Understanding the Different Andersen Window Product Lines

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Among the window industry behemoths, one name is familiar to just about all window shoppers: Andersen. Headquartered in Bayport, Minnesota, Anderson manufactures and markets windows and doors under a variety of brands, including Anderson, Renewable by Anderson, EMCO®, Weiland®, MQ™, and Heritage™. Grossing more than $1 billion per year, Andersen touches on everything related to windows and doors—from basic, builder-grade replacement and new-construction windows, to premium windows, skylights, custom windows, and doors. Industry magazine Window & Door regularly lists Andersen within the top five of its annual Top 100 largest window manufacturers, based on sales volume. Along with Marvin, Jen-Weld, Pella, and Alside Excalibur, Anderson is one of the mainstays in the window industry.

Anderson offers so many categories of windows that consumers may have difficulty determining the differences between them. This guide will help you understand Andersen new-construction and replacement windows.

Materials and Reputation

When shopping for Anderson windows, you will have an option of several different materials, as well as product line categories. Anderson offers windows using wood, a composite material called Fibrex (a mixture of wood fibers and thermoplastic polymers), vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. Unlike other window manufacturers who may offer windows with solid vinyl or fiberglass construction, Anderson windows generally use either solid wood cores with vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass cladding; or frames made solid composite/Fibrex.

Andersen windows consistently get high marks for quality. J.D. Power studies report that the replacement division, Renewal By Andersen, received a score of 833 (out of 1,000) and Andersen Corp. received an overall score of 814. This places both companies in the top ten, above Jeld-Wen, Marvin, Simonton, Champion, and above the study's average of 811.

Anecdotally, most review of Andersen windows posted on complaint-type sites such as Consumer Affairs center around installation, followed by casement windows, accessories, and screens. About 90 percent of Angie's List reviews of Renewal By Andersen places the company in the A or B ratings. As with all windows, installation is almost as important as the window itself. Even expertly installed low-quality windows tend to be a better deal than poorly installed premium windows. It is therefore hard to criticize Anderson on the basis of online reviews alone.

Anderson's Windows Product Lines by Material

  • Wood windows are found in the 200, 400, E-series, and A-series product lines.
  • Composite/Fibrex windows are found in the 100 series, A-series, and Renewable by Anderson product lines—either in solid frame construction or as cladding.
  • Vinyl is used only in the cladding of windows and is found in the 200-series and 400-series product lines.
  • Aluminum is used in the exterior cladding of the E-series product line.
  • Fiberglass is used as cladding in the wood-core A-series product line.

Anderson's Product Lines by Series

Understanding the various product lines of Anderson windows will help you make informed decisions when choosing products.

  • Renewal by Anderson: This system of window replacement is marketed as a unique brand separate from the standard Anderson brand. Rather than a distinct type of window, this is a window installation brand, which offers custom consultation, project management, and installation services. The windows offered in this product line are solid composite/Fibrex and are available in virtually every style offered by Anderson. They can be purchased and installed only by installers that are part of the Anderson network; if you want these windows, you will need to work with one of these installers.
  • A-series: This is one of Andersen's architectural lines, with custom sizes and finishes available. These are wood-core windows with vinyl, fiberglass, or composite cladding. These windows are tested for hurricane resistance and resistance to saltwater exposure. This is Andersen's most energy-efficient line.
  • E-series: This is another architectural series, this one using solid wood cores and aluminum cladding. Windows are available in 50 standard color and finish options. These windows are generally used for new construction; DIY instructions are not offered.
  • 100 series: These solid composite/Fibrex windows are suitable for both new construction and replacement installation. These are available in dark colors that work well in contemporary styles.
  • 200 series: Made from wood cores with vinyl exterior cladding, this product line has unfinished or prefinished natural wood interior finishes. It is one of Andersen's more economical choices. This product line is available only with double-hung, gliding, or picture window styles. It is a good option where you want to paint the interior wood.
  • 400 series: Similar to the 200 series (solid wood cores with vinyl exterior cladding and wood interior surfaces), this series features more options for exterior cladding colors and three different interior wood finish options. This series comes in nearly all window style, including casement, double-hung, awning, sliders, bays and bows, and picture windows. This Anderson's premier line of windows with solid wood construction and exterior cladding. Detailed DIY instructions are available.

For DIYers Who Are Replacing Windows

Andersen has a complicated relationship to the DIY market since the corporation is heavily invested in its Renewal by Andersen brand, which seeks to provide complete installation services as part of the business model. DIYers who are seeking to replace windows with Anderson models sometimes feel like the company really prefers the professional market. If not Renewable by Andersen, DIYers are repeatedly advised that professional installation is the best option. However, most of the Andersen lines are adaptable to both new construction and replacement applications, and detailed DIY instructions are available on the Andersen website for the A-series, 100-series, 200-series, and 400-series windows. Answering a series of questions leads you to detailed instructions on how to install the windows yourself.