Pella 250 Series Windows Reviews

The Pella 250 Series windows are a decent vinyl window option. This had been the mid-range option with the upgraded Pella 350 series windows being the top of the line. In my humble opinion the Pella 350 series model was a better choice but that model has since been discontinued. Now the 250 series is the top of the line option.

With that said, the 250 series is a decent window model, but not as nice as the higher end options that you can get from other manufacturers. I don’t know why they discontinued their nicer option, but all we’re left with is this 250 window model.

Pella 250 series windows with hidden screens and little kids playing.  Are they saying your kids will be this cute if you buy these windows?

What are the advantages of the Pella 250 Series windows?

The advantages to these windows are pretty limited. They are made by Pella. They’re obviously a large and well established company so that’s a positive.

They do offer a neat screen option in the hidden screen. This is a screen that is attached to the bottom of the window sash and it comes up when you open the window. Here’s a picture:

Hidden screen on these Pella vinyl windows.

They say this screen is backed by a 10 year warranty but that would typically only cover manufacturing defects. If your kids (or your cat) damages this screen there will be replacement costs. It’s also not as simple to fix as a regular screen. I think an option like this is neat in a brochure, but not necessarily as neat in real life.

What are the disadvantages?

There are a few downsides to this window model. They’re not the most efficient and the color options are pretty limited. We’ll have more info in both of those topics below.

Beyond that, these windows are generally more expensive than comparable windows from other manufacturers. The pricing I’ve seen from customers tends to show these windows being offered at a pretty significant price premium. That just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’d say the relatively bad value proposition is a pretty substantial drawback to these windows.

What colors are available for Pella 250 Series windows?

The color options for these windows are rather limited. It is common to see many more available colors when looking at windows from larger manufacturers. In this case Pella limits the color choices to just the few options shown below.

Very limited color choices in the Pella 250 series windows.

As you can see the basic window colors are white, fossil. If you order one of those options the windows will be that color inside and out.

Then you can add an exterior color if you want to jazz it up a little bit. The only exterior color options are brown and black.

So, while the color options are pretty limited they do offer the most popular colors. I would guess these options will do the trick for the majority of customers.

Are the Pella 250 Series windows energy efficient?

They’re very middle of the road in terms of efficiency. They advertise three InsulShield glass packages which is a nice way to try to keep things simple. They don’t advertise efficiency ratings. This is a pretty common thing to do when the efficiency ratings aren’t remarkable.

Generally when a company offers real measurable efficiency ratings that are pretty good they’re happy to tell everyone about them.

Is the Pella 250 Series warranty any good?

Not really. We’ll have a complete Pella vinyl window warranty review coming out within the next several days so look for that. For now, the warranty is decent in that it’s backed by a very large company. That’s good.

There are substantial drawbacks to the warranty. For example, they try to restrict your ability to sue them if the products have issues. The warranty term can also be shorter than you’ll see from other vinyl window manufacturers.

I’d say the warranty on the 250 series windows is probably ok, but not a selling point in my opinion.

What’s the bottom line?

Overall I think this is not the best option in most cases. Some customers are just more comfortable with well known brands like Pella or Andersen and that tends to be why these windows continue to sell.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with the Pella 250 series windows and I think many people would be happy with them. The value isn’t typically the best as you’re paying a premium for the Pella name. I do think you can get a better value elsewhere.

How can you find a great window company?

That part is easy.  Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Andersen Heritage Windows Reviews

Here we have Andersen Heritage windows reviews so you can find out if these are the best windows for your project. These are aluminum windows which aren’t nearly as popular today as they once were. Why have customers turned against aluminum windows? Are the Andersen Heritage windows any good? Let’s find out.

What are the advantages of Andersen Heritage windows?

These windows are made in the Southwest. That’s about the only part of the country where you’ll still see a lot of aluminum windows.

Advantages of aluminum windows are that they can be made with very slim frames in a wide range of styles. Aluminum is stronger than other materials like vinyl or wood so the frames can be smaller and the windows can be larger.

You also get a more commercial look which can be a good fit for some projects. Here’s an example.

In order to get a look like this you really need an aluminum window. In that case, the Heritage model might fit the bill.

What are the disadvantages?

The downsides of aluminum windows including the Andersen Heritage windows are the prices and the short warranty.

Aluminum windows are generally a fair bit more expensive than their vinyl competitors. In the case of the Heritage window the warranty is also much shorter. We’ll have more warranty info below, but it’s not a great sign that this window model might have the shortest warranty of any Andersen window product. In my mind the warranty is an indication of how long the manufacturer expects the products to hold up. It’s pretty important.

How efficient are Andersen Heritage windows?

Interestingly, Andersen publishes efficiency data for just about all of their window models, but they don’t appear to publish ratings on the Heritage aluminum windows.

Aluminum windows are often not as efficient as other window types and I can only assume that’s why this info isn’t published. In addition to probably being less efficient than other types, aluminum windows can also have relatively high air infiltration rates. If anyone out there has real info on the efficiency ratings, including air infiltration please post a comment below to let us know.

If you’re considering these windows I suggest you do it for the look and the commercial style rather than for the efficiency.

Andersen Heritage windows for a corner window with max glass area.
Here you can see the commercial window style that aluminum windows provide. Check out that cool corner window!

What colors are available?

The color options are rather limited. Below you can see the popular interior and exterior colors. They do also offer custom colors, but that’s not always a great idea.

You can see they offer the same colors in the thermally improved and the non-thermally improved options. Who knows why they make that distinction in the colors graphics since the choices are the same. They do list the options in a different order which is also a little weird.

The finish warranties are different on the painted vs anodized finishes so that’s something to be aware of. More info on the warranty below.

