I was recently asked by a homeowner on our website how we compare to one of the big new construction oriented window manufacturers, Andersen Windows, and here is my response.
“In reality, we do not consider Andersen our competitor as they are primarily in the new construction window business and we are very much concentrated on replacement windows." This person also had a concern of dealing with an independent contractor versus ‘directly’ with a large company like them. "As far as the independent contractor concern, it really is the same as when you deal with Renewal by Andersen, the only difference is that they franchise independent contractors, locking them into contracts with extensive marketing requirements, some of these contractors find the grass really wasn't greener, and leave the franchise when the contract runs out. We have no contracts and no restrictions on our group of professional window dealers. We deal with them and they us because they want to do business with us. We strive to select the best dealer - ethical, responsible, and professional - in each market area we serve. With literally thousands of window manufacturers in the U.S., dealers have a wide choice of suppliers.
As far as the big companies, Andersen is gigantic - more than ten times our size, they were well over a billion dollars in sales annually (not sure what the housing collapse has done to them), as are a few other manufacturers like JeldWen, Pella, with Marvin approaching that number, all of these companies are really focused on new construction. They all venture into the retrofit arena when housing starts are in the bucket, but will refocus on new construction when the economy comes back.
As far as the products, replacement windows are normally better products than new construction products because most people looking to buy new homes don't look at the windows when making their decisions, they look through them, so builders traditionally use the least expensive products they can find. People only start looking at windows when they have problems with them, then they look for features and options. We are a replacement window manufacturer; Andersen is a new construction window manufacturer who has a replacement window division. I've been in the replacement window business since I was a teenager working summers for my father's company, starting when the replacement window industry began back in the middle 1960's. The first commercially available replacement window made in the United States was made in the building we now occupy. Andersen started making replacement windows a few years ago when they found that it was actually a bigger market than new construction, it's just very fragmented with many small manufacturers, some say over 10,000 of them.
Now as far as our products specifically, we use all vinyl, which I believe to be the best framing material for windows. It is easily formed into complex shapes, it is impervious to moisture, it is stain resistant, and it is a good thermal barrier. I've made windows framed in aluminum, wood, fiberglass and vinyl, and vinyl is head and shoulders the best material to make windows out of as it is impervious to nature, and windows are what keep Mother Nature from entering your home. Wood swells, shrinks and rots and needs regular maintenance. Aluminum is cold but structurally sound and good for giant commercial type windows. Fiberglass is just what its name infers; a material whose strength comes from glass fibers, and glass is not a good thermally protective material. All of these other materials need an applied finish of some kind to protect them and to make them aesthetically acceptable. None of these other materials can be welded for completely sealed corners, protecting your home from moisture infiltration into your walls. We offer more color options, more wood grains, many more glass options from basic to the best energy performance available. We furnish better view screening material at no extra charge. We offer virtually any color exterior you would like.
We have multiple models of products to fit every budget and every application. We offer hurricane resistant products and security products for your home. We have two different sliding patio doors and a hinged patio door, all available with lots of options. We offer ventilating latches as standard with state of the art locking mechanisms. All of our products are of our design, created specifically for replacement applications. We make our products custom to your home, every 1/8" in width and in height for a perfect fit. We have the best bow and bay window systems on the market and can also offer you garden windows or shaped window, circles, octagons and such. We are a replacement window manufacturer, that is our only focus.
We are the only window manufacturer partnering with the National Crime Prevention Council because of our home security window products. We are the winner, like Andersen is for only the last two years, of the national Energy Star Partner of the Year award, but we've won it every year since 2004. We are Green Seal certified, as is Andersen. And to summarize, I believe that we care more about our customers.”