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problem with Andersen vinyl clad windows

16 years ago

Our home in Iowa was built 12 years ago and has Andersen vinyl clad windows. I assumed the entire exterior was vinyl clad requiring no maintenance. This past fall we notice dark spots appearing on the inside of the windows about 2-3 inches up from the bottom and some black areas near the very bottom edge of the window. Upon inspection it appears that what I thought was vinyl on the outside in spots is cracking and flaking. Took it up with Andersen and had a rep come out. He took our case to Andersen and they have agreed to replace the windows though they were a year out of warranty for that part. My question is: is there something we failed to do? I fear all of our windows will end up rotting!! I've been told by our builder and the rep that those area of flaking and cracking need to be sanded and painted. Isn't the exterior of vinyl clad windows all vinyl? I got some kind of answer that the frame is vinyl clad but the actual windows are not vinyl clad. Huh? Majorly confused here so any input welcomed! Thanks!

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