Is the Andersen Heritage window warranty any good?

Not really. In fact compared with the A-Series, E-Series, 200 Series and 100 Series it might be the worst Andersen window warranty. That’s not good.

Important opt-out clause in the Andersen windows warranty.
Here you can see one important aspect of the Heritage warranty.

This limitation recently appeared in all of the Andersen window warranties. I think it’s a bigger deal than people might realize. If you don’t opt-out of this clause within 1 year of purchase (not installation) your rights are severely limited. I don’t really know how that’s legal, but I’m not a lawyer.

Beyond that, there are other important limitations to be aware of. For example, you get coverage on the insulated glass for 20 years. That’s pretty good, but there’s more to the story.

Very short 2 year warranty on non-glass components of the Anderson Heritage windows.
Here you can see the warranty coverage for non-glass components.

As you can see above the warranty for non-glass components is very short. 2 years from date of purchase is almost silly compared to what you get from other manufacturers. Say it takes 2-3 months from when you ordered until the windows are installed. That means you might only get 21 months of warranty coverage. That’s unusual.

Finish warranty on Heritage aluminum windows.
Here you can see the finish warranty is only 5 years on anodized finishes.

The warranty on the anodized finishes is only 5 years. You also get that same 5 year term on the applied finishes. That’s not a particularly long time for something that is sold as being very durable.

What’s the bottom line?

If you need aluminum windows for a commercial look or for extreme sizes this might be a decent option. Just be aware that the warranty is short and you’ll want to understand the efficiency ratings.

Aluminum windows used to be very common, but other materials have gained substantial market share as customers pick other options. If you don’t need aluminum windows for your specific project you might want to look at other frame materials.

Other Andersen window posts you might find helpful:

How can you find a great window company?

That part is easy.  Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Andersen 200 Series Windows Reviews

Here we’ll look at Andersen 200 Series windows reviews to see if these windows are a good choice for your home. The 200 Series is the cheapest wood window option from Andersen. That means it won’t be as nice as the fancier A-Series and E-Series windows that we’ve reviewed previously.

The 200 Series is a step up from the 100 Series which uses their Fibrex imitation wood frames. Since the 200 is real wood it might be a better option. Let’s find out.

What are the advantages of the Andersen 200 Series windows?

The main advantage of these windows is that they’re made with real wood. As I’ve said previously, my company primarily offers vinyl windows, but I do understand why someone might want wood windows. There are many tradeoffs that come with wood windows vs vinyl including higher prices, shorter warranties and less efficient results.

That said I do definitely prefer real wood to imitation wood products like composite and fiberglass windows. I’d say the fact that these use real wood is the main advantage over other products.

What are the disadvantages?

The drawbacks to these windows will include the efficiency, warranty and prices along with limited options and styles available in this model. The Parma-Shield exterior vinyl cladding can also be a concern.

Years ago my company offered wood windows through Jeld-Wen and the rep from Jeld-Wen used to pick on the vinyl cladding that Andersen offered. He would say that their extruded aluminum cladding was stronger and more durable. I have Andersen wood windows in our cabin and they have the vinyl cladding. It’s held up just fine for me, but it is something that competitors might do better.

We’ll get into a little more detail on the efficiency and warranty below. To keep it short here, the overall efficiency ratings of these windows are pretty mediocre. The air infiltration rates are higher than you’ll see from most vinyl windows meaning they let in more air when closed and locked.

The warranty is also much more limited than a vinyl window, but pretty similar to what you’d expect for a wood or composite window. For example, you get 20 years of coverage on the glass unit and 10 years on most other components. The warranty on exterior wood is 5 years.

There is a substantial limitation of your rights to sue them if there are problems down the road. You can opt-out of this limitation but only if you do it right away. If you delay you may lose those rights forever. Find more info on that below.

Are Andersen 200 Series windows energy efficient?

Not really. While they say they offer the “industry’s widest array of glass options” the efficiency ratings for those options are pretty typical. There’s nothing I’ve seen that would indicate these windows are any more efficient than anything else. In fact, there are many window options out there with far more efficient options.

The air infiltration rates are another concern. They only publish the rating as being <0.20 which is pretty high. I usually suggest looking for a window with an air infiltration under 0.05, but that’s really more geared towards vinyl windows. Wood, composite and fiberglass windows don’t seem to seal as well as they almost always have higher (worse) air infiltration rates.

Andersen 200 Series efficiency ratings and air infiltration.
Here you can see an example of the efficiency ratings for the Andersen 200 series tilt wash double hung windows.

As you can see in the chart above the U-Factor and air infiltration rates for these windows aren’t fantastic. They do offer more glass packages with different ratings but nothing about the efficiency options is remarkable.

Is the Andersen 200 Series warranty any good?

It depends. Compared to most vinyl window warranties the warranty on the Andersen 200 Series windows is not very good at all. That said, when you compare this warranty to other wood windows it looks a little better.

That said, there is one very important aspect of this warranty that you should be aware of:

Andersen 200 Series warranty restrictions and limitations.
Here you can see a change to the Andersen 200 Series and 400 Series warranty.

This is the first paragraph in the updated Andersen windows warranty. In my opinion it’s pretty important. If you don’t opt-out of this restriction within 1 year of the date of purchase your rights are severely limited.

Notice they use the date of purchase as the start of the timeline which is probably a month or two before your windows are actually installed. I would recommend everyone go to their site and opt-out of this restriction ASAP.

Beyond that limitation the rest of the warranty is pretty reasonable. You get 20 year coverage on the insulated glass, 10 years on most other components. There is no labor coverage and no glass breakage coverage either.

