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Three Large Pella Archtops Leaking

2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

In 2001 we built with Pella windows. The city's building review board insisted we use simulated true divided light windows on the front of the house. These are Pella Architect series aluminum clad wood casements beneath arched tops. Since only deer and squirrels see the windows elsewhere, we were 'allowed' to use less expensive Designer series elsewhere. Those are 15 French doors + casements, also aluminum clad wood -- double panes with grids and cellular shades between the panes. The Designers are have not leaked, although the weatherstripping on the exterior was a stupid idea. Neither style is still manufactured.

The leaking front windows were only discovered when we hired someone to replace the weatherstripping at the bottoms of the casements.

Pella has quoted $80K (all in) for Reserve Traditionals to replace the casements and archtops. Marvin has quoted $60K (goods and labor estimate) for Ultimates. The 'lifetime' warranties are laughable, but given that those are useless once a company stops making a particular line, hey, what matter? (From what I can see online, only Milgard has a genuine lifetime warranty, but I don't see that they sell here.)

I'm 30 miles north of Chicago and would appreciate advice.

Given the poor performance of these 'clad' products, is plain wood a viable option? You can buy a lot of paint for this kind of money.

Should I go about this by first talking to installers?

With the exception of one non-operational casement, the rest of the failing windows could go another 4-5 years, so we have a little time.

DH and I are Seniors in this one-floor custom home on an acre. I doubt we'd recoup these costs were we to sell in the next few years. Of course we'd be dinged on the price due to the windows.

Thank you.

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