A home’s windows are its eyes; the portals through which the home’s residents greet the world every morning. They create a fresh, welcoming gaze for those passing by outside, and the curb appeal of clean, well-kept windows cannot be overestimated. The shape and trim of windows can highlight architectural features of a building, balance out a home that’s had several additions, and create a sense of style.
Windows, however, are also under constant use and abuse. They’re opened and closed frequently and are the barriers between the home’s interior and heat, cold, wind, rain, and snow. And windows often aren’t at the top of the maintenance list unless they stop working correctly. But over time, the insulation qualities begin to fade, flashing ages, and caulk and weatherstripping crack and dry out—not to mention the eyesore that old, faded windows can be. Often, this aging occurs without anyone noticing until suddenly a window won’t open, a guest feels a ferocious draft, or the homeowner sees that the heating and cooling bill is much higher than usual. At that point, it’s probably time to consider replacing the windows. There are two ways to replace windows: replacement window inserts installed within the outer frames of the existing windows, and new construction, in which the old windows are entirely removed and new ones are installed.
Andersen is one of the most recognizable names in the window and door industry. For homeowners interested in replacing their windows, Andersen has a specialized division called Renewal by Andersen. It’s a fitting title, as Renewal by Andersen’s options and services go well beyond simply replacing the existing windows in a home. The company provides a full-service process of preparation, selection, and installation, meaning residents can choose to replace what they have, upgrade what they have, or completely revamp the look of their windows. Like most full-service companies, Renewal by Andersen’s costs tend to be a bit higher than other companies with fewer services or more DIY options. Is Renewal by Andersen worth the money? The level of service and extensive options, combined with the transferable warranty, suggest that it just may be.
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Our Verdict: Renewal by Andersen offers a comprehensive, full-service window and door replacement service, streamlining the process through a single company and backing it with a generous transferable warranty. While skewing slightly more expensive than its competitors, one-stop shopping may be worth the added cost for many customers.
- Consultation process: In-home or virtual
- Scheduling: Online or phone
- Financing available: Yes
- Customer service: Phone
- Warranty: 20 years on components, 2 years on installation, 10 years on hardware
- Generous 20-year transferable warranty on all components
- Augmented-reality tool allows homeowners to visualize new windows in their homes
- Products are Green Seal certified for environmental health and stewardship
- Fewer window styles available than those of other manufacturers
Renewal by Andersen Review: Claims
Renewal by Andersen presents itself as a company dedicated to a single corner of the window and door market: The company focuses exclusively on replacement products customized to meet the customer’s style and efficiency needs. Skilled, experienced technicians install windows, and Renewal by Andersen guarantees start-to-finish Signature Service.
Photo: renewalbyandersen.com / Meghan Wentland
Andersen vs. Renewal by Andersen
As the parent company for several product lines, Andersen Windows & Doors is a large entity offering a wide range of products and services through its direct service and retailers such as The Home Depot and independent dealers. Homeowners, independent certified contractors, or contractors hired by the homeowner can install Andersen products. Andersen’s portfolio includes windows and doors constructed of wood, Fibrex composite material, aluminum, vinyl, and fiberglass and includes new construction, replacement, and commercial products.
The Renewal by Andersen Corporation, usually called “Renewal by Andersen” but sometimes erroneously referred to as “Renewal Windows by Andersen,” focuses exclusively on replacement windows and doors, with installation available only through Renewal by Andersen retailers. All Renewal by Andersen products are constructed with Fibrex composite material, and all Renewal products are custom-sized to fit the openings in the home in which they’re being installed.
Both Andersen Windows & Doors and Renewal by Andersen carry the same warranties on products and installation. The main difference is specialization: Renewal offers only replacement products in one material so it can specialize on the challenges that are particular to replacement installations, while Andersen Windows offers products for new construction and replacement in a wide range of materials installed by subcontractors. Those looking to match the replacement windows’ material to existing ones or looking for new construction materials will want to shop at Andersen Windows. In contrast, those looking for installers and salespeople whose central focus is replacement products will find the services at Renewal by Andersen tailored to their needs.
