glazedover_gw

Confusion Andersen VS Marvin

glazedover
September 26, 2006

This may be long, so forgive me in advance. Writing from Denver, CO. We are looking to eventually replace 21 windows in our home. Our first concern-the 8 west facing windows which get blasted in the summer; no a/c, and possibly 3 east facing in the master BR. House was built in '84, '85 or '86. We plan to stay for 12-15 years. We orignally wanted to re-side with Hardie, but nearly had to be revived when we heard the cost. We thought windows might be a less expensive alternative, to improve house and save energy.

3 companies bid, and we have already eliminated the one using PVC (local company, good reputation); their cost was close to the others and I believe the others are superior in quality.

The dilemma: Renewal by Andersen VS Marvin. We don't feel great about either personality.

The Marvin rep is a family owned store in business for 35 years, the kind of company we normally like to support. The quote was for all wood, with aluminum clad exteriors. We received the numbers only, handwritten on a catalogue, no formal bid. Two days later, I aked additional information. I got the distinct impression that I was a pain in his neck. I asked if installation and staining the wood were included in the prices given, and also for alternative quotes for the all fiberglass product and the fiberglass with Everwood interiors. His response was that the installation was included in the figures and possibly the staining (he couldn't remember). The cost differences for the other products would be about 15% and 6-8% lower respectively. He then told me that I needed to decide what I want and then he'd give me actual figures. He also asked when we were wanting to start the project since there is a home show in Denver this weekend. He said if we commit before the show we could have our windows in 5-7 weeks, after this weekend we might have to wait 11-15 weeks. Am I nuts in thinking that one receives a formal bid and then makes a decision, not the other way around?

Renewal by Andersen seems to be a comparable product, thought slightly more expensive. They are willing to hold the price for two years, if we start the project now, and do it in stages. My only beef, however is their pricing. First I was given the "national quoted price" and then our price, then an additional 3% off if we put a sign in our yard. But the price is only "good til the end of the month." Then what happens? Does the price of windows magically change?

So, I guess what I'm asking is even though Marvin seems like a great product, are we asking for trouble since I am not feeling like a real customer? Also, why isn't the price of the Andersen product, just the price, not subject to change like airline tickets?

Thanks alot for letting me vent and also for any feedback.

Comments (23)

  • philmont_2006

    glaze: I would find another dealer in Denver, I like in a much smaller market and there are 3 choices for me. I am an architect and a weekend remodeler. From what I know there is no comparison in the quality between anderson and Marvin... Marvin is much better. I'm suprised the prices are that close I would have expected anderson to be 20% less or so. I put a large addition on my house a couple of years ago and for me it was between Pella and Marvin, I went with Marvin and they are far better windows then I have in the rest of my house (anderson). Now the anderson are older but..... I would buy the Marvin again.... I live in WI so we have the weather extremes as well..... good luck...
    Thanks Dave

  • calbay03

    Hi we are in CA but had similar experience dealing with Marvin shops. It took four turns to find one that was respectful and helpful.

    They used the exact same "tricks" you mentioned. The locally owned shop 2 miles from home treated us like we could not afford anything, so we left. Another one in a nearby town 10 miles away kept steering us to vinyl so we left. We went 40 miles away into San Jose and that one gave us an outrageously expensive quote as though to scare us away so we left. We finally landed on a family owned shop in San Jose that treated us like customers. Answered all our questions, patiently showed us the cheapest to the most expensive Marvin options and they did not bad mouth other brands. They quoted everything individually so we went with them.

    Your Andersen shop sounded like a "normal" shop that uses "tactics" to get your business. Sign up now else price will go up 50% or something like that. If you decide to go with that shop, I would recomment getting everything down in writing. You may also want to find another Andersen shop or Marvin shop in your area to see if they are more customer-oriented.

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  • glazedover

    Thanks Dave and Cal. I have made another appointment with another Marvin rep for 10/7. We shall see. BTW, Dave. after looking at the numbers, you are correct, Andersen seems to be about 18-20% higher than Marvin, however, I'm not quite sure what the Marvin includes. Also, Andersen will NOT stain their wood interiors, so it's not only an additional cost, but a time issue too!

    Somehow I feel like we're working with former used car salespeople.

