While working full time at Fine Homebuilding and doing my best to be an attentive father and husband, I remodeled the home we were living in on nights, weekends, and “vacations,” and on a shoestring budget. In hindsight, I had bitten off more than I could chew. And though I improved the house in a number of ways, with a little more time and money, I could have done better—maybe that’s always the case.
One decision that I don’t regret is my choice in windows. I replaced all but one of the windows on the house with units I bought off the shelf at Home Depot (one large window I had to order). They were all from Andersen’s 400 series—white vinyl-clad exterior with unfinished pine inside. At the time, this was the premium window in stock at my local Home Depot.
I didn’t put a lot of thought into this purchase. After hearing many builders’ positive opinions on Andersen windows as a great value and visiting Andersen’s headquarters for meetings a few times in my role at FHB, I felt good about the company and the product. And while I could say the same thing about Marvin windows, the Andersen units were available when I needed them, ten minutes from home.
This is not how I would advise anyone else looking to buy what can be one of the most expensive product purchases on a project—do a little research, please. I had to do some of that research when I was tasked with the intro presentation for a recent BS* + Beer Show. Here is some of what I learned.
The quickest way to compare the performance of American windows may be checking out the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) label, or at least…