NOTE: This review of Andersen 400 Series windows has been published before it is 100% finished so a friend of ours could take a look. We expect this will be completely wrapped up with additional pictures and info in the next several days. Please feel free to post any comments or suggestions at the bottom!
Here we’ll look at the Andersen 400 series windows. These are windows we installed for a good friend of mine. He picked them out and was sure that these were the windows for him. Shortly after they were installed he painted them himself and they sure do look pretty. When writing this review of Andersen 400 series windows I will be including pictures, pricing information and specific details.
For starters the Andersen 400 series windows look great. They look like nice wood windows. Once they’re painted to match the interior trim they certainly do look like part of the house rather than something that was installed after the house was built (you can just ignore the interesting paint colors that were picked on this project).
The next positive attribute of the Andersen 400 series is the tilt latch mechanisms. The sashes tilt in for easy cleaning like many new windows do these days. The way they operate is a little unique. Andersen has skipped the typical tilt latches on the meeting rail and opted for nearly invisible plastic clips that release the sash. This is a design that is also seen on other Andersen windows and it is very effective.
As you can see in the picture, all you do is slide the plastic clips down to the top of the sash and pull it in. This is a neat feature of the Andersen 400 series tilt-wash double hung model. You don’t find this mechanism from any other manufacturers.
The top sash, shown above, is even easier. It has the more traditional tilt latch mechanism on the top of the top sash. They do it this way because these latches are invisible when the window is closed.
These mechanisms give the window the ability to tilt in while maintaining the traditional look of a wood window. Perhaps it’s a small detail, but it does make the window look great and operate well.
The exterior of this Andersen 400 series window is vinyl clad and the exterior trim has been capped as you can see here. This leaves the exterior completely finished and maintenance free. Some folks prefer the look of wood brickmould or exterior trim and that would be an option, but it would then require painting. This homeowner wanted to go maintenance free and he achieved his desired result.
After living with these windows for a while some less than positive attributes of the Andersen 400 series have come into focus as well. For example, it’s clear that the owner ordered these windows unfinished and painted them himself. That means you can see areas where he was not able to get the brush. To get it perfectly finished he’ll need to go back and repaint all of these windows to get them looking great and that’s a chore.
Next, you can see the interior grids on these windows. They are flimsy and they bend when you try to pull down the top sash. We opened the windows from the top to get a picture of the tilt latch and we almost broke one. There is no other way to lower the top sash which means at least some will likely break in the future. This design alone is a serious shortcoming.
Last and certainly not least, these windows are drafty! I was sitting on the couch during a winter storm sorting through the pictures to make sure I had everything I needed. I could feel cold air on the back of my neck coming from the window behind me. I pulled up the air infiltration ratings for this model and they say it’s <0.30. We know from the previous post on air infiltration ratings that this is pretty weak.
To sum it all up: this is a nice looking window. The specifics of the windows installed in this house are just details. For example the flimsy looking interior only grids are an option and you could order another type.
The air infiltration on the other hand is a real problem. These windows are drafty and there is no way to change that. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars for new windows to have a cold family and these windows just don’t provide a good seal. After observing these windows for a few months I can’t recommend them. Our good friend will be replacing these relatively new wood windows with another model that gets a much tighter seal.
The Andersen 400 series windows look great, but they do not seal well. If your goal was to look pretty with no concern for anything else then go for it. Most folks want a balance of beauty and efficiency. This window does not accomplish that goal.
If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List. For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run. You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here.
If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.