  • DeSanctisfamily_gmail_com

    Marvin pine can be stained, but it also comes in some reall nice alternative species like cherry and verticle grain douglas fir. just be sure that if you want to stain your wood windows on the exterior, to ask your dealer to order the window clear not finger jointed. The interior will be clear, but the exterior sills, subsills and blind stops will be FJ'd unless otherwise ordered.
    Marvin doesnt use vinyl on it's INTEGRITY line but a Pultruded fiberglass that is 8X stronger than vinyl called ULTREX. You can tell the difference because they dont use to sash locks to lock the window. A vynil will bow over time if not locked doubly. Ultrex can be painted with a little prep work. I hope this helps

  • mike35

    Glaze,
    Have you contacted a local supplier of Andersen windows? The Andersen Renewal product line is a franchise product, not supported by your local lumber yards. The lumber yards have a comparable product called the Woodwright Insert replacement window. Better looking than renewal, costs less, and available to your local contractors. It's worth checking out, and I think you'll find they'll compare very well to the Marvin replacement window in appearance and quality.
    Since you are looking at the install programs for each, you are kind of dealing with used car salesmen. Don't let gimmicks be a selling point. These people should be working hard to earn your business. If they aren't, find someone who will.
    Most factories have an annual price increase, usually around the end of the year or start of the new year. Unless there is a major event that increases production costs, the price will be good until the next factory increase.
    Maybe you could use that upcoming homeshow to compare a few products? Check out as many as you can. Then decide which makes the most sense for you.

  • mel71

    Calbay03,

    I also live in the san jose area and I am looking for Marvin windows. Can you please tell me the name of the family owned shop that you ended up buying from.

    Thanks, Mel

  • calbay03

    Hi Mel71,

    I hope I am not violating Forum Rules by saying this. The shop is "The Screen Shop" in San Jose. They have a website of the same name. The contractor that did the installation lives in Livermore and is a relative of the owner. You can find all info on-line right quick so I will quit now before the moderator steps in.

    Good luck!

  • canyoncritter

    HiCalBay03,
    Did you get your windows quoted for Anderson windows as well? We just received our bid and Marvin came out on average 40% higher. I know that people are complaining about Marvin's sales channel in California since they only have one distributor throughout the whole state so the distributor charges quite a bit more. Marvin sells direct in some other areas which is why Marvin and Anderson are more similar in price.

  • calbay03

    Hi CanyonCritter,

    Yes, we did but I cannot find that old spreadsheet with the numbers. Andersen did come out cheaper even when we included some custom requests. I believe the final figure came out to be ~20% cheaper than Marvin including installation. Andersen was unable to do a couple of things we wanted while Marvin could do everything.

    It would have been interesting to buy Marvin elsewhere and ship them into CA :-). Ahh! too late now.

    We almost went with Andersen but In the end, it was customer service that steered us over to another shop and that shop happens to carry Marvin. I think logic and reason would have us buy Andersen or something else more practical and cheaper. Unfortunately, my wife and I both grew up in old wooden farm houses so we like our wood a special way that is hard to explain. Marvin's wood interior just happens to fit that special way and so the subjective mind won the contest this time around. No regrets so far.

  • mel71

    CanyonCritter,

    If I am going to order Marvin's outside of California, what other states should I avoid ording in? Do you know if Oregon or Washington have better prices (ie: more distributors) than California?

  • glazedover

    Mike 35,
    Thanks for the info re: the lumber yards having a similar product to the Renewal by Andersen. I knew the stores were franchised here and their in-store people are pretty unimpressive. The young fellow who came to our house to give us the bid has decided to relocate back to Ohio and I have not heard a peep out of his replacement. We do not have a contractor as we purchased a used home; and contractors here (like many locations, I am guessing) make appointments and never show up. We've had this happen to us on more occasions than one could believe!

    The 2nd Marvin rep who was supposed to come to bid on the job on 9/7 had to reschedule for this coming Saturday; we shall see.

    I guess my husband and I just don't feel like we want to be bullied into spending $1000 plus per window and feel like we've been violated.

    We'll keep you all posted. We appreciate all the input.