How It Works
Replacing windows is not as simple a process as it might initially seem. Accurate measurements of the existing windows need to be taken (while the windows are still in place!); new windows selected and ordered; the old windows removed and disposed of; and the new windows installed, insulated, and finished. When different companies and contractors handle each of these steps, there are a lot of places for details to slip through the cracks and errors to be made. Renewal by Andersen offers start-to-finish Signature Service. Everything runs through a single point of contact at one company, so Renewal by Andersen takes responsibility for the entire process and leaves nothing to chance.
The process begins with a virtual or in-home consultation to help customers understand the window replacement process and learn about the material and style options. In-person showroom tours may also allow homeowners to see the colors and style options in person before making a selection, and virtual showroom tours are available on the Renewal by Andersen website. Based on the options selected and the homeowner’s budget, Renewal will generate a quote, place the order, and then schedule installation with professional installers who work exclusively for Renewal.
The Renewal by Andersen site is attractively laid out. Users can jump directly to the window options or choose to look at a well-organized map of links that move logically through the process. Links to schedule consultations online or by phone abound—almost to the point of irritation—but the answers to almost all of the questions a homeowner could think of are answered (minus pricing, as the costs will be wholly dependent on the combination of selections and size of the individual windows). Links are provided to downloadable catalogs of products, galleries, and customer service providers. In addition, every page has a small box in the lower right-hand corner labeled “feedback.” Through this link, customers or shoppers are invited to provide feedback on service (if they’re an existing or potential customer) and the website (positive or negative). Both options allow customers to choose whether or not they would like a response to their feedback.
Window Materials Selection
When selecting replacement or new-construction windows from other companies, customers will spend time deciding what material they prefer, usually choosing between wood, vinyl, aluminum, or other composites. They’ll need to read and understand the differences in energy efficiency and durability, make their best guess at the material they like that fits their budget, and hope it’s the correct decision. Renewal by Andersen removes that guesswork from the process by offering only one material: Fibrex, a proprietary composite material that blends the benefits of wood and vinyl. Andersen claims this material is highly energy efficient, strong, and weathertight. Fibrex frames are narrower, and the color is fused into the material, so the frames will continue to look great for years to come. The material expands and contracts less than wood or vinyl, eliminating many homeowners’ difficulties with replacing windows that refuse to open or close properly after settling.
While the framing material is limited to Fibrex, the glass options require decision-making on the customer’s part. Renewal by Andersen offers six options that balance cost, energy efficiency, light transmittance, and UV protection of the home’s interior. Sun glass offers great thermal performance with a slight tint that blocks additional heat. An upgrade to SmartSun glass increases the thermal performance (especially if customers select the additional HeatLock technology, which is a coating added to the interior that reflects the indoor temperature back into the home) without reducing the light transmittance from outdoors to indoors as significantly as the Sun glass. Low-E4 glass is an excellent midrange option for climates where heat and cooling loss are factors during the seasons. Enhanced Triple Pane (upgradable to Enhanced Triple Pane with SmartSun glass) adds another layer of glass to bolster protection against colder winter climates.
Start-to-finish Signature Service means that customers won’t be making this choice on their own, or with the help of a brochure: Guidance from Renewal by Andersen professionals will be provided along the way to help customers make the best choice for their climate and budget.
Fibrex material has the color fused into it before it is extruded and formed into the selected shape, so the color is less likely to fade and won’t come off by chipping or cracking. Interior frames are available in three wood veneer tones (maple, pine, and oak). Both interior and exterior frames are available in white, canvas, sandstone, terratone, dark bronze, and black. Exterior frames also come in cocoa bean, forest green, and red rock colors. These options can be combined to match (or define) existing interior and exterior styles or to create a change.
