Latest Discussions : Windows & Doors

timothy1966

07:12AM | 03/03/03
Member Since: 03/02/03
3 lifetime posts
I am considering replacing som rotting windows and doors with aluminum-clad windows and doors made by Kolbe&Kolbe. Does anyone have any experience with this product?

Piffin

05:27PM | 03/03/03
Member Since: 11/06/02
1278 lifetime posts
I have not personally used their product but I have heard from fellow professionalls that it is amoung the best.

timothy1966

04:33AM | 03/04/03
Member Since: 03/02/03
3 lifetime posts
Thanks

Fighter

10:40PM | 09/01/03
Member Since: 09/01/03
8 lifetime posts
Timothy1966,
I don't know if you have already made up your mind but I installed new Kolbe & Kolbe aluminum clad windows in my house and it's been the worst nightmare of my life. If you are interested in hearing more go to http://www.leakywindows.com
Fighter

doorguy

11:52AM | 09/24/03
Member Since: 09/23/03
3 lifetime posts
I have heard nothing but good about Kolbe & Kolbe windows. As with any window if they are not installed correct they all will leak. I have a home full of lesser quality windows, and wish I would have went with the upper scale products like a Kolbe & Kolbe.

Fighter

07:56PM | 09/24/03
Member Since: 09/01/03
8 lifetime posts
doorguy,
Most people will assume if a new window or door from an apparently reputable company leaks it is most likely not the manufacturers fault.
We purchased and installed new Kolbe & Kolbe Ultra Clad Series windows and doors about two years ago. Nearly every unit exposed to rain leaked. Most everyone’s first assumption was, and usually is that they were either flashed or installed incorrectly. These unit were installed according to the manufacturers installation specifications. These windows and doors were tested by Kolbe & Kolbe’s team of attorneys, technicians, and construction experts using an isolation procedure eliminating the possibility of water leaks from anywhere other than the window units themselves. When tested they failed (leaked). This test was performed after the Kolbe & Kolbe service technicians spent more than six months performing various unsuccessful field fixes which included among others, drilling holes into the frames and injecting large amounts of silicone into them.
I’m sure I may receive other replies to this message similar to yours where people have not had any problems with their Kolbe products and love them. We loved ours also until it rained. Every building site has it’s own unique situation with various weather and exposure. I have some of the same windows on parts of my home that we have not yet detected leaks because they don’t share the same exposure as the others. This doesn’t mean they wouldn't leak. Kolbe & Kolbe was aware of a leaking problem before I reported the leaks. They had already drafted a field fix memo that instructs their technician how to perform the procedure of drilling and injecting mentioned above. The Kolbe & Kolbe distributor in our area (Northern California Bay Area) who recommended this product to us has been selling Kolbe & Kolbe in our area for years. A manufacturer should stand behind their claims of quality and performance whether their product will be installed in the desert, city, or the mountains. We do occasionally experience moderate to heavy rains but they leaked even in light rains. It has been over two years since these windows were installed and Kolbe & Kolbe has yet to resolve our problem while it appears they are trying to divert the blame elsewhere (even after they have seen the failed tests first hand). As a result of these leaking windows and doors, the construction on our home was halted. We have been unable to finish and move into our new home that was scheduled to be completed over 20 months ago.
The leaks in the windows are only part of the problem. The way Kolbe & Kolbe designed the frame on the Ultra casements uses a flat sill design where the sash sits very snug on this sill. The bottom of the sash is exposed wood. When it rains water stands on this sill and gets trapped under and behind the sash. I can open up the window a day or two after it rains and trapped water will sweep and spill out. The wood on the bottom of the sash is wet. Most of our windows are clad with aluminum yet a few of the custom sizes were finished with their K-Kron. These units showed separation of the joints and the paint began peeling off just a few months into the wet season. I assume it is from the trapped moisture wicking up into the wood. I can't tell if the clad units are separating because they are hidden behind the aluminum.
The Kolbe & Kolbe doors thresholds we have also leak. They call them their waterguard thresholds, designed to insure that water will not enter the building. But during rains water would leak through the threshold and into the house. The Kolbe technician performed leak tests on these as well. All the thresholds tested showed some form of leaking.
Yes, it sounds too bad to be true. Before my purchase I heard that Kolbe & Kolbe made a fine product. I relied on their reputation, distributors advice, and their product literature, but in the end I made the worst decision of my life. Yes, now and then you are going to have someone incorrectly install something and yell "defect". I have lived with this nightmare for two years, and from this experience I probably know more about these products than most homeowners or contractors. I have documented proof from not only my team of experts but from Kolbe & Kolbe's hired team of experts that these products leak. I would imagine this is what most people would consider "defective".
I can appreciate that you have had only positive experiences with the Kolbe products, but the way I see it a company is only as good as it's latest product. I believe the Ultra Clad is their newest and most popular line. When I see posts from someone praising a company who's products have failed me, I feel obligated to set the record straight. If I can help someone make an educated decision and save them from the hell these products have put myself and my family through, then it is well worth my time to post such a message. I may be the first who you have heard of these problems, but I assure you, I am being contacted by others with similar problems and I'm sure there will be many more. If you have further questions or comments, feel free to reply or drop me an email. fighter@leakywindows.com
regards,
Fighter http://www.leakywindows.com