  • norcalbl

    Marvin has one California wholesale distributor, each dealer gets a discount and they can mark them up as they wish, there is a Marvin list price, and I doubt the dealers are going to exceed that price. Why would they be more expensive in Calif? Dealers keeping their margins up?
    The wholesale distributor offers a 1 year labor warranty as a courtesy to their dealers (Marvin does not have a labor warranty). Purcasing outside the state may exclude you from having that warranty. Good luck with your choice. You will have the windows for a long time.

  • mightyanvil

    Is the Marvin window their aluminum clad "replacement" model with PVC compression jambs?

  • cbreeze

    I am planning to do a major remodel and will be replacing all 30+ windows and as many as 5 french doors. Since this will be the most expensive part of my budget, I will be shopping very carefully including outside my state, California. I have called dealers in Oregon, Utah and Texas and I think prices there can be cheaper plus sometimes the factory ships directly to your job site, so there won't be extra shipping charges. Even if the dealers have to ship to you, the charges should cover the cost difference.

  • threeman

    Glazedover,

    Hello Neighbor! We are also struggling with the intense UV here in Colorado and needing to replace 35 windows pretty soon. We have had Andersen, Marvin, Pella, and Simonton reps come to give us estimates. I'd be interested in talking more about it with you since you are probably dealing with the same people we are...

    So far here is where we stand, all quotes include 35 windows, installation, and clean-up removal of old windows.

    Renewal By Andersen $39k
    Pella $34k
    Simonton $25k
    Marvin ??? (has not responded yet - we also have a bad rep)

    We are really struggling with what is the best choice of material for this climate and the altitude. My concern is the UV crushing vinyl's lifespan here - back east I have good vinyl windows that are over 20 years old. In that respect I like the idea of a composite material - just wish I could see a 20 year old install of it.

    I think we have pretty much eliminated Pella - there are just too many people taking the time to go on the web and tell their sad stories of botched installations and poor customer service from Pella. I've got better things to do with my time than argue with window manufacturers...

    How have your quotes compared??

    -threeman

  • glazedover

    Sorry it's been so long since I've posted our window woes. Here is where we stand with our bids. For our 8 west windows: Andersen $12960! First Marvin rep $10003! Second Marvin rep $8069.46! If we add just our three Master Bedroom windows: $16987; $12403; $10351.69. The whole 21 window project $31467; $22103; $23632.15. The second Marvin rep said we had to temper the glass in our Dining room because it is less than 18 inches from the floor. That added a whopping $1375 to the project. Neither Andersen nor the first Marvin rep said we had to. The quote we received from the second Marvin rep was pretty complete including labor and taxes! We had asked for two quotes, the one we received and also for the all wood interior/aluminum clad exterior windows too. He didn't quite get that part. It's still a big enough chunk of change that I think we'll do just the west side and our bedroom and revisit the rest of the house at a later date.

    Threeman, where are you in the metro area? We're around University and County Line, but not in Highlands Ranch.

    Thanks to all who have contributed to our foray into this nightmare.

  • mightyanvil

    I have not offered my opinion on these windows because I could not figure out what model or type windows were being discussed and no one responded to my question.

    But I noticed that tempered glass was said to be required because the glass was withn 18" of the floor. This is an over simplification of the 2003 IRC requirement which should be the code in Denver if I am not mistaken.

    In the IRC, for tempered glass to be required, the glass top edge must also be over 36" from the floor and the individual glass pane must be greater than 9 s.f. (1,296 sq. in.) in area.

    Few standard double-hung window sizes exceed the above limits, and even fewer replacement windows do. Out of the 117 Ultimate Double-Hung standard window sizes Marvin makes, only two would be large enough to need to have tempered glass in the lower sash if the lower edge was within 18" of the floor.

    Of course, tempered glass is a reasonable precaution in the lower part of any window.

  • goldenita

    Threeman and glazedover,

    I'm in the Denver Area too. Renewal by Andersen quoted $4000 for two windows 58x35 and 70x48. No tempered glass. I think is really expensive. What is your feedback from Renewal by Andersen?