Photo: renewalbyandersen.com / Meghan Wentland
Renewal by Andersen windows are available in double-hung, casement, awning, and gliding opening styles, as well as fixed picture window and projection window bow and bay styles. Specialty windows can be built to replace existing windows in unusual shapes. There are more options within these choices. Double-hung windows can be of equal or unequal casement sizes. Windows can be a combination of fixed and awning or another combination. Rails can be traditionally squared or rounded for a more contemporary look.
Nine styles of grilles are available (plus a custom option). The grilles can be installed between the glass panes, both between the panes and on the surfaces for a traditional divided-light look, or interior-only so that the grilles can be removed for easier window cleaning when hiring one of the best window cleaning services. For those trying to match an existing style or fashion a new look, these options make it far more likely than off-the-shelf windows.
Photo: renewalbyandersen.com / Meghan Wentland
Hardware comes in 13 colors and various styles, and insect screens can be conventional or high-transparency. The frame of the window screens can be matched to the color of the window frame for near-invisibility.
Renewal by Andersen offers replacement patio doors in an even wider array of styles and configurations so that the doors can be matched to the style and color of the home’s windows.
Photo: renewalbyandersen.com / Meghan Wentland
Because of the custom nature of Renewal by Andersen’s products and the wide variations in home sizes, styles, and quirks, every potential installation begins with a consultation. Customers can request a consultation online or by phone after providing their name, email address, phone number, and ZIP code and noting whether they’d prefer an in-home or virtual consultation. A representative from Renewal by Andersen will be in touch to schedule the consultation.
For in-person or virtual consultations, the designer will visit the home to see its exterior and make notes about the terrain, the existing windows, siding, and the style of the house. The designer may need to interact with the customer during this time, but the interaction can be outdoors at a distance or through a window or door. For in-person consultations, the designer can come into the home after the exterior inspection to show the customer design options, discuss the customer’s thoughts and vision, discuss the budget, and offer pricing for different options. For customers who prefer a virtual meeting, the designer will schedule an appointment after the exterior inspection to discuss the same. There is an option to meet entirely via video chat as well, but to get the complete picture of the job, designers prefer to do an exterior inspection. This process is intended to build the relationship between the customer and the company so that the customer feels they have a clear contact person who will respond to their questions and concerns.
In addition to the virtual showroom and pages of inspirational photos and videos, Renewal by Andersen offers an augmented-reality tool for customers to envision Renewal by Andersen’s products in their homes. Using a smartphone or tablet, customers can select Renewal products, customize the finish, style, and hardware, and then hold up the phone or tablet in the direction of the window they’d like to replace. The software will analyze the surface, then superimpose the selected window over the existing window on the screen. The customer can size the window on the screen appropriately and see how the chosen product would look inside their home. There’s no software to download, and it’s free.
Once the customer has decided to purchase windows, a technician will visit the home to take precise measurements and discuss whether the customer prefers inserts or full-frame replacement (similar to a new construction installation) before ordering the windows. When the windows have arrived, professional Signature Service installers will complete the installation. As Renewal by Andersen acknowledges, regardless of the quality of the product, the finished job is wholly dependent on the craftsmanship of the people who install the windows, so the company is careful about who it hires and how those people are trained.
Installers will arrive at the home with a workshop on wheels, prepared for every eventuality. This saves time—installers won’t have to keep running back to a shop for tools or extra parts as they run into issues during the installation, and they can stay focused on the job with all the necessary parts at hand. Installers will be prepared for the idiosyncrasies that naturally occur in a home that is old enough to need replacement windows. These include variations in the thickness of the walls, different types of construction and sill installation on the existing walls, odd angles and non-square openings due to settling, and hidden structural damage.
The crew will prepare the home before beginning the installation. Dropcloths will be placed to prevent damage to flooring, furniture, and landscaping and to collect the dust and debris that naturally occurs during construction. The crew will clean the area, insulate and seal the existing window frame, and install the window, then thoroughly and completely clean the area again. The installers will walk the customer through the operation of the windows and provide instruction on any care and maintenance, then take away the old windows and dispose of them properly.