Andersen 200 Series window warranty has no labor coverage.

What colors are available for Andersen 200 Series windows?

The color options are pretty limited for the Andersen 200 Series windows. Here you can see the interior and exterior options.

The exterior colors are the permanent-shield exterior cladding which is a vinyl cladding. As I mentioned above it’s something that Andersen’s competitors use against them. To be fair I do have personal experience with this product and it’s worked just fine for me. It might be something to be concerned about in a very high sun area, but how much you weigh that concern is really up to you.

The only interior options are an unfinished pine or a repainted white. If you wanted to paint yourself or if you wanted a white interior these options will be perfect. Otherwise this will mean you’ll be paying someone else to paint them which will add to the cost of your project.

What’s the bottom line?

Overall, if you’re someone who has to have a wood window and you want a relatively basic solution this might be a fine product. The efficiency and warranty aren’t great, but they are similar to other wood windows.

The color, style and hardware options are very limited, but many people don’t pick the fancy options you see in many window brochures.

If you do want different colors, styles or better efficiency you’ll definitely want to look elsewhere.

Other Andersen window posts you might find helpful:

How can you find a great window company?

That part is easy.  Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Andersen 100 Series Windows Reviews

Find Andersen 100 Series windows reviews here to see if these are the best windows for your house. The Andersen 100 Series uses Fibrex frames which is a composite material that is also used in the Renewal by Andersen line of replacement windows. This product can come with quite a sales pitch, but is it really any good?

Here we look at the Fibrex frames, the energy efficiency, warranty and the advantages and disadvantages of this window model to see if it’s the right fit for you. Let’s get started.

What are the advantages of Andersen 100 Series windows?

The main advantage of the Andersen 100 series windows is the look. They can look very nice. These windows use a composite frame material that they call Fibrex. These frames offer a painted finish that can look a lot like a wood window.

They’ll tell you the Fibrex frames are more durable than a wood window and prettier than a vinyl window. Andersen finds themselves in a tricky spot promoting this product. They want to show it as being “better” than a vinyl window, but they don’t want to compete too much with wood windows since they sell so many wood windows.

Unfortunately the nice look of these windows is about where the list of advantages ends. Let’s look at the disadvantages for more info.

What are the disadvantages?

The main drawbacks to this window model are the price, the warranty and the efficiency. Those can be pretty major drawbacks.

The prices for these windows can vary based on the dealer or distributor that is offering the windows. We’d typically expect to see them installed for $1200+ per window so the cost is up there.

The efficiency is another major drawback. We’ll get a little farther into the ratings down below, but the U-Factors are higher (worse) than nice vinyl windows and the air infiltration ratings are higher (worse) also.

Beyond all of that the warranty isn’t as great as the warranties you’ll see from other companies either. It’s true that this warranty is transferable regardless of who owns the house. That’s good. Unfortunately the warranty is much more limited than other options. We have more info on details and examples from the actual Andersen 100 series warranty below.

Here is another glamour shot of the Andersen 100 Series casement windows.  They sure do love those black window frames.
They really love showing off those black frames.

Are the Fibrex frames really any good?

I’m not a huge fan of paying a premium for imitation wood. I do like the look of real wood windows and I understand why some people pay the premium for it. In my mind if you want real wood windows you should get real wood windows. Getting imitation wood windows has just never really made sense to me.

For example, the warranty on the 100 Series windows is 10 years on the frame members. The warranty on the A-Series is also 10 years and the warranty on exterior wood frames on the Andersen E-Series is 5 years.

So, if the Fibrex material was so super duper you’d expect it to have a significantly longer warranty than other models, but it doesn’t. I know some people say they don’t worry too much about warranties, but the warranty is telling you how long the manufacturer expects the product to last. If they thought it would last 50 years it would have a 50 year warranty.

In my mind the Fibrex frames are more sales pitch than anything else.

Are Andersen 100 Series windows energy efficient?

Not especially. There are many glass packages available for these windows and they’ll all have different efficiency ratings. You’ll see catchy marketing names like HeatLock, SmartSun, PassiveSun, etc. These all sound great, but the ratings are all relatively average.

Here is an example of the efficiency rantings and air infiltration ratings for the Andersen 100 Series windows.
Here is an example of the efficiency ratings of the Andersen 100 Series windows. The ratings are perfectly fine, but not at all remarkable.

As with other Andersen wood and composite windows, the air infiltration rates are not the best. It seems that they just can’t make these windows seal very well and that’s not ideal.

For example, a nicer vinyl casement window will have an air infiltration rate of 0.02 or maybe 0.04. The Andersen 100 Series casement windows have ratings of <0.20 which is substantially higher. They don’t publish the exact ratings for each model and size so we’re just going by the published info.

Overall the efficiency ratings for these windows just don’t look very remarkable.

Is the warranty for Andersen 100 Series windows any good?

Not really. Andersen is in a strange spot with the 100 Series windows. They’re trying to compete with both wood and vinyl windows. In comparison to the warranties for most vinyl windows the 100 Series warranty is not very good at all.

Most vinyl windows will come with a lifetime transferable warranty that is good for as long as you own the house. Those warranties are then transferable when you sell the house. The 100 Series comes with a 20 year warranty that is actually only 10 years on many components. That’s shorter.

The salespeople sometimes say that lifetime warranties are actually only 7 years, but there’s just not any truth to that. The fact that you can still find salespeople saying things like that tells you that they know the warranty doesn’t compare very well.

This language seems to have been added to most Andersen window warranties. WATCH OUT.

