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Old 03-12-2009, 12:01 AM   #1
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buying Andersen windows


Hi. I am looking to replace all of the windows in a very old house with irregular construction. I have pretty much settled on Andersen windows, and I am trying to understand their pricing scheme. I am getting lots of different answers when I call suppliers.

As I understand it, Andersen has a window TYPES (casement, awning, etc.) with different LINES (200, 400, Architectural) in various SIZES, with various OPTIONS (glass coatings, colors, hardware, etc.) I pick type, line, size, option, and call to get a quote. Easy, if I just want a single window for a single opening.

Now, if I want to combine multiple windows, it gets confusing. In their paper catalogs and on their site, they have these existing sets of multiple windows (e.g., casement trio, with left-opening/fixed/right-opening panels). Again, if my rough opening happens to be exactly the size of one of these sets, it seems easy: call and get a quote.

But if my rough opening is an odd shape (all the ones on this house are), then I am trying to figure out my options. (1) I could put in a slightly smaller window and trim up the gaps; (2) I could divide the rough opening into two smaller openings and find windows to fit the new smaller openings, trimming the diivider and edges; (3) I could order different combinations of single windows and have Andersen mull them together into single units.

I have heard differing reports on the third point: some say that this drives the cost through the roof, and some say that it is a relatively small charge compared to the cost of the window. In general, I am trying to keep costs low (of course!) Does anyone have any tips on how to negotiate this pricing scheme? I would just trial-and-error look up window prices online, but it seems that you have to go through a dealer to get any actual numbers.

Thanks for any help anyone can give.

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Old 03-12-2009, 12:10 AM   #2
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with an old house you really shouldnt be thinking casement or ganging windows

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Old 03-12-2009, 12:14 AM   #3
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with an old house you really shouldnt be thinking casement or ganging windows
Any particular reason?
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:42 AM   #4
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on second thought i should have said if you want to keep the character of your old house you shouldnt be thinking in those terms.If i dosnt matter to you i would get the windows made that i had to and get stock units if they are close
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Old 03-12-2009, 02:03 AM   #5
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Are you the same Charlie Brown that we BOTH cracked our football helmets,,,on a head-on people collision,,, back in the 60's???
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:15 AM   #6
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I don't understand your problem, it is not that confusing, to me. First you select a quality level, 200 or 400. 200 is a step up from builders grade, 400 is their best. Architectural are odd sizes and shapes, not a quality grade.

For an old house, double hung is what you now have, and usually the best choice for replacements. But you can choose casements for places like bathrooms or kitchens. There is no rule. As for ganging windows, that is common with multiple windows in a large opening, and necessary. Either Andersen does the mulling or your installer does. I personally prefer a factory job, and I am an installer.

The hardest part in an old house, is finding the right sizes. They do make custom sizes, but the price goes up quickly. Use stock sizes where you can to keep down costs. It may be cheaper to modify an opening to fit a stock size than have a window custom sized for an opening.

Lastly, accessroies, options. Those are things that add beauty and/or comfort. Grids can change a plane glass window into a showpiece. Special hardware does the same thing. Lo-E or other glass options can save on comfort, heating bills, and furniture from fading.

Catalog shopping for windows is not any different from catalog shopping for other things, but there may be more choices. A good sales person can help you select what is right for your situation. Big box stores are definitly not the right place to find that person.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:16 AM   #7
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Are you the same Charlie Brown that we BOTH cracked our football helmets,,,on a head-on people collision,,, back in the 60's???
Afraid not. I wasn't even around in the 60s!
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:18 AM   #8
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if you want to keep the character of your old house
I should have clarified: the house is old (it's a converted barn/storage building), but it was converted to a residence sometime in the early 50s. The existing windows are casements flanking fixed centers.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:24 AM   #9
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I don't understand your problem, it is not that confusing, to me.
Bill, the part that confuses me is what in particular drives up the price. The people I've spoken to haven't clearly answered that question; they just say "let's check a particular configuration". Then we spend a bunch of time checking and get a number. I am sure that over time I will figure out what particular combinations of factors drive up the price (specifically in terms of mulling and combinations of windows), but I was wondering if someone with experience already knew exactly how it worked. For example, if someone said, "Single windows are cheapest, followed by stock combinations of stock windows mulled together, followed by custom combinations of stock windows mulled together, followed by custom windows." I would guess that there is a huge jump in price when you go to fully custom sizes (if they even do it), but I have heard differing reports on the jump in price when you go to custom combinations of stock windows. Some say it's a big jump, some say its small.

