Andersen 400 Series Window Review

andersen 400 series windows

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.

Andersen 400 series review
This is the mechanism that releases the sash on these Andersen 400 series windows

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.

Update: We now have more recommend LOCAL window companies than ever before.   Click here to see who we recommend in your town.  It's 100% free.  You'll thank me.  There is no better resource; you're going to love it.  See for yourself right here.  

40 thoughts on “Andersen 400 Series Window Review”

  1. I just started looking for new windows. I was surprised to read these windows were drafty. In the most current issue of Consumer Reports these were rated top choice for wood out of 9 wood windows they reviewed. They rated them excellent for wind resistance at 0 degrees.
    As your air infiltration link mentions wood windows can’t get as low of a number as vinyl and it also is shows in consumer reports rating that most wood doesn’t do as well on the wind resistance as vinyl.
    Thanks for all of the useful info.

    1. Consumer Reports doesn’t have a great reputation for picking solid window products. I remember back when they picked the CertainTeed Brynn Mar II window as the best vinyl window. People in the business couldn’t understand it. That window was really not very nice and it was discontinued a short time later.

      Consumer Reports does a lot of things really well and we know they have legions of devoted supporters, but their typical methodology leaves a little to be desired when it comes to this industry. They are right that vinyl windows are more efficient, have better warranties and last longer. Wood/composite/fiberglass windows cost more, are not as efficient and don’t last as long. Why do people buy them? Because they’re pretty.

      That’s a fine reason to pay more for something. Keep in mind that you’re not paying more because it’s better, just because it’s prettier.

    2. This view totally confuses me because three months ago we replaced our “builder grade” windows with the Andersen 400 Series and our heating bill dropped by more than half from the previous year. There is no draft, no leaking, not a whisper of air coming through these windows. Maybe Andersen has made some improvements, maybe we can give a lot of credit to the installer of our windows, maybe it’s a combination of both, but one thing for sure, we really, really like these new windows.

  2. I’m less than a week away from making a selection between two of three bids for full-frame replacement casement windows. One bid includes Weather Shield Aspire casements with Low-E/Argon w/o grills. The other is for Anderson 400 Series Low-E4 w/o grills. I was leaning toward the Andersons, but checking back on this site and seeing this article has got me confused. Thewindowdog notes that the air infiltration rating is <0.30, but the linked NFRC shows <0.12 (<0.01 for the casement model if I'm reading correctly).

    The bid for the Andersons is higher which I expected given the brand. Installer quality aside, is the Anderson product still worth the higher premium? I'm not interested in sitting in a drafty room in the winter after having plunked down a large amount of dough.

    1. You’re right that the air infiltration ratings will vary quite a bit depending on the style of window chosen. Casement windows just about always have the best ratings as they have a very tight seal when locked. Andersen windows are no different. The casements should give you a nice tight seal.

      Weather Shield makes a nice window too. With Andersen you are paying something for the brand name that everyone knows. Does a familiar name make the products any better? Nope. Only you can decide if it’s worth paying a premium to get the name.

      1. I work for a manufacturer/ installer of windows and doors in the NYC area. 10 years ago I started on the manufacturing side and at one point moved to testing of window and door products. All window and door products are tested for air and water infiltration. Any product that slides up and down or from left to right would have to pass with an air infiltration rating of .30 cubic feet of air per square foot of window per minute. Most manufacturers now a fays can be well below that number. Compression windows like casements tilt and turns doors and fixed windows have to be .10 or better. Its important to note that these numbers are per square foot per minute. A large window thats 60 x 84 will be 35 square feet which means that the window is leaking almost 12 cubic feet of air per minute and is passable. And thats in a lab setting installed windows are technically allowed to leak 50% more because field conditions are often less ideal. Most people are surprised that there windows arent air tight. But it would be impossible to make a window air tight while still able to operate with ease for grandma to air out the kitchen. If you look around a new house you will notice that usually heating vents are located in front of windows so that the air infiltration pushes the warm air into the space. Now the garbage bag full of air leakage is mearely an example from a double hung window of exceptional size which is performing at the bare minimum of the standard. I have seen and tested double hund windows that have acheaved .12. But take into consideration when reviewing the Andersen window how it was installed are the jambs bowed? Is it caulked properly? Was a flashing membrane like permibarrier installed around the nailing flange? Did they sprayfoam in between the frame and the wood stud or if its an insert did they insulate in the weight and chain cavity? 9/10 times poor window performance is an installation based issue. The factory for the most part has a pretty established system of fabricating and sealing frame members which will make a pretty cohesive product. I hope this helps people out.

