Monday, July 9, 2012

Pella Windows Review - Poorly Engineered

I'll expand more on this later but I am very disappointed with these windows. I wanted a double pane replacement for the original gridded double hung windows and i wanted it in black. That didn't leave me with many options. I went with the Pella Architect Series wood windows. They're wood windows that are aluminum clad on the outside and bare wood on the inside. The aluminum cladding can be painted pretty much whatever you want so I ordered it in black and knew I'd be painting the inside black as well so I ordered that pre primed. These were not cheap which was okay because the sample units appeared to be solid and well built and this is a pretty integral part of a house so I wanted a good product. Long story short, they did not live up to my expectations. Here are the pros and cons.

  • No built in stops so if you raise the lower sash up all the way, the locking hardware will dent the upper frame of the window
  • The exterior grids bow and do not sit flush against the window panes.
  • The exterior grids protrude out further than the actual window frame of the lower (and upper) sash. Therefore they scrape the inside of the upper sash when raised. This only rubs a small portion on the inside but wears away the paint on the outside and makes the windows harder to open.
  • The locking tabs that hold the upper sashes in their track are too small, making them pretty much useless. This means with a hard pull you can pull the upper sash out of its track.
  • There's no way to pull the upper sash down without pulling down on the interior grids. These grids are not meant to be pulled on and will eventually separate from the window if pulled on too much.
  • One of my wider windows warped within a few months to the point where it wouldn't close all the way.
  • They seem to block out heat and cold better than the single pane windows they replaced. Any double pane windows would do this.
  • They are fairly sturdy, aside from the above mentioned upper sash locking tab issue.
  • They block out noise pretty well. I can't even hear when it starts raining anymore.
 I'll go into more detail later but that's the quick and dirty. I spent a long time with Pella trying to work these problems out and they eventually replaced all my lower sashes but the new ones had the same issues so it really just boils down to shoddy engineering on Pella's part. And for over $10,000 for 11 windows I expected a much higher quality product.

If I hadn't gotten the grids half my problems would have disappeared so if you're not in the market for that look then maybe they're worth a shot. I still think the crappy engineering and other issues I mentioned are enough reasons to shop other brands though. If I ever replace the windows in my house again I won't be buying Pella Windows.

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