Reviews

Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella: Which Window Replacement Company Should You Choose?

Replacement windows may all seem the same at first, but there are important differences to consider when choosing between Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella to fabricate and install replacement windows.
Meghan Wentland Avatar
Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella
Photo: bobvila.com

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Old, drafty windows can cost homeowners hundreds of dollars in lost energy every year. But making the decision to replace windows can be difficult: There’s a significant cost outlay all at once, and choosing the type and style of window can seem overwhelming. Many customers choose to go with a company that has widespread name recognition because they feel more secure in the knowledge that those companies continue to exist. Pella and Andersen are two of the most widely recognized and respected window companies in the industry, so trying to choose between them is especially difficult. We have compared the two on their merits to help readers decide which company is the best choice for windows, focusing specifically on Renewal by Andersen (the division of Andersen Windows that makes replacement units) and Pella replacement windows. Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella Windows is a close race, but one comes out on top.

About Renewal by Andersen

The Andersen Corporation has been in business for more than 110 years, providing finely crafted windows and doors to home builders while constantly seeking innovative ways to improve its products. In 1995, Renewal by Andersen opened its first storefront, as the company saw a gap in the replacement window market and sought to fill it with beautiful custom-made composite windows. The company offers free in-home consultation, design services, and professional installation to ensure the best possible appearance and performance. Renewal by Andersen supports its products with a limited warranty that is one of the strongest in the industry; the company’s faith in its products’ longevity is based on real-world testing in the harsh climate of Minnesota, not lab-created simulations, so it’s confident that the windows will stand the test of time.

About Pella

Founded in 1925, Pella began with an innovation: a window screen that could roll up and down. Focusing on innovation and sustainability as its guiding forces, Pella has grown to include 17 manufacturing locations and more than 200 showrooms across the country. The company introduced its first windows designed specifically as replacement products in 1995 with the Pella Precision-Fit pocket replacement windows to make installation easier and performance seamless. Pella has continued to work toward adding products that improve function, aesthetics, sustainability, and both customer and employee satisfaction. The company holds over 150 patents and continues to work toward innovative, problem-solving products.

How We Compared Window Replacement Companies

  • Window materials: New-construction and replacement windows can be made of wood, composite, or vinyl. Each material has its own strengths and weaknesses, and we’ve evaluated the offerings from each company.
  • Window styles: Replacing windows can be an opportunity for homeowners to maintain a classic style or to update the look of their home with a variety of different types of windows. Casement, double-hung, and sliding windows can change up the look of a home, while grand bow or bay windows and large picture windows can completely alter the style. We examined the variety and customization options at both Pella and Renewal by Andersen.
  • Sustainability: More and more, customers demand that the companies they patronize be aware of the impact their production has on the environment. Customers expect the companies to take measures to use products that are sustainable, engage production standards that minimize their impact on the environment overall, and practice safe and thoughtful waste reduction strategies. In addition, customers want windows and doors that will minimize their energy costs and consumption. Both Pella and Renewal by Andersen have taken these considerations seriously, and we’ve compared their approaches.
  • Cost: Windows are expensive; they are expected to protect a home from the elements and unwanted intruders, and to do it all while looking great for years, so they’re an investment. Knowing that they’re an investment doesn’t make most customers feel better when they’re laying out cash, however, so we’ve compared the costs and financing options at Renewal by Andersen and Pella.
  • Warranty: Because windows are an investment, customers want to know that they’re protected if there’s a manufacturing flaw or something goes wrong. Both Pella and Renewal by Andersen offer impressive warranties.
  • Customer reviews: While customer reviews can sometimes skew toward customers who have had a negative experience, we’ve read and considered a wide range of reviews to establish trends and determine which comments—both positive and negative—crop up repeatedly to establish what customers think about their experiences with these companies.
Renewal by AndersenPella
Window materialsFibrexVinyl, wood, fiberglass
Window styles
  • Double-hung
  • Casement
  • Bay
  • Bow
  • Picture
  • Sliding
  • Specialty
  • Awning
  • Double-hung
  • Single-hung
  • Sliding
  • Sasement
  • Awning
  • Bay
  • Bow
  • Custom
  • Special shape
  • Specialty
WarrantyTransferable 20-year warranty on glass; transferable 2-year warranty on installation; transferable 20-year warranty on Fibrex; 10-year warranty on locks, hinges, and other components; 10-year warranty on exterior finishNontransferable limited lifetime warranty on wood, vinyl, and fiberglass; nontransferable 2-year warranty on installation; nontransferable 20-year warranty on nonlaminated glass; nontransferable 10-year warranty on laminated glass
Better Business Bureau ratingA+A+ (not accredited)

Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella: Window Materials

Once upon a time, all windows were made of wood and glass. They’ve come a long way since then in both efficiency and attractiveness by harnessing different manufacturing processes and materials. Comparing Pella windows vs. Andersen’s Renewal line means considering the materials each company uses. Pella’s replacement line offers products crafted from wood, vinyl, and fiberglass, which gives customers many choices and a lot of flexibility. For example, if a customer is only replacing a few windows or the windows on one floor, the range of materials allows them to closely match the existing windows in design and material for consistency. Homeowners with historic homes can choose wood windows to maintain the historical context of their home (which may be required in some registered homes or historic districts), giving those customers the ability to upgrade the appearance and function of their home without compromising its historic value.

In contrast, Renewal by Andersen offers replacement windows in only one material—the company’s proprietary material called Fibrex, which is made from reclaimed wood and polymers. While initially this may seem like a limitation, the Fibrex material actually combines the best qualities of other window materials into one, maximizing the strength, flexibility, and efficiency of the windows. Fibrex is more stable in extreme weather than vinyl and boasts outstanding test results for insulation value. The extrusion process with which the Fibrex windows are made can mimic any profile or shape, enabling customers to match existing windows or create a truly custom look, and the durability of Fibrex means the frames can be narrower without compromising strength, meaning more clear-glass viewing area. The material can be manufactured in many colors and finishes, and because the color is worked through the material, there’s no need for painting.

Verdict: Pella offers windows in vinyl, fiberglass, and wood. While Renewal by Andersen only offers materials in its proprietary Fibrex material, Fibrex is stronger, more durable, and more eco-friendly than other materials. Fibrex also comes in a variety of colors and finishes to suit almost any home’s design style. 

Winner: Renewal by Andersen

Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella: Window Styles

Window styles can change not only the appearance and curb appeal of a home but also the way the interior spaces are used. The style includes how the window opens, the color of the frame and sashes, and additional accessories such as screens, grilles, and hardware.

Pella manufactures double-hung, single-hung, sliding, casement, awning, bay, and bow windows as standard offerings in a range of sizes. Pella also crafts specialty windows including casements with different types of swing hinges in wood, as well as custom options in a nearly endless combination of shapes, sizes, intricate grille patterns, and glass choices. The company also manufactures storm doors and sliding doors to provide a cohesive look. Windows are available in multiple styles in black, white, blue, tan, and brown frames and several variations of glass. Hardware, including locks, cranks, and handles, is organized based on the type of window selected and is available in many different styles and finishes to complement the windows. Grilles and blinds can be selected in various colors and can be between the glass or on the surface of the windows as well.

As a company, Pella began with an innovative rolling window screen, and it continues to offer a range of screen styles and types to work with the windows’ appearance and the customer’s lifestyle. Pella also offers hinged or French patio doors, sliding patio doors, bifold patio doors, and multi-slide patio doors that do not have a fixed panel for maximum flexibility. In a standoff of Pella vs. Andersen patio doors, or even specifically Pella vs. Renewal by Andersen sliding glass doors, Pella has the upper hand in terms of style options.

Renewal by Andersen also offers a range of window styles: double-hung, casement, bay, bow, picture, sliding, and awning, along with specialty. Specialty windows are fully custom designed, beginning with one of 16 standard shapes and customized with a variety of grilles, glass, trims, and casings to create truly individual windows. Nine interior colors can be combined with nine exterior colors to complement both the interior and exterior. Hardware is available in eight finishes and several styles depending on the type of window selected, and grilles are available in several styles and finishes—and some are removable to facilitate easy cleaning. Renewal by Andersen offers three styles of replacement patio doors as well: Contemporary sliding, sliding French, and hinged French doors can all be customized and produced with color and hardware to match the windows selected for the home.