Note in the paragraph above, they say you give up your right to be involved in a class action suit or to have a jury trial. I don’t know why they seem particularly worried about that, but it’s something for you to be cautious about. You have 1 year to opt out and that year starts when you originally placed the order, not when the windows were installed. I’ve read a lot of window warranties and this feels a little tricky to me.

When comparing the 100 Series to wood windows the warranty looks a little better. It’s very similar to the warranty you get on the Andersen A-Series windows and you might say it’s a little better than the warranty on the E-Series windows.

Overall, I’d say the warranty on these windows isn’t a selling point in my opinion.

Are Andersen 100 Series windows the same as Renewal by Andersen?

Not exactly, but the Fibrex frame material is the same. We’ve heard from many readers who commented at the bottom of this page saying they were able to find much better prices on Fibrex in the Andersen 100 series vs Renewal by Andersen. I certainly believe that to be true.

There are some differences in the products, but you get the same frame material, similar efficiency ratings and significantly lower prices in the 100 Series. We’ll have a full comparison post looking at 100 Series vs Renewal by Andersen soon, but for now it’s my opinion that the 100 Series is a significantly better value.

What colors are available for Andersen 100 Series windows?

There are a surprisingly limited number of colors available for these windows. Below you can see the interior and exterior color options.

Here are the interior and exterior colors for the Andersen 100 Series windows.  Note they do offer a black interior and a black exterior option.

You can see they do offer a black exterior with a black interior which is something you don’t find from most vinyl window manufacturers. If you’re an HGTV fanatic who has to have black interior this could be a decent option. I am surprised that you don’t see 50 color options for these like you do on some other Andersen window lines. I can only guess that they use fancier color options to entice you into more expensive window lines.

You do see more of their signature strange sales claims regarding colors. For example, they claim the finish is 12x thicker than vinyl windows. Has anyone ever been too worried about the thickness of the paint?

This feels like a pretty questionable sales claim to me. I think you will need to paint it.
Really, I’ll never need to paint it? Seems like it should have a pretty long warranty on the finish, but it doesn’t.

Remember, when you’re reading claims made by window companies you want to focus on what it actually means to you. Do you care if the paint is thicker? I don’t. You might care about how long the paint will last and you can see that in the warranty.

Most vinyl windows with a painted exterior finish will come with a 10 year warranty on that finish. What sort of warranty do you get on Andersen 100 series windows?

Here is the very limited warranty on the exterior finish of the Andersen 100 Series windows.  I don't know how they can say you'll never need to paint it when the warranty is only 10 years.

You guessed it. 10 years. So they claim that the paint is thicker and you’ll “never have to paint it” but then they tell you in the warranty that they don’t expect it to last any longer than the “thinner” paint on other windows.

What good is it if it doesn’t last longer? Sounds like it might just be driving up the cost. How can they say you’ll never have to paint it and then say they only think it’ll last 10 years. Sounds like just another sales pitch to me.

What’s the bottom line?

Overall this is a good option if you’re in love with the idea of the Fibrex composite frames. If you’re willing to pay the substantial price premium over a vinyl window for an option that is pretty but is less efficient, has a shorter warranty and is much more expensive than this could be an option.

I do think this is a much better value than the similar Renewal by Andersen line. If I were buying windows like this for my house I’d definitely get real wood vs the imitation wood you get with this Fibrex line.

That’s really a distinction that’s up to you. If you prefer this look over vinyl and you’re comfortable with the trade offs then it’s a fine solution. Otherwise, I’d look elsewhere.

Other Andersen window posts you might find helpful:

How can you find a great window company?

That part is easy.  Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Andersen A-Series Windows Reviews

Here we have Andersen A-Series windows reviews to see if these are a good option for your home. Andersen says these are their best performing and most energy efficient windows. Does that mean these windows are a great choice or is Andersen just trading on their name and reputation in the industry? Let’s find out.

What are the advantages of the Andersen A-Series windows?

Similar to the Andersen E-Series that we reviewed recently, the A-Series is a very nice looking product. That’s going to be the main advantage to these windows over other choices. Here’s a glamour shot from their brochure:

Andersen A-Series interior view.
These are some nice looking Andersen A-Series windows and a nice looking table too.

Unfortunately, beyond the good looks there are some downsides to these products that you should be aware of.

What are the disadvantages?

There are a range of disadvantages to these windows. For example, they’ll be considerably less energy efficient than a nice vinyl window. They’re also relatively expensive and the warranty is much more limited, in some respects, than others.

For example, in the brochure they say the A-Series windows never need painting and they hold their vibrant finish.

Then in the actual warranty they say the windows won’t fade for 10 years. Of course most people never read the fine print in the warranty, but we do.

Andersen A-Series paint warranty.

To say the windows will “never need painting” and then say the warranty is only for 10 years feels a little dishonest to me. If they really thought the windows would never need painting shouldn’t the warranty cover the finish for a little longer? Maybe that’s why they want to limit your right to sue them as part of the warranty. We’ll get more into the warranty down below.

So, the main drawbacks of these windows in my mind are the warranty, the efficiency and the relatedly high prices. Next we’ll look at the efficiency.

Are the Andersen A-Series windows energy efficient?

Not really. We know Andersen touts these as being their most efficient windows and the ratings can be decent, but they’re defininltey less efficient than windows you’ll see from other manufacturers, often at lower costs.

For example, in preparation for this article I reviewed efficiency ratings for over 150 configurations of the A-Series casement window. The very best U-Factor available without grilles was 0.24. Lower is better when it comes to U-Factors and 0.24 is ok, but it’s definitely higher (worse) than you’ll see from many other manufacturers. Why is this the very best that Andersen offers? I have no idea.

Andersen A-Series windows energy efficiency chart.
These are the very best ratings we could find for Andersen A-Series casement windows. These aren’t particularly great ratings.

