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View Full Version : Replacing Windows part II: Andersen vs Andersen



Dan Mages
09-28-2005, 10:07 AM
Hi everyone. I've had a few people out for quotes for windows. A couple of them were suspicious and seemed fly-by night. The lady from Pella is pushing their top of the line windows, which comes to $13,000... no thanks! Finally, I got two quotes for two different andersen products, Andersen 400 series vinyl clad wood windows and Renewal by Andersen which is a "vinyl" replacement window.

Andersen 400 series tilt wash http://www.andersenwindows.com/UE/ProductGuide/Residential/400TiltWashOverview.asp
The quote for this window is $8100. These are vinyl clad wood windows which give it a nicer look on the interior. However, Andersen does not guarantee the installation. I am trying to verify the installerís warranty, but they are not open yet.

Renewal by Andersen http://www.renewalbyandersen.com/
These windows are $7500. They are made of a wood fiber and vinyl material called Fibrex. It is very sturdy and made to fit the opening. However, they have the plastic look on the interior. They are installed by Andersen and have a two year warranty on the installation.

Now the tough choice, which one to go with... any opinions? comments? advice?

Dan

JayStPeter
09-28-2005, 10:32 AM
We put the Renewal in our last house. They were fantastic. Unfortunately I only got to enjoy them for 2 years before having to move.
We bought them through an Anderson Renewal store. The service and professionalism was one of the big selling points. Most of the other replacement window seller/installers we found were either extremely expensive or cheap and fly-by-night. There were lots of written guarantees with the Renewal that we didn't get elsewhere (even more expensive).

Jay

Joe Pelonio
09-28-2005, 11:01 AM
We replaced an old window with a sliding patio door from Anderson, plus a couple of windows, all vinyl clad. We moved after 4 years but enjoyed them
a lot. Very well made, heavy, and no maintenance issues. I installed myself
and had inspections on it due to the change from window to door. Unless a
window company installs themselves their guarantee is subject to proper
installation. I have a friend that went thru a big mess with a dispute between the window mrg (not Anderson) and the remodeling contractor over who was
at fault when the glass broke after a couple of months, apparently due to stress
from being too close to the header which may have settled.

Matt Meiser
09-28-2005, 11:34 AM
We are currently putting in the 400 series. I did one myself last year and we are having the rest done now. They are actually being delivered tomorrow. For a sliding door and 9 windows, we are paying about $4000 for materials and installation will be in the neighborhood of $2000-2500, depending on how much damage there is from the "old" (if you consider 13 years old) windows. That includes trimming around the windows with a nice trim rather than just butting J-channel around the edges and some other miscellaneous trim work.

On our house, it helps that Home Depot happens to stock the exact size we needed for 8 of the 9 windows every day. The sliding door is about $1700 of the material cost as it is also an Anderson 400 series with quite a few options.

Jim Becker
09-28-2005, 8:57 PM
When we put in our new bay windows (and a replacement in the MBR), at first Pella had a contractor doing the work. The fellow was "really good" technically, but become, umm...unreliable. The job finally got done by Pella employees and it was done right. The moral to this story is...dealing directly with Andersen may give you more leverage on the installation if issues arrise before, during or after. But I also hear you about the vinyl on the inside...I didn't want that either and it basically ruled out most of the folks bidding on the work. Only Pella presented a product that met our requirements of wood inside. (Andersen didn't quote)

Joe Mioux
09-28-2005, 9:38 PM
When we put in our new bay windows (and a replacement in the MBR), at first Pella had a contractor doing the work. The fellow was "really good" technically, but become, umm...unreliable. The job finally got done by Pella employees and it was done right. The moral to this story is...dealing directly with Andersen may give you more leverage on the installation if issues arrise before, during or after. But I also hear you about the vinyl on the inside...I didn't want that either and it basically ruled out most of the folks bidding on the work. Only Pella presented a product that met our requirements of wood inside. (Andersen didn't quote)

Ditto everything JIm said, I have Pella windows in both shops and I love the real wood trim on the inside. If I had to build new, I would probably go Pella.

I had Andersen on the old house. Andersen stood behind some problems and replaced windows 11-12 years after the house was built. FIW, in the 1970's, Andersen had some window problems and when we bought this house, I asked one of the lumber yard people about the problem, they contacted their Andersen rep and he replaced 3 or 4 windows, no charge!

At the new house, I don't know what we have but they are pretty nice.