    2. Well, we’re going with the Anderson 400 Series casements to be installed by an Anderson “Circle of Excellence” dealer. All the windows are custom sizes. This was the middle price of three bids. Fingers crossed…

  3. We’ve had Anderson 400s for about 1.5 years and during the very cold winter of 2013. We had no problems with draft. However, these weren’t replacement windows but installed in an addition during construction. Might that make a difference.

    1. You’re right, the installation can certainly make a difference. We don’t have much info on who installed the windows we’ve been inspecting. It appears that it was a DIY installation which could certainly impact the performance.

  4. Can installed Anderson 400 Series Casement windows be reconfigured to open the opposite direction (e.g., crank out left instead of right) without removing the installed window?

  5. What is the maximum acceptable gap between the top of the window frame and the bottom of the top board of the rough opening? I know foam can fill any gap, but wondered how big the gap can/should be.

    Also, when is not nailing the flange acceptable (i.e., just taping the flange with flashing tape)?

    Finally, is it acceptable to not use a silicone bead on the underside of the flange before inserting the window?

    I’ll stop there. 🙂

  6. I installed these windows myself at my home. I have no regrets with these windows. They are not drafty at all. As some people mentioned the performance of the window is only as good as the installer. I did the windows myself but i did alot of research to make sure i was installing them correctly. Make sure who ever installs them knows what they are doing. I can’t tell you how many houses I have seen where Constructions companies are installing new windows and they are flashing the windows completely wrong. Improper flashed windows will lead to water leaks which will affect performance and obviously lead to some other serious problems. The windows that I got where new construction and not replacement windows. I do recommend getting the windows painted by anderson. It takes longer but it is worth the wait. It is quite a chore painting them yourself.

  7. I had 20 double hung Anderson 400 windows installed in my newly constructed home in 2009. I noticed a major draft the first day I moved in. Anderson has been out 5 times. They finally caulked the top corners of the inside of the windows, which only helped a little. This windows are very drafty. Anderson said they can’t do anything. What a waste of money.

    1. We are located in Southeastern Pennsylvania where we experience 4 distinct seasons. For over 40 years, We have installed thousands of Andersen windows. We have NEVER had a complaint about drafts in any of the Andersen windows we have installed. I believe some of this can be correlated to installation error or am I wrong? The casement & awning windows have tighter seals than the double hung windows. One can get casement or awning windows that have a similar look to double hung windows but they open differently.

      1. You’re right on several fronts. I have Andersen wood casement windows in my house and they seal well. I’ve seen and experienced very drafty Andersen wood double hung windows, but we didn’t install them so I can’t vouch for the quality of the installation. You’re also right that in general casement and awning windows have tighter seals than double hung windows and they open differently. It sounds like you’re getting the hang of this!

  8. We are builders in North Dakota. The homes we build are modular homes from Heckaman Homes in Nappanee, IN. They use the 400 series windows on the Custom Series homes. These windows are drafty, leaky, and promote a lot of condensation. Today I found a class action law suit filed in Massacuttsets last January complaining about the same issues. I do not recommend these windows.

    1. Jeez Louise! Can a homeowner get a break? First it was our Omniboard siding with a class-action, then the Certainteed fiber cement siding, now the Anderson 400 windows too?! Hopefully, our roofing shingles we replaced are not going to have their own lawsuit as well (although I know they are lighter than previous generations of the same brand).

      We had 16/23 (holes/windows) replaced with full (nail flange) replacement casement 400s in the fall. The house definitely has been less drafty and the heat has turned on a little less this winter (even considering the extreme cold). I have not experienced any drafts on cold/windy days. The Circle of Excellence installers seemed to do a good job with the low-rise foam insulation. Despite all custom-sized windows, I was a little concerned that some had too much of a gap at the top which eventually was sealed by the foam. Another concern was that the installer did not nail any of the nail flanges. As far as I could tell, he just screwed in the frames from the inside of the frame and used flashing tape on the outside (low-rise foam on the inside).

      None of the windows have seen heavy rain yet, so I can’t speak to the water tightness. However, it does concern me that the vinyl covering of the wood frame ends with the staples just inside the sill. There is actually exposed, untreated wood that is visible when the window is cranked open.

      The only other big thing I’m noticing is that a few of the windows allow sound through as if my old windows were unlatched–despite the new windows being latched shut. This is particularly noticeable when cars drive by. It seems like the sound is coming from the hinged side were there is a little gap between the sash and frame (despite being sealed on the latch side). I’ve since read of the relatively low STC ratings for the 400s, but since only a few windows seem to have the more noticeably sound problem, I’m wondering if it’s a quality-control issue with the window not sealing flush? Again, no drafts from these windows, but a lot of sound coming through them.