As you can see the very best ratings we could find for the most efficient option available in a casement window still isn’t particularly great. These are probably more efficient than the old windows in your house but they’re not as efficient as many other available options.

What about the Andersen A-Series air infiltration rates?

This is another area that doesn’t look so great for Andersen. The air infiltration is presented in the chart above as being <0.20 which is pretty underwhelming, especially for a casement window. Most top of the line type casement windows will have air infiltration ratings around 0.02 or about 1/10th of the air that you get through the A-series windows.

To be fair air infiltration is one of the ratings that will vary by size so it’s sometimes challenging to present one rating for one window. The size of the window can change the rating a little bit. Still, 0.20 is super high for a casement window. Most vinyl window options will seal much better.

Andersen A-Series are pretty windows.
Here’s another glamour shot of the Anderson A-Series windows.

Is the Andersen A-Series warranty any good?’

Not really. Right off the bat I would be concern that they try to limit your rights in the very first paragraph.

As you can see, right off the bat they say that you give up your right to participate in a class action suit or to have a jury trial unless you go to their website and fill out a form within a year of the windows being installed.

This strikes me as being a little tricky as most people won’t have a problem in the first year so they likely won’t actually read the warranty. If you spend $20k on windows and have a problem 3 years down the road your rights might already be limited. Strange.

We already showed you how they claim these windows never need painting but then say if they fade after 10 years you’re on your own.

There are some aspects of the warranty that are better. For example, the insulated glass is covered for 20 years. They may just provide the glass and no labor, but at leas the glass is covered.

The other components like locks, latches, balances, etc are only covered for 10 years which is also a relatively short time period. They also have no obligation to provide labor for a repair to these components either.

And, labor is not covered at all.

The warranty is transferable and stays with the windows rather than with the purchaser which is a nice feature. Many other warranties make you transfer the warranty to the buyer of the house hoping you’ll forget. Andersen doesn’t do that and that’s a selling point if you ask me.

What’s the bottom line?

Overall I’d say these window are very pretty. They also come with relatively high prices, a very limited warranty and efficiency ratings that aren’t too great.

If you’re in a situation where the look that they offer is worth the tradeoffs then these windows might make sense for you. for everyone else, there are probably better options out there.

Other Andersen window posts you might find helpful:

How can you find a great window company?

That part is easy.  Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Andersen E-Series Windows Reviews

Find our Andersen E-Series windows reviews here. We’ll look at the options, colors, efficiency, warranty and more to see if these windows make sense for you.

Many people know the Andersen windows name, but that doesn’t mean that they only make great windows. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything so let’s see if these windows are any good.

What are the advantages of Andersen E-Series windows?

The main advantage these windows offer is the look. They can really look nice. Unfortunately that’s where the list of advantages seems to end.

Look at this beautiful corner window.  It's in the Andersen E-Series window line.
Check out these beauties. That corner window is pretty cool, but it might not be what you need for your project.

If you were comparing these windows vs vinyl windows you’ll find vinyl windows tend to be more energy efficient, have better warranties and cost significantly less. Really the only reason I see to pick windows like this is if you must have the look of a wood window.

If you’re in that camp and you just love the look and feel of wood windows then these can be a decent choice. Otherwise, you might want to explore other options.

What are the disadvantages?

The main disadvantages to Andersen E-Series windows are the cost, the not-so-great efficiency and the short warranty. We’ll get into more detail below, but there are reasons that these aren’t the most popular windows in the world.

They are pretty though. Let’s do one more glamour shot before getting into the style options and more of the downsides.

What colors are available for Andersen E-Series windows?

There is a pretty wide range of color options for Andersen E-Series windows and that’s one of the selling points. Below you can see the standard colors. When you read about windows as much as I do you start to notice some interesting things. For example, see their note about the colors being unaffected by the sun.

There is a very wide range of exterior colors available for these Andersen windows.
Here are the Andersen E-Series colors. Are they really unaffected by the sun?

As you can see in red above, Andersen advertises that these windows are unaffected by the sun if you pick one of the anodized finishes. That seems a little odd so I read the footnote and reviewed the written warranty. Here’s what I found:

Andersen E-Series windows anodized color warranty.

As you can see, the anodized finish is only covered by the warranty for 5 years. After that if it flakes or fades you’re out of luck. So much for being unaffected by the sun!

They also say that if the finish fails within in the warranty period they might repaint it and the finish may not be the same. Or, they can replace it but they won’t cover the labor so you’re on the hook for that. Or, they might refund you the original purchase price. Not great options.

The warranty on painted finishes actually looks to be better, but they reference anodized finishes as being unaffected by the sun. Marketing is strange.

One more thing about the colors

The footnotes are often my favorite part when reading window info. It’s where they tell you what they actually mean vs what they said in big print.

Andersen E-Series windows interior color options.

Funny that they list mahogany as an available wood species, then say it’s not actually mahogany at the bottom of the page. I guess writing Mahogany-ish would have been confusing too…

Is the Andersen window warranty any good?

It’s decent for a wood window, but substantially worse than most vinyl window warranties that we review. There’s a lot to understand.

For example, you’ll notice right off the bat that they want to limit your right to sue them if you have a problem. That might not be a great thing. Here’s a relevant section:

This sounds to me like they very much want to avoid a class action lawsuit. I suppose that’s understandable for them to want, but I don’t think most customers are aware that their rights are being limited in this way.

If you’re buying these windows I’d opt out of that limitation. I can’t think of any reason why you’d want to limit your rights like that.

Other interesting limitations of the Andersen E-Series warranty is that the glass units are only covered for 20 years with no labor coverage for replacement.