Joe

Bill Lewis
09-29-2005, 6:24 AM
When we built new we had Andersen 400 series windows installed. So far they have been fine.

When we built the addition to our last house, we also used Andersen. I don't remember the model number, but they were wood on the interior side. They too were fine, but we did have one of the sashes split along the edge where it was grooved for the track. One call to Andersen, and they sent out replacements with no problem. We bought and installed these ourselves, and just kept our warrentee information that was requires (proof of purchase).

I think Pella windows are a step up from Andersen, and Marvin are a step up from Pella. But I don't think you can go wrong with any of them.

BTW we did put vinyl replacement windows in the older part of the house. I personally don't like replacement retrofit windows, but they were inexpensive, and a huge improvement over what was there. In fact, I think I paid about $2200 for 13 windows installed (1994). I couldn't touch that price using any other window. At the time it was about all you could get, Andersen didn't make the Renewal windows.

Dennis Peacock
09-29-2005, 8:52 AM
Wonderful thread here folks. This is info I've been looking to read for some time now. I have what has to be the world's cheapest "winders" in my house and you can really tell it in the winter months. Nothing like sitting at the kitchen table and get chilled to the bone with the cold breeze from the outside. Needless to say, I'm reading and studying all I can about windows as I want to make the best overall choice for my pocketbook.

So, ya'll keep it up....I'm a learnin' thangs here. :D

Byron Trantham
09-29-2005, 9:32 AM
I did one myself last year and we are having the rest done now.
Matt, why didn't you install the rest yourself? I need to replace ours and have been considering doing it myself.

Dan Mages
09-29-2005, 9:46 AM
Please keep the advice comin! I will be going with SWMBO to the Renewal show room to get her opinion on the windows. They do offer a wood veneer on the vinyl window, which is a nice option... for an additional $1200. I will try to haggle with them to include the wood veneer at no additional cost if I go with the windows that very day.

Dan

Chris Damm
09-29-2005, 9:54 AM
From what I have read in the newspaper, if you wait until after Jan 1, you will get a tax break for energy related home improvments.


http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/columnist/block/2005-08-01-breaks_x.htm

Chris

Matt Meiser
09-29-2005, 11:46 AM
Matt, why didn't you install the rest yourself? I need to replace ours and have been considering doing it myself.

It took me the better part of a Saturday to do the one window. The contractor is planning 4 guys for 1 day to do the rest. I would certainly get a lot faster, but I just have too much going on.

Bill Lewis
09-29-2005, 12:11 PM
Yep, I factored in the the time aspect when I first considered puting replacement windows in my first house. Aside from the fact that it would take me weeks to get the job done, I was looking at buying a brake to do the flashing around the windows (which I figured I could sell later).

I did have the world's worst windows. 80+ year old double hungs, that long ago had their sash weights removed. Even with triple-track storms on them, the wind would blow out the plastic sheeting that we put over them.

Having the replacment windows installed in one day was practically a no-brainer. I still had to run the numbers though.

Matt Meiser
09-29-2005, 12:22 PM
Ours were just delivered a few minutes ago. Well, mostly. They didn't deliver the screens for 8 of the 9 windows, and one window is damaged. Luckily its one of the off the shelf ones so they are going to bring the replacement on Saturday.

JayStPeter
09-29-2005, 3:59 PM
I've had replacement windows installed in my last two houses. The first house I had was a small cheap house from the '50s. I had a fly-by-night operation come install inexpensive windows for me. The cost including installation was similar to just buying some inexpensive windows from the borg. Plus, those guys show up with a brake and put Al trim around the windows, so no more wood to paint. The windows they sold were only available installed (not that they were great windows, you just can't buy them).

The Renewal folks wouldn't sell the windows for DIY installation either. All prices were quoted including installation, period (well, there was an extra charge if you didn't have enough windows installed). Those guys showed up and replaced something like 18 windows in a day and a half. And, they did a great job. I did get some less expensive windows in some "less important" areas of the house to save some money (i.e. garage, laundry room, etc). The areas were chosen mostly for looks since the cheaper windows were only available in white and I got the Renewals with a tan color outside (at added co$t). Cheaper windows were chosen in less seen areas on the side and back of the house. Somewhere around 6 of the 18 were the cheaper ones.