Verdict: Both Pella and Renewal by Andersen offer a variety of window styles, including double-hung, casement, and awning. However, Pella has some more variety than Renewal by Andersen, including single-hung windows as part of its selection, as well as diverse colors and hardware options. 

Winner: Pella

Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella
Photo: istockphoto.com

Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella: Sustainability

Energy efficiency and manufacturing sustainability are buzzwords among replacement window customers, and with good reason: While many customers are interested in improving the appearance of their homes with new windows, most are also looking for reduced energy costs and reduced energy consumption. In addition, many consumers are concerned about the environmental impact of manufacturing and the excess waste produced by removing old windows and packaging new ones. Companies that pay attention to these concerns will be more likely to please their customers.

Pella focuses on three sustainability tenets with its products: Energy Efficiency, Green Building, and Noise Control. All products are fitted with low-e glass to reflect heat and keep rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer while blocking harmful UV rays. The company also focuses on proper insulation and installation to combat air leaks, and on using double panes of glass with insulating gas between the panes to prevent conduction of heat or cold through the glass itself. Many of Pella’s products meet the Passive House standard and are certified as such, which means they aggressively minimize the use of energy for heating and cooling. Pella also seeks to protect the environment inside the home with noise reduction and sound control, achieved by using multiple panes of glass and varying the thickness of the glass in its windows. And Pella offers replacement storm doors as an additional line of defense against the elements but fits those doors with retractable screens to allow the whole home to ventilate.

In terms of protecting the environment as a whole, Pella is certified as a SmartWay Transport Partner, indicating that it has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions and diverted carbon emissions from both its private fleet of freight transporters and fleet partners. Pella also collects leftover or runoff stains from all of its finishes to blend into its black stain finish, creating a whole new product out of what otherwise would be discarded chemicals.

Renewal by Andersen also has a substantial environmental commitment. All replacement windows manufactured by the company are made of the proprietary Fibrex material, which contains 40 percent of reclaimed wood fiber by weight—and a great deal of that fiber is reclaimed from Andersen’s own manufacturing of wood windows in its new construction line. In fact, Renewal by Andersen has earned the highest SCS Global Services ranking for recycled content values in the window category. SCS is a neutral third party that provides audits and certifications for companies striving to support and meet environmental and sustainability goals. In addition, Renewal by Andersen and its parent company have also received the SCS Global Services Indoor Advantage Gold certification, indicating that the company’s products have surpassed the most rigorous indoor air emission standards in the U.S. This means Renewal by Andersen is protecting the air inside the home as well as the environment outside. Low-e glass in multiple layers protects interiors and reduces the transfer of heat and cold while also reducing heating costs.

Renewal by Andersen asserts that every week its installers remove windows from homes that are less than 10 years old—and that those windows ultimately end up in a landfill. Renewal products are tested and warrantied to last for 20 years, reducing the number of windows that are dumped in a landfill over the course of time. This means fewer windows pile up and fewer windows need to be manufactured, protecting the environment on both ends of the lifetime of the product.

Verdict: Pella and Renewal by Andersen both offer low-e windows that are more energy efficient than traditional glass. However, Renewal by Andersen demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainability as all of its Fibrex window frames are made from recycled materials, and the company’s products are certified to produce low volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions. 

Winner: Renewal by Andersen 

Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella: Cost

Comparing Pella vs. Andersen cost is pretty difficult, as neither company posts its price list online or will quote prices over the phone without a request for a consultation.

One of the most frustrating elements of shopping for windows at many of the most prestigious companies is that the prices simply are not available online. Most customers do not want to schedule a consultation immediately, preferring to browse online and collect the information they’ll need to compare the products, then perhaps scheduling a consultation or visiting a showroom to really look at the product. Many customers are particularly loath to schedule an in-home consultation.

But that’s simply how these companies operate and with some good reasons. Given that both companies offer such a wide breadth of products and have a substantial number of custom offerings, it stands to reason that they feel they can provide the very best service by visiting the home, looking at the existing windows, and making recommendations regarding type and style of windows (possibly even discouraging a customer from making a costly mistake). Because the cost will ultimately be determined by the many choices a customer will have to make, it doesn’t make sense for these companies to post prices on their websites, as doing so would be difficult, and the prices would likely be inaccurate. Additionally, agents at both Pella and Renewal by Andersen will measure the windows multiple times during a home consultation, which means that any errors in measurement are on them, not the homeowner. There’s peace of mind there.