Exterior wood is only covered for 5 years, interior for 10 years. The painted finishes vary from 5 years to 20 years and the hardware, blinds and screens are only covered for 10 years.

Overall the warranty is rather short compared to the other warranties I’m routinely reading. We’ll have another post on the Andersen E-Series window warranty soon. Here it is! In the meantime I’d make sure you understand that despite the high cost of this product the warranty is still on the shorter side.

Are Andersen E-Series windows energy efficient?

Not really. I just reviewed efficiency ratings for dozens of packages in the E-Series casement windows as an example. I couldn’t find anything with a U-Factor lower than 0.27 for a triple pane window. Lower is better when it comes to U-Factors and 0.27 for triple pane isn’t great. Most of the products I frequently deal with will have U-Factors in the range of 0.22 or lower for a triple pane casement window. That’s a big difference.

Also, they only list air infiltration rates in ranges, but the ranges aren’t great. For most casement options it looks like they’re advertising < 0.20 which means the air infiltration rate could be as high as 0.19. For comparison, options we deal with frequently will be 0.02 or lower for a casement window.

Andersen E-Series windows efficiency is not so great.
Here is the most efficient package I could find for the Andersen E-Series casement. These ratings aren’t great compared to most vinyl window options.

What’s the bottom line?

overall the Andersen E-Series windows can look very nice. They cost quite a lot, they’re less efficient than other options and they have shorter warranties too.

So, if you need that look and you’re less concerned about the price and the efficiency these windows might be a fine choice. Otherwise, I would suggest you can find other options with longer warranties, lower prices and better efficiency too.

Other Andersen window posts you might find helpful:

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Sunrise Restorations Windows Reviews

The Sunrise Restorations windows are the “top of the line” option from Sunrise. Does that mean they’re great windows or just good marketing? Let’s find out.

First, it’s been claimed that they call these windows “Restorations” because they were designed to look like wood windows to be used in restoration projects. That just feels like sales fluff to me. Many vinyl windows try to look like wood windows, that part makes sense. Unfortunately most historic projects will still require wood windows, vinyl just isn’t the right product for a historic restoration.

That said, vinyl is a great choice vs wood, fiberglass or composite windows in many circumstances. Let’s find out if the Sunrise Restorations windows are the right choice for you.

Sunrise Restorations bay and bow windows.
Here are examples of bay and bow windows. Sunrise offers these in several window lines including Sunrise Restorations.

What are the advantages of Sunrise Restorations windows?

The salesmen selling these windows may tell you a lot of fantastic stories about their greatness. In my experience these windows are usually offered by the most sales focused companies out there.

That doesn’t mean the windows are bad, but it does mean that you’ll want to be careful which stories you believe.

It is true that the Sunrise Restorations windows will use the higher end block and tackle hardware vs the cheaper constant force type used by other companies.

These windows can also be very energy efficient and we’ll have more on that below.

The look of these windows can be a selling point, but it’s pretty subjective. Some customers want a window with many style details and other customers want something that looks more plain and blends into the house. There isn’t really one best option when it comes to style.

Sunrise Restorations windows air infiltration rates.
I’ve always liked this picture from the Sunrise windows brochure. It’s illustrating air infiltration, get it, the air comes in? Get it?

What are the disadvantages?

I would say the biggest downside to the Sunrise Restorations windows will be the price. There’s typically only one company in each city selling these windows. They do this to avoid having two dealers competing with each other. The goal there is to allow the dealer to maximize their profit. That’s good for the dealer but not always good for you.

Are Sunrise Restorations windows energy efficient?

Yes. The Sunrise windows will offer a range of energy efficiency glass packages that will provide perfectly good efficiency ratings. In general all nicer windows will have similar efficiency ratings available. That means one won’t typically be substantially better than another, but these windows will offer good ratings.

The air infiltration ratings for the Sunrise Restorations double hung windows will fall into the same category. The ratings will be perfectly good and in line with options from several manufactures.

Is the Sunrise window warranty any good?

Overall Sunrise does offer a decent window warranty. The fact that they’re a relatively small manufacturer is real. You’ll want to understand that if they were to have a lot of problems and vanish you’d be out of luck. This could happen with any company, but with a small company the risk is greater.

We’ll have a whole post coming out reviewing the Sunrise window warranty soon. When it’s published we’ll link it below.

What’s the bottom line?

Overall the Sunrise Restorations windows are nice windows. They’re usually sold at higher than average prices. It’s my suggestion that you may be able to find a comparable option from another manufacturer at a substantial savings.

Other popular posts about Sunrise Windows:

How can you find a great window company?

That part is easy.  Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.

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Sunrise Vanguard Windows Reviews

The Sunrise Vanguard windows are typically offered by one dealer in any town. The downside is that there is no competition, there’s nobody else in town offering these windows. That’s not necessarily great for customers.

Of course the very limited distribution doesn’t necessarily mean these windows will be sold at higher than average prices, but it’s a distinct possibility and something to watch out for.

What are the advantages of Sunrise Vanguard windows?

There are some nice advantages to these windows. For example, they use a very strong frame that is designed to hold up for the long run.

They also use the upgraded block and tackle balances in these windows. That’s the type you see in most higher end windows. This would include other popular brands like Okna, Gentek and Preservation to name a few.

Beyond that you’ll see many of the same efficiency options in the Sunrise Vanguard windows that you’ll find in most of their models. They do offer a range of energy efficient options. These will generally have efficiency models similar to other nicer window brands.

What are the disadvantages?