I cannot comment on any wood veneer or solid wood as I'm a big fan of maintenance free. In both cases I was completely happy to never have to sand/paint/stain or otherwise finish any part of the window ever again (save for interior trim pieces). I won't be sad if I never have another wood window ever again.

On the first house we had '50s wood windows. On the second, '70s wood windows with Al frames. In either case, there was always a cold breeze blowing in during the winter. We put plastic window wrapping over the ones near the couch so our heads wouldn't get cold. Both the cheapo and the Renewals made a huge difference in comfort level during the winter. They also made the houses significantly quieter from outside noises. Unless you've done it, it's hard to appreciate how great it is to have nice, functional (not painted shut), energy efficient windows after suffering with junky wood ones. As soon as we moved into the second house, we immediately started saving for replacement windows.

The cheapos would occasionally squeak slightly on really windy winter nights. But they didn't seem to leak when doing so. Also, the raise/lowering mechanism were cheaply made and we broke a couple when using the tilt clean feature. The parts that broke were easily replaceable and we learned to keep a few around just in case (we broke 3 or 4 in 5 yrs.). We had one where the spring sprung and we had to prop it open. On the cheap windows, there was no means to replace that other than replace the window. The cheap windows we had installed in the second house with the Renewals were better and didn't have the problems of the super cheapos we installed in the first house (though we only had them for around 14 months compared to 5 yrs.). Even with the problems, the cheapo windows were so far superior to the old wood windows I would make that replacement again. Our second house had some absolutely huge windows. That is another of the reasons we chose the Renewals. Those are some nice solid windows that I don't hesitate to recommend (if you can afford them).

In both installs, we checked references. We were also a reference for each company when done.

Jay

Scott Coffelt
09-29-2005, 4:49 PM
I am right with you on cheap windows Dennis. I have single pane (individual glass for the divided light windows and storms. The problem I have is the size are very large. I have 10 foot ceilings and the windows with transiums run from floor to about 1 foot below ceiling. Trying to find someone with reasonable prices is tough. I will have to replace the whole window as i have replaced too many seals. The last I checked about $10k for the windows alone with no installation and up.

With the natural gas prices hitting a high, I am sure the house may just be a tad colder this winter.

Jim Becker
09-29-2005, 6:55 PM
Dan, I just want to be clear that I wasn't advocating Pella over Andersen...'just about the installation. Do buy the best and most energy efficient windows you can swing...it will pay off in the end. I know we already noticed a big difference last winter with ours and this year will likely be even more dramatic.

Dennis Peacock
09-29-2005, 7:18 PM
Scott,

I did find out that there is a VERY reputable window manufacturer here in Arkansas that makes very nice replacement windows, Low E, and the works. I think my total price, with me doing the labor, was around $4K total...depending on the options I pick, I can get the cost down under $3K and that's for 15 windows.

Ya'll keep posting your infinite wisdom so we can all learn more about replacement windows.

JayStPeter
09-29-2005, 9:06 PM
Dennis,

That is very cheap. I seem to remember the cheapo windows I had put in were somewhere in the $350/window range around 10 years ago. Of course, that included installation. It was also in the expensive DC area.

Jay

Dan Mages
10-03-2005, 8:43 AM
I went to Andersen's Renewal showcase and took a much closer at the windows. They have a much more solid feel than any window I have ever seen!! I do like the wood veneer look to the interior and will try to negotiate with them for a better price. I will also see if they will give me a discount if I remove all of the windows in the house myself to save on the labor costs. I also want to see the price difference for moving from double hung to casement, if my windows are not too wide for them.

Dan

Jim Becker
10-03-2005, 10:32 AM
Solid, energy efficient windows are a good investment, Dan.

JayStPeter
10-03-2005, 10:54 AM
Dan,
I guess it depends on the people there, but I'm not sure you'll get much discount for removal of your old windows. I think it takes them a total of 2 minutes a piece to remove the old windows. Maybe another minute to haul it out to the truck, but they combine that with the trash from the new window.
When I had them done, they also made a big deal of doing all the labor in order to honor the warranty. Apparently that was Andersons policy.

I agree that the Renewals are the most solid windows I've ever seen. When I had my new house built, every window upgrade the builder offered was dissapointing in comparison to what I had.

Jay

Rich Konopka
10-03-2005, 8:07 PM
We had the Andersons put in our new house. We have the double hung double pane with the grill in between the panes. They are very nice. One thing I do not care for are the screens. They can be a pain to get seated properly. Over all they are good windows.