Sometimes customers can plan and schedule window replacement during a mild time of the year. Unfortunately, sometimes the windows will decide when it’s time for replacement by failing or breaking, and the customer finds themselves scheduling replacement in the middle of a freezing winter or blazing-hot summer. Renewal by Andersen’s Signature Service installers have a plan in place for these situations: They’ll seal off the room they’re working in to reduce heat or cooling loss and remove only one window at a time so that the customer’s outdoor exposure is limited. As they will at other times of the year, the installers will protect floors and carpets from construction debris and foot traffic, taking special care if there is snow or mud that could be tracked in. Essentially, Signature Service aims to make the installation seamless regardless of the time of year.
Renewal by Andersen prides itself on its customer service. By focusing expressly on the replacement niche of the window and door market, it can attune all of its efforts to supporting customers in that particular area. In addition to personal service during the project’s consultation, design, and installation phases, Renewal by Andersen focuses on customer care after the installation should anything go wrong.
Generally, homeowners opt to simultaneously replace all (or most) of their windows for consistency. In a home with many windows or unusually shaped windows, this can mean an enormous investment. Because all windows purchased from Renewal by Andersen are custom, there’s less of a premium on windows of unusual dimensions or shapes than there might be at companies who offer stock sizes with some custom options. But regardless of where they are purchased, windows aren’t inexpensive.
Renewal by Andersen’s start-to-finish Signature Service guarantees that customers can navigate the entire replacement window process while working with just one company, including financing options. Customers are welcome to use savings, home equity lines of credit, or credit cards to pay for their window replacement project, but Renewal by Andersen also offers its own financing options. It offers deferred payment options, low minimum monthly payments, and lines of credit up to $55,000 for qualified buyers with no up-front fees. Applications can be processed during the consultation stage so that customers can have a solid idea of what’s available to them before they commit.
Renewal by Andersen’s glass and Fibrex materials are warrantied for 20 years. Installation is guaranteed for 2 years, and the hardware for 10 years. Renewal by Andersen recently completed a study of its windows that had been professionally installed more than 20 years ago in Minnesota—an area known for weather extremes—to support its warranty goals. The company found that the windows in the study still worked well, remained energy efficient, and looked great. Renewal by Andersen offers the study results to support its excellent warranty coverage and reassure customers that it isn’t a company that offers a warranty knowing that the product will fail immediately after the warranty ends.
The warranty is not limited to the owners at the installation time—it transfers completely to new owners if the home is sold. In addition, the warranty covers the labor for repairs, not just the parts, and includes a warranty for the color of exterior products should they fade or discolor. And there is no need to demonstrate proper or regular maintenance to access the warranty. A dispute resolution process is clearly laid out on the website, explaining procedures should a customer be dissatisfied with their warranty claims experience. In short, Renewal by Andersen has closed many loopholes often found in warranty coverage.
Sustainability is a core value at Renewal by Andersen and the parent company Andersen Windows & Doors. By its very nature, home construction generates a lot of waste—the old windows and glass have to go somewhere, and the materials for installation and insulation have to be trimmed to fit. Renewal by Andersen is the first window manufacturer to receive the Green Seal Certification for Environmental Stewardship as a result of its focus on environmental responsibility. The products are geared toward energy efficiency and reducing the energy use and loss of the homes in which they’re installed. The company also focuses on responsible manufacturing practices and reducing the toxins that are off-gassed by the products to improve indoor air quality. The Fibrex material is 40 percent reclaimed wood fiber that requires no chemicals or paints for maintenance. And Renewal by Andersen products are designed to have long lifespans, reducing the amount of material sent to landfills.
Plus, the insulating value of the well-fitted, well-installed frames and various glass options will reduce heat and cooling loss for lower energy bills, and UV-blocking qualities reduce fading on furniture and flooring. The energy efficiency may even qualify customers for a tax credit. All in all, the products are environmentally friendly while protecting customers’ wallets.