There are also a few downsides to the Sunrise Vanguard windows. For example, they will use a thicker window frame than some other models. That means you’ll see less visible glass area in the same size window when compared to some competing models. This can be a big deal to some folks and it can be less important to others.

Other downsides have more to do with Sunrise as a company rather than the individual Vanguard model.

For example, the limited distribution model may mean that the only company offering Sunrise Vanguard windows in your area is not very pleasant to deal with.

It’s also true that they’re a relatively small manufacturing company that has gone through some management and ownership changes over the last few years. This could be a sign of a problem or it could just be a busy time.

Currently, Sunrise is owned by Mi windows which is a low end producer of vinyl windows. A skeptic might say that they don’t worry about quality so Sunrise will suffer. An optimist might say that they’re a large nationwide company and they bought Sunrise to gain exposure to the fancier end of the market.

What’s the bottom line?

Overall the Sunrise Vanguard window can be a decent choice. It’s a good quality window with high end hardware and good efficiency packages.

The downsides are that you can only buy these windows from one company in town and Sunrise isn’t a very large manufacturer.

If the local company offering these windows is good to work with and offers fair prices you’ll probably be happy with the results. I would NOT suggest dealing with a company that isn’t great just to get these windows. There are plenty of fish in the sea, there’s no reason to over pay or to work with a company that uses the silly sales tactics we talk about here.

Other popular posts about Sunrise Windows:

How can you find a great window company?

That part is easy.  Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.

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Sunrise Verde Windows Reviews

The Sunrise Verde windows are a decent option. If you’ve been shopping for Sunrise windows you might notice that they offer several models but usually not all through the same dealers.

There might be one dealer in town offering Sunrise Verde windows, another offering Sunrise Essential windows and maybe a third offering Sunrise Essential windows.

The downside there is that the company offering the Sunrise window model that is the best fit for your project might not be a great company to work with. If that’s the case you’re better off finding another window product rather than dealing with a company that isn’t great to work with.

You should definitely not work with a company that treats you poorly just to get a certain window model. There are plenty of fish in the sea.

If the dealer in your town is a great company this isn’t an issue, but it’s something to be aware of.

If you’ve read our other Sunrise windows reviews you’ve seen how happy people are to clean their Sunrise windows. Look how thrilled she is to be cleaning this Sunrise Patio door!

What are the advantages of Sunrise Verde windows?

Like the other Sunrise windows you get the upgraded hardware and components in the Sunrise Verde windows line. That’s the same upgraded type that you’ll see from other nicer brands like Okna, Preservation, Gentek, etc.

I’d say that’s a good sign that Sunrise set out to make higher quality windows than many other companies.

Another advantage of the Sunrise Verde windows is that they come with foam insulation in the frames. This can be a good thing or it can just be an excuse for the salesman to add to the price.

So, whether or not foam in the frames is actually an advantage depends on the cost premium that they’re charging you. If this option is only $5 more than the Sunrise Standard windows without foam that might be a good deal. If it’s $100 more it’s probably a bad deal.

What are the disadvantages?

The disadvantages to the Sunrise Verde windows are similar to the other Sunrise window models. If the local dealer is pushy or expensive or otherwise not great you won’t have any options.

Also, Sunrise was recently purchased by low end window producer Mi windows. I assume they bought Sunrise to get some exposure to the nicer end of the market. If that’s the case, it makes sense.

Sunrise did have some management turnover in recent years which can be a sign of trouble. It’s also possible Mi windows bought them because they were on sale. That would be less of a great sign.

Ultimately Mi has all of the resources to make a nice window without buying Sunrise. Why would they spend the money? We can only guess, but it’s something to be aware of.

Do you get more glass area with Sunrise windows?

It’s possible, but not guaranteed. In other posts we’ve pointed out how Sunrise brochures will often make comparisons that aren’t quite as clear as you might think. We talked about that in relation to the Sunrise warranty here and the Sunrise air infiltration here.

They do the same thing with glass are. Here’s an example from their brochure:

If you just saw this picture you’d think Sunrise windows will obviously provide more glass area than any other window, but that’s not exactly true.

It looks to me like this picture is showing you a Sunrise window vs Alside Ultramaxx. The Alside Ultramaxx windows are a super old design and they do use thick frames.

What Sunrise doesn’t mention here is that there are many other vinyl window options (including some from Alside) that will offer much slimmer frames.

So, it’s true that the Sunrise windows will allow for more glass area than this one other model, but it’s also true that there are many newer windows with slim frames. Sunrise isn’t particularly unique in offering this design.

Is the warranty on Sunrise Verde windows any good?

Yes. The warranty is the same for all Sunrise windows and it’s perfectly decent. If a salesman tells you that it’s super special or that it’s “unlimited” that’s not exactly true, but it is perfectly decent.

They offer a lifetime transferable warranty is the same as you’ll see from many vinyl window manufacturers. It’s certainly longer than the warranty you’ll see from wood or composite windows like Renewal by Andersen.

There are still limitations. For example, the exterior colors are covered against fading for 10 years and if your house burns down that would not be covered by the window warranty.

Overall I think it’s fair to say that the warranty on Sunrise windows is perfectly decent.

How efficient are Sunrise Verde windows?

We’ve talked about the efficiency of Sunrise windows in our other recent reviews. The bottom line is that the efficiency is perfectly good, but often presented in a way that makes them seem better than they might be.

We’ve written about the Sunrise windows air infiltration

in another recent review. Here’s an example using the Sunrise SHGC ratings.

As you can see in the picture above, Sunrise windows are available with a very low SHGC rating. That doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. For example, a low SHGC rating is actually less efficient in a cold climate where you want heat from the sun in the winter.