In short: since the prices aren't immediately available, I'm trying to understand strategies for keeping the costs low through choosing the combinations carefully. Does that make sense?

Thanks for all responses!
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:33 AM   #10
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Is mulling them together yourself an option. You could save a couple bucks. I bought an Andersen Bay and wasn't too impressed with the mulling of the window and it cost $600 to mull.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:05 PM   #11
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I don't sell Anderson, but any time I order mulled units, it is the single price x's the # of units--no discount or upcharge......What you need to do is get the size of your openings, then contact Anderson and get it quoted in the exact size/configuartion that you want. You can ask them to also quote you on the closest stock sizes to see what the price difference will be. They do this type of thing all day everyday for contractors. Just have them fax or e-mail you the info. It is a lot easier then trying to use their catalog and call with part #'s etc.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:17 PM   #12
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Mr. Brown,
I would suggest a local Andersen Dealer should come out and measure with you and work and buy your windows through them, to find out your sizes, unless you have them. Your best option is 400 Series, forget 200 Series, period. The Andersen Casements and awning only come standard sizes, that being said, you still have options, and "all andersen windows can be used as replacements." First, is exterior trim boards that come 3 1/2" and 5 1/2" wide to 72" tall and 144" tall these trim boards(come in four colors) can be cut to trim out the window on the outside, similar to a picture frame. There is also brick mold or A/W calls it Auxiliary casing. Also, jamb clips if you plan on cutting the nailing fin off. Second, to spread the mulls between the windows, there is a support mull that is 2" it's basically a exterior cover trim piece that goes over a 2x4 or 2x6. Andersen Windows does not yet make custom casement or awning windows, unless you can purchase the "A" Series Windows which is not even available yet, only in certain markets and Andersen will not make exceptions, regardless who you are...so if you live in Indy or baltimore or Northeast US only certain Lumber Yards even carry it and it's all top secret is what my A/W rep tells me, so good luck unless you can wait a year and a half maybe or longer. Casement Combo units can easily be made to width, but height could be a problem for you because of standard sizes.
ANdersen Windows does make a custom size Double Hung Window called Wood Wright Full Frame or Insert Window which is their top of the line Double Hung, it can be made 1/8" increments width and height....Also A/W can make a custom Patio Doors to size which no one knows..
Good luck...
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:15 PM   #13
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WHY would anyone want to PAY for a custom size window,,unless incredibly wealthy and particular???? Make your opening standard size and go. Makes the next time around MUCH easier too. Altho people seldom care.

As for mulling windows,,,if you have the need,,,but price a center support making it 2 different complete windows and see if that doesnt look better and agree with your pocket better. MORE energy efficent also!!

As to casements vs double hung,,,I have had both types in previous houses and would HAVE to be deranged and crazy to ever go back to casements,,,they are NOT nearly as durable and trouble free,,,plus leak easier. Buying hardware 20 years down the road is impossible and NOT to be depended on. THAT may well lead to ANOTHER window replacement and that gets alot more expensive!!. Casement hardware is notoriously broken. An open window in a GOOD ripping storm or tornado is a gonner.

I actually prefer single hungs over double but thats another whole thing. UNLESS they are 20 foot in the air and washing is hard from outside!! THEY are also more energy efficent. Do you think heating and cooling costs are going UP or DOWN in next 20-40 years??? People dont even KNOW the reason for double hungs anyway. I havent ever seen a double hung used the way they were designed in 40 years, plus aluminum combo windows dont allow them to work right anyway. With the invention of central air,double hungs are obsolete unless you want cleaning ease!!period.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:26 PM   #14
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I second Emily's advice. Get a rep and save yourself a headache. A rep coming out to your house, measuring for you, giving you your options and pricing will take away all your worries.
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Old 03-14-2009, 01:17 PM   #15
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Just my two cents
(I dont have any shares in the company or know anyone that works there)

Trim line windows are comparable to Andersen and Pella.
They are wood covered by aluminum double windows and they make irregular sizes.
They make all windows custom and don't charge extra for it.
They are also just a bit cheaper than Andersen.

My in laws own some rental properties and have always used Trim line.
I have a window project coming up and I am going with those.

Hope this helps

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