Renewal by Andersen Reviews by Customers
Renewal by Andersen’s website features a section of customer reviews. While reviews on a company’s own website often need to be taken with a grain of salt, it’s interesting to note that the Customer Reviews link took me to a page focused on reviews in Southern New England, where I live. This is significant because products such as windows and doors are subject to weather and climate conditions, and customer experiences may be regionally different. Directing shoppers to reviews more relevant to their experience suggests that the company doesn’t want their customers to waste time sifting through hundreds of reviews talking about the windows’ reliance on summer heat if they live in an area where snow is a bigger concern. In addition, some of the reviews may be franchise-specific, so it’s ideal to see the responses that will be relevant to a customer’s local experience. It’s also worth noting that many of the site’s 1- and 2-star reviews are 4 or 5 years old, while the more positive reviews are more recent. Whether this is a result of filtering or improvement is a valid question.
Reading through Renewal by Andersen windows reviews on sites such as ConsumerAffairs.com and ConsumerAdvocate.org is tricky. Renewal by Andersen complaints focus on communication problems and, in some cases, significant cost disparities between the amounts quoted and the final cost of the job. Some negative reviews also cited shoddy workmanship. Positive reviews focused on the smooth start-to-finish process, pleasure with the products themselves, and helpful customer service. So why is scanning the reviews tricky? Some customers referred specifically to Renewal by Andersen. Others referred simply to “Andersen” and noted products that Renewal by Andersen does not provide (specific materials, DIY options, and new- construction materials). This makes it difficult to know whether the reviews reference Renewal by Andersen or the parent company. It’s worth noting that many of the positive reviews cited the “Signature Service” (a feature unique to Renewal by Andersen) specifically, but also that some of the negative comments are echoed in the 1- and 2-star reviews on Renewal by Andersen’s website. These suggest that carefully checking contracts and cost estimates before signing and making good and prompt use of customer service contacts if a problem arises is important.
How Renewal by Andersen Stacks Up to the Competition
Renewal by Andersen is one of the industry’s best full-service replacement window companies. The singular focus on replacement doors and windows, rather than a broader focus on all types of doors and windows, combined with the extended, easy-to-use, transferable warranty, makes the company an excellent option for consumers who want a streamlined process with lots of options. Other companies such as Pella offer a few more stylistic options and more frame materials without the ease of a transferable warranty, and companies such as the Glass Doctor and The Home Depot offer repair services and DIY options but don’t manufacture their own products and so can’t provide a comparable warranty.
Should You Choose Renewal by Andersen?
Is Renewal by Andersen worth it? The answer depends a bit on the customer’s priority. If an extended, transferable warranty and the full-service process are essential, then yes, the slightly higher cost of Renewal by Andersen windows is likely worth it. If budget is the biggest concern, it’s worth shopping around, but it may be that cobbling multiple companies together to complete the job negates some of the savings.
Photo: renewalbyandersen.com / Meghan Wentland
For many homeowners, Renewal by Andersen is a great option, especially if their homes are older and need someone experienced specifically with replacement windows to install them. The custom options, color possibilities, and augmented-reality tools allow customers to build precisely the products they want, and the single-company benefit and excellent warranty make convincing arguments that they’re the best option. Customers looking to save by hiring their own contractors or doing some of the work on their own may want to look elsewhere, as those aren’t components of the services Renewal by Andersen provides. Those looking for the best budget line may not find their needs met, but it’s worth a consultation before making a decision, especially if there are several windows in the home that are nonstandard sizes; because all Renewal by Andersen windows are custom, it’s possible that the savings garnered by avoiding custom charges at other manufacturers may make Renewal by Andersen the better deal.
We independently reviewed this service by weighing the company’s claims against first-hand experience with its professionals. However, due to factors such as franchising, human error, and more, please note that experiences with this company may vary.