The low SHGC rating can also mean the windows have darker glass which can make it feel like you’re always wearing sunglasses. A package like this might make sense in a hot climate but it won’t be the best solution everywhere.

If you’re ordering Sunrise windows you’ll want to talk to the salesperson about the available packages. Remember, lower isn’t always better when it comes to efficiency ratings.

What’s the bottom line?

Overall it’s possible that the Sunrise Verde windows could a good choice. It’s also possible that they could be overpriced. This is due to the distribution model that Sunrise uses where they only sell to one or two companies in any town.

Don’t feel like you’re stuck working with a company that treats you poorly because you have to have Sunrise Verde windows (or any other model). There are lots of great windows out there and there’s no need to feel pressured.

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Sunrise Standard Windows Reviews

The Sunrise Standard windows, also often just called Sunrise windows, are a step up from the cheeper Sunrise Essentials that we reviewed yesterday. That’s a good thing.

They Sunrise standard windows use a nicer window extrusion. That’s the actual vinyl window frame. They’re not as energy efficient as the nicer Sunrise Verde, Vanguard or Restorations windows that we’ll be reviewing in the coming days.

Will these Sunrise windows offer a good balance of quality, efficiency and price? Let’s find out.

Sunrise standard windows reviews, prices, warranty and more.
Look how happy she is to be cleaning her windows. If you buy Sunrise windows you could be that happy to clean your own windows!

What are the advantages of the Sunrise Standard windows?

As with all Sunrise windows you get upgraded block and tackle balances with these windows which are a nice feature. As I mentioned before I think the hardware that companies use can be a good indication of the quality they’re trying to provide.

Since the standard Sunrise windows have the upgraded frame they will be a better solution than the cheaper essentials model. That said they’re still not going to be as nice as the other Sunrise options.

What are the disadvantages?

One disadvantage to this model is that it’s not as efficient as the Sunrise Verde model. That model will come with foam inside the frames and the standard model does not.

Now, readers of the site will know that I often discount the value of foam in the window frames. That hasn’t necessarily changed. The trick is to look at the difference in efficiency and the difference in cost.

For example, if the price of the Sunrise Verde vs the Sunrise Standard is $100 per window different and the difference in U-Factor is 0.01 I’d say that’s not worth it. I would not suggest paying $100 more for a 0.01 improvement in efficiency.

You may not be able to easily compare the options like that for a few reasons.

One is that Sunrise only sells through limited dealers in any town. And, they’ll offer different models through different dealers. That means there’s probably only one company in your town offering each Sunrise window model. If they happen to be great that’s not a problem, but if they’re not great you’ll have no other options.

Another downside is that Sunrise was recently purchased by Mi Windows. They are known to be a low cost window producer. That might make me a little nervous if I were a Sunrise window dealer who is used to selling quality.

Is the Sunrise Standard windows warranty any good?

Yes. We have a full Sunrise windows warranty review coming soon so keep an eye out for that. To offer a quick summary here, the Sunrise windows will come with a lifetime transferable warranty.

Those are terms you’ll hear from most vinyl window manufacturers. It seems almost everyone offers a lifetime transferable warranty. Sunrise does have fewer limitations to their warranty than some other companies so that’s a good thing.

But, check out this picture from a Sunrise sales brochure:

Note that they’re comparing the warranty on Sunrise vinyl windows vs Marvin, Renewal and Andersen windows that are not vinyl. It’s true that wood or composite windows like Renewal by Andersen will often have shorter warranties than vinyl.

It would be a better comparison to look at other nicer vinyl windows. If you were to do that you’d see that the warranties are often pretty similar.

So, I’d say that graphic seems to be a little misleading, but it is true that the Sunrise window warranty is perfectly good.

How efficient are Sunrise windows?

The efficiency options from Sunrise have always been on the better end of the spectrum. As with most vinyl window manufacturers the windows are all custom made and you can pick from several efficiency packages.

When comparing the options you’ll want to take all of the ratings into consideration. The U-Factor is one factor, but there’s also the SHGC, VT, CR and Air Infiltration.

It can seem like a lot to compare, but it’s easier than you might think. For example, if the cold is the mail factor you’ll want to look for a lower U-Factor and a higher SHGC. That’s because you want the heat from the sun to help warm your house in the winter.

If you’re concerned about getting nice light into the house you’ll want windows with a higher VT rating. The lower the VT rating the less light gets into the house.

We’ll often see customer weighing options and focusing on one rating or another without recognizing the whole picture. Would you be happy if you were in a cold climate with windows that don’t let any solar heat through while also blocking a lot of light? I’d say probably not. Packages like that are better for very hot climates, but we see them offered in Detroit or Cleveland or Boston and that makes basically no sense.

What about Sunrise windows air infiltration rates?

Similar to the way they presented the warranty info, the info on Sunrise windows air infiltration rates is also pushing the envelope a little.

Sunrise windows air infiltration.

Here’s another chart from a Sunrise brochure. Note they’re comparing their windows with Andersen 400 series wood windows and then a mystery competitors vinyl window.

I’d say that’s not the most clear info since there are many other vinyl windows with air infiltration rates very similar to Sunrise. Generally speaking we tend to suggest looking for a double hung window with an air infiltration rate under 0.05 and there are plenty of choices in that range. So the rating here is perfectly good, but not as remarkable as this graphic might lead you to believe.

What’s the bottom line?

Overall the basic Sunrise Standard windows could be a good choice. I would suggest you’ll want to compare a few other options and also evaluate the efficiency packages. If you’d like us to look over your quote and offer suggestions you can find our Quote Review service here. Note, it’s completely free.

Other popular posts about Sunrise Windows:

How can you find a great window company?

That part is easy.  Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.

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