      Well, it was down to Anderson 400s or Weathershield Aspire when I made my choice with available installers and price. I thought the more expensive 400s would buy me some piece of mind. I hope I not going to regret it.

    2. I just Googled for the 400 lawsuit. It looks like this is regarding the tilt-wash windows. Hopefully, the problems don’t include the other 400 series variants.

  9. Need to replace sliding glass doors French style in Minnesota, looking at Marvin, Andersen A series and Kolbe, which ones would you recommend?

  10. I noticed this picture is of a Woodwright 400 Series by Andersen. The tightest double hung on the market is the Tilt-Wash 400 Series. Woodwright is a different line of 400 series. Just so we are comparing apple to apples.
    Been selling windows for some time now and the Tilt Wash has been the bread and butter of Andersen for years. If installed correctly and you regulate relative humidity inside the home. You will not have any problems.

    1. Thanks for posting, you’re absolutely right, this is a Woodright 400 Series. We’re going to be updating all of our info on Andersen windows to make everything a little more clear shortly.

  11. The 400 double hung with LOe4 glass and heatlock have some great stats except the air infiltration. The most common double hung has a .8 rating when many other windows are .3 or better. Given that rating it seems like their double hung windows would be drafty?

    1. Wow, 0.8 air infiltration rating is pretty high. Where are you seeing that listed? We should make sure it’s real before worrying too much about it. I would expect the rating is better than that, but I’ve been surprised before. Post a link if you have it. Thanks for writing!

  12. Actually the Woodright 400 series double hung come in 2 falvors as PG/DP rating is concerned. In their standard form DH’s are rated DP30 and air infiltration is about 0.16cfm’s. You can upgrade the DH window to DP50, in which case air infiltration is 0.08cfm’s which is a decent number. I got these numbers from Andersen’s web site, the For The Pro’s section/test reports
    http://www.andersenwindows.com/for-professionals/product-performance-test-reports

    1. Not correct – not two “flavors”. They just tested two different sizes.

      The infiltration ratings of double hungs go down significantly the larger they get. Some of the worst infiltration occurs at the check rail, and that grows with a wider window.

      Even the large tilt-wash standard 400 series double hungs did worse (DP40) than the smaller Woodright (DP50).

  13. Great site WD! We are trying to replace all of our windows in a small ranch that is 40 years old. Original windows in our home were great…but now the counter balances are sprung in a few. Our contractor is GREAT! He recommended SilverLine at a great price, but I’ve not read many “good” things about this line from Anderson, both on your site and other sites.
    We will be moving in a few years and we don’t want to install High priced windows, but I don’t want to plunk down good money for windows that leak and are drafty and I also want install windows with a transferable warranty. Any suggestions?

    1. You’d be hard pressed to find too many great comments about SilverLine. If you’ve picked your installer then it doesn’t matter what windows I like, it matters what windows he can order. Many of the nicer models aren’t available to just any old installer. Ask him which models he can get and I’ll be glad to chime in on my preference.

  14. We are looking at replacing some windows. We currently have Andersen wood windows and are probably considered builders grade. They have lasted 22 years and now we are looking to replace. Some of the windows have wood rot. What would WD recommend. Thanks

  15. Andersen 400 Series windows are not alum clad, they are a vinyl clad product.You can look at their website to confirm.

  16. We are getting ready to build a new home and have quotes on Anderson 400 series. We want white in and out no maintenance Windows. After reading the posts considering Anderson 100 series or all vinyl Atrium. Any suggestions.

  17. In case(ment–ha,ha) anyone still checks this page, I wanted to let folks know that we have been generally pleased with our Anderson 400 casement windows. There are only 2 of the 20 that have been slightly problematic in that sound appears to travel through them more than the previous windows as well as more than any of the other ones we replaced. Despite a good seal when locked, the sound appears to be coming from the seal rather than from the outer border that meets up with the house framing. Otherwise, the home seems noticeably better insulated in winter and summer. While I think the windows are part of that, I think it is also a factor of better installation of the new windows vs. the original construction windows. Fiberglass insulation tucked around the old windows looked worn and dirty (sign of air flow) when removed. Low-rise foam was used with the new installation which appeared to eliminate drafts. Installation quality does matter.

    With the new windows, I’m rubbing a silicone spray around the gasket seals once or twice a year. Vinyl exterior seems to be holding up, but I bet that will be the first thing to go. I was surprised to be able to see exposed/unpainted wood from the outside when the windows are open, but I guess no problem as long as you keep them shut during inclement weather.

    If you haven’t already, move to LED light bulbs for an added energy savings–just be sure you get 2700K bulbs, so your living space doesn’t have the 6500K glow of a workshop.

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