With winter coming, now is the time to batten down the hatches and prepare. To some, that may mean puffy coats, extra gloves and a heavy-duty shovel. But have you considered what another rough winter can mean for your home windows and patio doors?
“This is the best time to consider a window installation,” says Matt Miller, the director of marketing for Renewal by Andersen in King of Prussia. Renewal by Andersen has been working with Andersen, a 110-year-old family-run organization, to produce stellar results in window and patio door replacement for years.
The true indicators of faulty windows in need of replacement may not be right in front of your face. But last winter may have done real damage to your home.
“A harsh winter can really accelerate the paint peel on a wood window or seal failure on vinyl windows,” Miller explains. “If you’re noticing that one or two of your windows are starting to fail, it’s only a matter of time until others of a similar age start to fail too.”
What are some warning signs of window damage? According to Miller, it all depends on the material.
“Old houses in the area have wood windows, and many are single pane with storm windows or second generation dual pane,” he says. “See if the windows are cold to the touch and get a lot of condensation on the inside. You can put your hands near the edges and feel a breeze. These wood windows can be hard to open, and when you do get them open they don’t say open, which can be dangerous for a child. Or the locks don’t secure to the wood anymore. Some might be painted shut, which can be a huge fire and safety risk if you need to get out of your home in an emergency.”
Homes from the 80’s and 90’s often use a vinyl product, which at the time was easier to maintain because it didn’t require paint and didn’t rot like wood.
“What people didn’t realize was that vinyl flexes, stretches, expands and breaks easily,” says Miller. This leads to seal failure between the two panes of glass. A symptom of that failure is fog between the two panes, and ultimately energy inefficiency. “You’ve got these windows that aren’t really all that old, but they last such a short period of time,” Miller says. “What’s more, the shiny white plastic look of vinyl can ruin the character of a home.”
The other popular window option is the aluminum or metal variety, which lasts longer but, according to Miller, is a drain on energy and ultimately costly to the homeowner.
“They’re a conductor of hot and cold. All you have to do is touch them to feel the transfer of the weather. From an energy loss perspective you’re going to start to feel the energy loss at night in early fall. And we always tell people not to forget the patio doors. Those are the biggest openings in the house and some of them can be a real bear to operate. They may not slide or open easily, and that’s what people tend to appreciate.”
Your window diagnosis
So what is the answer to your window problems? For Miller and the team at Renewal by Andersen, this is where it gets personal.
“Our window isn’t pre-built and existing on a shelf in a warehouse somewhere,” says Miller. That’s because every window or patio door that comes out of Renewal by Andersen’s factory is custom made to match the personality of the client’s home. “We build and install our windows down to a 16th of an inch for your house. We get a tighter fit and we want our windows to look like furniture and to fit the style of your home.”
Renewal by Andersen uses high performance Fibrex material in their windows, a proprietary material that blends 40 percent wood fiber with a thermo-polymer to create a strong barrier that keeps your home sealed from the elements. They can custom-colorize Fibrex with a color cap, giving customers more than enough variety that never needs to be painted.
“Most people want the look, feel and strength of wood with the maintenance-free aspect of vinyl. You can have a dark color that’s two times stronger than vinyl and never needs to be painted and won’t melt like darker vinyl colors can,” says Miller.
Before beginning any project, Renewal by Andersen starts with a free window diagnosis to determine just what you want. “We come out and look at what’s going on to determine the issues,” Miller says. “We measure the windows and determine the sizes that you want and figure out how you want to build your window. Then we’ll calculate the price for you. And that price will be calculated down to the penny and locked in for one full year. We even talk about the scenarios for energy savings to determine what you might save in your heating and cooling bills.”
The Renewal by Andersen difference
Window replacement is a big deal, and the staff at Renewal by Andersen understands that. That’s why they dedicate their services to you from the first meeting, through installation and beyond.
“We are the only people that install our windows and that is because we know historically one of the biggest failure points of replacement windows and patio doors is improper installation,” explains Miller. “Our master carpenters work just for us and are factory trained with our materials. They specialize in doing one thing well—installing our windows and doors 52 weeks a year. You won’t find them building decks or installing roofs between window jobs. This specialization allows us to warrant the labor and the installation as well as the product itself.”
But the real success stories come long after installation, with happy customers. Just check out the Renewal by Andersen website, which features dozens of satisfied reviews. And should anything happen Andersen provides a sticker on each window installed featuring the factory phone number and individual serial number for customer support.
“Part of what you’re getting with Renewal by Andersen is that customer service that has made it such a reliable company for the last 110 years. This is a whole package: We’re going to take care of you from the beginning to the end, and that’s what people like the most.”