  • news9

    I am confused I had 4 different sales people Marvin,Pella accent and Renewal. I had done all the research I could possibly take, and ended up purchasing the Renewal product Kerry the Denver salesman was well informed and honest, My wife and I never felt pressured we had enough of the hard sell tatics and product bashing from the other 3 companies and after signing with Renewal, we showed the rep our 2 other quotes Marvin never got back with a written quote, the vinyl by Accent was less but I like quality and wanted only to have to go through this once. I understand the used car salesman remark and the tatics I actually asked one company to leave as soon as they started doing that.
    Jack

  • julieofminn

    Would like to hear follow-up from those chosing either Andersen Renewal, Andersen 400 or Marvin Integrity on their projects, esp'ly interested in how your windows have handled wind and cold, plus your impressions of their overall appearance.
    We need to replace Vetter windows damaged in a 50mph+ hail storm in Aug.'07. We will switch brands--they've resized.
    We need to replace windows on 3 sides of our '97 built modern home which has several very large picture windows, casements w/ transoms, and finished oak woodwork.
    The only prob. windows now are 2 windows placed over the whirlpool tub on north wall & west walls.
    Renewals' interiors have a dif. appearance but the pitch about being built to last over 50 years sounds good. Andersen 400s are going into the model homes of our builder w/ exc. customer response in past 10 yrs. A contractor is evaluating Andersen 400s for sizing and is "close" on most; he is pricing the architectural series for windows set in the stucco front. The Andersen exteriors are darker than our existing but we are thinking the vinyl "permashield" inside wrap would elim. any future mold on the rim touching the glass. Renewals only have a thin veneer and the rep. could not tell us if that could ever mold. Marvin windows look closer to what we have, inside & outside and did fantastic in wind studies done by Cons. Rpts. last month but with the wood interior, will I be sanding and restaining due to moisture along the bottom rim where we have exper'd some mold on existing windows?
    We constantly run an air-exchange system and seldom have windows open. We hope to have a product that can handle the extreme weather, handle future hail since it's now occurring regularly, along with straight line winds & blizzards.
    Thanks for any feedback!

  • powercatim

    A lot of people on this board talk about the high price of these products and they are expensive. I just bought a new HVAC for $9000. Expensive, and I know that is probably double what they have in it but I went with a quality company . Same with windows but there are a lot of them in a house! There are definite differences in window manufacturers, quality, service, etc. Andersen has been around 100+ years and has set the standard in the industry for years in product innovations and impeccable service. Andersen, Renewal and Pella (not sure about Marvin) all get their glass from the same manufacturer, Cardinal. Where the difference lies is that Renewal has there glass made to certain specifications. The spacer between the glass is stainless steel, not aluminum. The glass is 100% gas filled as it is put together in a room filled with the glass. Pella still uses breather tubes and can't guarantee 100%. Can you feel the difference? I can't be sure but what I can say is that certain manufacturers care about there customers and will go the extra mile for a top quality product. Andersen core products (home depot) are good and have nailing fins. You must decide based on the look of the house how to trim the exterior. Renewal by Andersen, if you buy the full-frame, has the brickmould built to the window. Pella has the nailing fin as well. Marvin is a good product with extruded aluminum and has received good scores but I'm again not sure with them. I think all these windows are good but the biggest issue is what happens after the sale. Windows from any manufacturer can have problems and which company will be there to take care of you and give you piece of mind.

  • julieofminn

    As I read the comments I have decided good customer service is one of the more important considerations in a major purchase, plus working with an installer who understands framing and getting a good install. Since our siding will be done at the same time, this should be achieveable.

    I will probably have a winter install and was concerned until I read in this forum that a good or poor seal will be quite obvious when the weather is cold. Also, the off-site finishing work is appealing so we won't have the fumes.
    Our quotes so far show Renewals as most expensive, by 15%, even with an overall bulk discount; then Marvin, then Andersen 400s [which includes 3 larger windows from the architectural line due to the need for exact sizing].

    We are waiting on final details with a contractor about measurements on whether existing Silhouette blinds will still fit if we use the Andersen 400s, our first choice at the moment b/c of their customer service, product & price.
    Julie of Minn.

  • tjjd_sbcglobal_net

    Does anyone know the difference between Andersen series 1 and series 2? The rep told me that I would get less warranty...20 vs. 10, but the glass and frame were the same. Grilles only available between the glass and only single hung for series 2. The difference in price is 40%. This seems like a big discount, given differences I can live with. Does anyone have an opinion?

    Thanks

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