Customer reviews and service reviews do suggest that the average starting cost of windows is lower at Pella than at Renewal by Andersen, but they also note that everything about the cost is based on selections made by the customer, so some of the budget can be managed by the customer.

Verdict: Neither company has pricing information available on its website; customers will need to schedule a consultation to obtain specific pricing. However, customers report that Pella windows and services are generally slightly more affordable than those from Renewal by Andersen. 

Winner: Pella

Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella: Warranty

Warranties often get a bad rap, mostly because customers worry that they won’t actually be able to use the warranty should they need to make a claim. And certainly, there are cases where that is the case, but both Renewal by Andersen and Pella offer generous and specific manufacturer’s warranties on their products that customer reviews suggest are honored.

There is one distinguishing factor in warranty limitations that is important to understand when comparing: Some warranties are transferable, and some are nontransferable. What does this mean? A transferable warranty is attached to the product (in this case, a window). The warranty will exist and be honored until the product reaches the age at which the warranty expires, regardless of who owns the product. A nontransferable warranty is attached to the owner of the product: The owner has been granted the warranty or purchased the warranty, and thus the warranty is only valid as long as the owner continues to own the product. Therefore, if the owner sells the product or transfers ownership to someone else, the warranty ends. In this case, a transferable warranty will remain in effect even if the homeowner sells or transfers ownership of the home to someone else, while a nontransferable warranty will end when the home is sold or ownership is transferred. Homeowners who plan to remain in their homes for a long time won’t need to worry about which type of warranty they hold, but those who expect to sell their home in the next few years can benefit from a transferable warranty, as it can be used as a selling point to increase the sale value of the home and increase a buyer’s comfort in making the purchase.

Renewal by Andersen offers a fully transferable 20-year limited warranty on all glass and Fibrex material; 10 years on locks, hinges, and other components; and 2 years on professional installation. This includes a 10-year warranty on the exterior finish, so if the color fades or cracks or chips develop (a concern many customers have regarding composite materials), it’s covered. As always, it’s key for customers to read the limitations and exclusions on the warranty documents—certain acts or modifications on the part of the customer may invalidate the warranty, and some maintenance is required, but it’s a fairly reasonable list.

Pella’s warranty documents require a slightly closer read to decipher because the warranties are a bit different for each product line and material. In general, the company offers 20 years of coverage on nonlaminated glass and a limited lifetime warranty on wood, vinyl, and fiberglass, and 2 years on installation. Several of the warranties on frames and glass are lifetime warranties—but none of Pella’s warranties are transferable, so the lifetime warranty doesn’t matter much if the purchaser plans to sell the home in the next few years. For those who do plan to remain in their homes, lifetime warranties are a fantastic option; it’s just very important to closely read the warranty documents for the product that’s been purchased.

Verdict: Renewal by Andersen and Pella offer comparable warranties, with up to 20 years of coverage on glass and 2 years on installation. However, Renewal by Andersen’s warranties are transferable, while Pella’s are not, which gives Renewal by Andersen a slight edge. 

Winner: Renewal by Andersen

Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella
Photo: istockphoto.com

Renewal by Andersen vs. Pella: Customer Reviews

A quick review of customer reviews in almost any industry is enough to send most customers running away, afraid to choose any company. Why? People are more likely to take to the internet to vent their anger than they are to laud excellent service—delighted customers are busy enjoying their new windows. A full 80 percent of reviewers at ConsumerAffairs give Renewal by Andersen 5 out of 5 stars, while 9 percent rate the company as 1 star. Those who were pleased with their experience cite the pleasant nature of the consultants and the installers, the outstanding quality of the products, and the customer service attention to problems, while negative reviews focus on cost, wait time for manufacture, and individual installers or the occasional hard-sell representative. The Better Business Bureau rates Renewal by Andersen as an A+ company, at least partially because of the company’s attentiveness to complaints and its focus on resolving the (many) complaints on the BBB’s website.

