Why are Pella and Andersen not liked here?

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rajd
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Why are Pella and Andersen not liked here?

#1 Post by rajd » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:53 pm

I'm about to replace 24 windows and want to make the best choice I can. After 4 estimates from Pella (250 series), VinylMax (Franklin), Polaris (private labeled to Universal Windows Direct), and Andersen (400 series) I am more confused than ever :) I've looked through the posts and reviews on this site for about the last year and a couple of things popped out:

1. Pella (and Andersen to a lesser extent) seem to be disliked. I found posts that simply stated "you won't find anyone here that supports Pella" but I couldn't find out why. Can someone summarize in a professional way why the only 2 companies I've heard of for high end windows are bad choices?

2. The 2 most talked about brands on here seem to be Okna and Simonton. Is there a concise, objective set of reasons that make these top brands? Neither cropped up in my area from any dealers on my initial search.

I live in the St. Louis, MO area. My current windows are the original builder installed, single hung windows from 14 years ago. I'd like to upgrade to double hung, high quality, high efficiency windows. I'm not looking to cheap out on the windows but I certainly don't want to overpay nor get junk windows that I'm back to replacing in another 10-15 years. Are there 2-3 brands/models in the mid-high end I should be looking at?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice.

--RD

randy
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Re: Why are Pella and Andersen not liked here?

#2 Post by randy » Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:55 pm

First, since the professionals here are all specialize in replacement, we get to see firsthand what lasts and what doesn’t last; which windows hold up well and which windows do not.

Second, most if not all of us, have sold and installed both of the brands mentioned at some point in our careers. This gives us insight into the quality of the construction, as well as the level of customer service that the manufacturer provides - before, during and after the sale.

Third, although both manufacturers offer a variety of products, none of them are stand-outs when it comes to performance as certified through AAMA and the NFRC. We prefer to recommend products from manufacturers that are focused on tighter manufacturing tolerances, resulting in better performance and longer term satisfaction.

In your area, there are homebuilders who are extremely well known due to the sheer volume of homes they build and the advertising budgets that volume of business allows. While everyone has heard of them, that doesn’t make them exceptional, it just makes them well known. If you’re wanting a track home, they may be the right choice. However, if you’re wanting something above the baseline, you’ll be wise to seek out a custom builder who isn’t so well known, but who pays more attention to the details. So it is with window manufacturers.

Hope this helps.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Why are Pella and Andersen not liked here?

#3 Post by HomeSealed » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:00 pm

Can't add much to Randy's post, very well stated. Here you will get recommendations based on real world experience along with objective performance data. Brand names are neither a positive or a negative.

rajd
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Re: Why are Pella and Andersen not liked here?

#4 Post by rajd » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:09 pm

Thank you kindly for the information. I certainly agree that name recognition doesn't automatically mean good quality. I'm also not wed to any brand, I just want to make the best choice.

I will attempt to find reputable installers in my area and get window recommendations from them. Again, thanks.

--RD

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Re: Why are Pella and Andersen not liked here?

#5 Post by HomeSealed » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:46 pm

Rajd, the Polaris window that you saw is a nice piece. Not the prettiest girl in the room in my eyes, but it has upper tier performance numbers and a reputation for quality. My dealings with them have been very solid. The dealer offering it seems to have somewhat mixed reviews, but that can vary wildly from one location to another. I'd check into the BBB ratings, Angies list, Google ratings etc for your local location.

On the Andersen choice, I'd just clarify that I'm not of the opinion that they are crap. They are a fine choice as far as wood windows go. Their Renewal product and dealers are pretty universally disliked for their sales tactics and snake oil pitch, but the 400 is a decent choice IF you want a wood window. For the fact that you are considering vinyl and I'd therefore assume that you don't have issue with its aesthetic qualities, then that may rule out wood for you as higher end vinyl windows will be superior performers thermally and structurally.

Okna/Himark, Softlite, Polaris, Sunrise, and Kensington offer some of the top performing products. Simonton is more mid-level these days as far as choices in the Eastern half of the country. Out West where they don't have access to some of the top choices, it gets a better grade being on a curve.

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Re: Why are Pella and Andersen not liked here?

#6 Post by masterext » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:37 pm

No one on this board that i know of recommends simonton.. as far as andersen and pella, they are just well known brands with not so good performance ratings.
The andersn woodwright 400 is ok in the looks department the whereas the andersen 400 “tilt wash” looks cheap. Again, both dont offer the performance that higher end vinyl renders.

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Re: Why are Pella and Andersen not liked here?

#7 Post by HomeSealed » Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:46 pm

masterext wrote:No one on this board that i know of recommends simonton..
You'll find it in some of the Western region threads, as well as some older posts before today's best performers were as widely available.

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