed windows into operating windows with locks and cranking mechanisms for another brand window....if anybody can figure this out, he can). Next week he is going to go to his local Jeld-Wen distributor and see if they have a traditions plus awning on display (or in their return area in the warehouse)and see if there isn't some way to retrofit something to lock the windows. Incidentally, he says he saw some Jeld-Wen awning windows on another job site up in the mountains this past week that didn't have locks and he thought that was odd. Anyway, I'll keep you posted.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

WindowShopper50, you are amazing. Thanks. Would it help if I posted more pictures?


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Nah....not at this point.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

Eating in, it's been a few days since we left with me attempting to have someone I know give some advice. He spoke to the local large Jeld-Wen distributor, who could not find the "no locks" option on his software (he must not have been looking very hard) and did not have a sample Traditions plus window for him to examine. The window tech was given Jeld-Wen's customer support number to call, and he left messages over the last couple of days and did not hear back.....His instincts tell him there should be a way, but without seeing "a window" is reluctant to commit to that solution.

I am going out of town tomorrow (I am going to become "Mrs. WindowShopper50") and won't be back until mid week next week. I do not know if you still need help at this point (or if you will still need help by that time), but I didn't want to just leave you hanging.


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

WindowShopper50, you've gone above and beyond in helping me. Thanks so much for everything you've tried. I'll keep looking for an aftermarket solution with my window guy. If you happen to hear something from your buddy, go ahead and post it. I check GW regularly.

Also, congratulations on becoming a Mrs. I wish you and the Mr. the best of luck!


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RE: What to do? Jeld-Wen windows are junk!

+1

Very nice work WindowShopper!!!

You went above and beyond.


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