For Pella, 86 percent of the company’s ConsumerAffairs reviewers give the company 1 star, with only 7 percent rating the company 5 stars—though it’s worth noting that Pella has only 43 reviews, while Renewal by Andersen has 400-plus. Pella’s BBB rating is 1.26 out of 5, but the company is not accredited by the BBB, so that ranking is based entirely on customer reviews—which are mixed, as they are on ConsumerAffairs, but again there are only about 50 to consider. Positive reviews focus on the beauty of the windows and the excellent options for customization, while negative reviews focus almost exclusively on poor installation.

Verdict: Both companies have mixed reviews online. However, Renewal by Andersen has a higher rating on ConsumerAffairs and fewer complaints in the last 12 months on the Better Business Bureau site than Pella, so Renewal by Andersen has a slight advantage over Pella when it comes to customer reviews. 

Winner: Renewal by Andersen

Verdict: Homeowners looking for window replacement will appreciate Renewal by Andersen’s high-quality materials, generous warranty, and commitment to sustainability. Pella is another great choice that offers relatively low prices on its products. 

Both of these companies offer a great range of products, opportunities to customize and make the windows truly fit the vision of the homeowner, and strong warranties. They’re committed to sustainability and reducing energy use and cost. Renewal by Andersen offers a slight edge with its strong, durable, sustainable construction using the Fibrex composite and its generous transferable warranty. Pella is an excellent option for homeowners seeking a specific material (especially those who require wood construction) and more options in terms of hardware and accessories, but the company is hampered slightly by its nontransferable warranty. Pella’s comparably lower cost, however, may make the company a better choice for customers who see cost as the bottom line.

Overall, Renewal by Andersen is the better choice for most homeowners, but Pella is a great option as well.

FAQs

Windows seem like a straightforward purchase, right up until customers start browsing all of the different shapes, styles, materials, and options and suddenly the choices and information can seem like they’re too much. Here are some of the answers that first-time window shoppers may be seeking.

Q. How long do vinyl windows last?

In general, customers can expect vinyl windows to last between 20 and 40 years. Extreme climates and direct, harsh sunlight can affect the lifespan considerably.

Q. How long do Pella windows last? 

The answer to this question depends on the material from which the windows are made, the degree of maintenance the owner completes, the climate, the installation, and, interestingly, how much the owners use them. Regularly opening and closing windows can shorten their lifespan considerably. Pella’s warranty protects the windows and their components for 10 to 20 years, and some for a lifetime, so the company is confident in the longevity of its products.

Q. What is the difference between Andersen and Renewal by Andersen?

Renewal by Andersen is a subsidiary of Andersen Windows and Doors that focuses specifically on making and installing the best replacement windows and doors in the industry. Andersen Windows and Doors offers DIY products, new-construction windows, some replacement windows in various materials, and commercial products, while Renewal by Andersen is limited to replacement products.

Q. How long do Andersen Fibrex windows last?

The composite nature of Fibrex windows, including 40 percent reclaimed wood fiber mixed with additional wood and polymers, means they can be expected to last 40 or more years. The warranty covers the first 20 years, but the company notes that its field-test sample windows are still going strong well past the 20-year mark in the harsh climate of Minnesota.

Q. Which is more expensive: Andersen or Pella?

In general, Pella’s costs are slightly lower than those of Renewal by Andersen, but the total cost depends largely on the size and style of the windows and the additional elements selected by the customer.

Q. Why is Renewal by Andersen so much more expensive?

Renewal by Andersen manufactures windows that are fully custom to fit all of the quirks and uneven framework that provide challenges to installation of standard windows. The company’s exclusive focus on replacement windows allows it to really see and address the installation and fit problems of placing new windows into old houses, and it removes the challenges with custom manufacturing specific to measurements. The installers are trained specifically on installing replacement windows, not new-construction windows, and the Fibrex material promises a lifespan that is longer than the time that most people remain in one house (and if the owners move, the warranty stays with the windows). The cost covers the quality of the construction, the installation, and the purchase of a product that is exclusively intended for the purpose of replacing windows.

Sources: Window World, Pella, Magnolia Home Remodeling Group