Leslie1011

05:26AM | 02/21/07
Member Since: 02/20/07
3 lifetime posts
My husband and I started construction of our home in Pensacola, Florida in 2002, and moved in July of 2003. We have had ten rotted window sashes and one window where water was entering the house from the seams around our Kolbe & Kolbe aluminum clad windows. The windows were purchased from Coastal Door and Window in Pensacola. Each time they have replaced the sashes. Yesterday I noticed that one of the sashes that was replaced already is rotting again. I called the K & K rep in Mobile, Al and they are coming out to the house again. I now know they are defective and we are just starting our journey and looking for guidance. I have been reading the threads on various sites on the internet and noticed there have been no new postings since late August, 2004. Is anybody out there that can help?

Leslie1011

03:07PM | 03/01/07
Member Since: 02/20/07
3 lifetime posts
The Koble & Koble is replacing all our window sashes on the entire house. Hope this takes care of the problem.

SophieM

11:57AM | 12/12/07
Member Since: 12/11/07
1 lifetime posts
We built our house in 2002. We have had 1/3 of our window frames and sashes rot. We do not have a flashing issue or caulking issue. They have honored the warranty so far but I am looking for answers because we only have 4 years left on the warranty. Help.

Did they willing replace all of your windows? What assusrances did they give you that the windows will not rot again?

dlwisc

07:34AM | 12/29/07
Member Since: 12/28/07
1 lifetime posts
We built our house in Wisconsin in 1996 and had leaking Kolbe & Kolbe casement windows after the first heavy rain with driving winds. We contacted our builder and his supplier, the local lumber yard. The Kolbe & Kolbe rep came out and they proceeded to caulk the windows. The leaking subsided for some time, but has returned on windows facing west.

Over the years we've had condensation on the windows during the winter months and we were told that the house is too tight. We regularly wiped the windows down to remove the condensation and last year I had an energy recovery fresh air ventilator installed to help reduce the humidity in the house. This has reduced most of the window condensation.

It appears that the windows in some cases are leaking air as the the wood frames of the windows have developed mold around the bottom corners and in one case the wood has completely rotted apart. I have been in contact with the lumberyard that supplied the windows, but don't expect any relief from Kolbe & Kolbe at this point since the house is almost 12 years old. Opting for the more expensive clad wood windows, I expected they would last much longer.

Leslie1011

04:11PM | 12/29/07
Member Since: 02/20/07
3 lifetime posts
I apologize for not responding to the post on the 17th. I did not receive an alert like I did on the post today.

To answer the question from the 17th: I didn't ask them to replace all the sashes, it was something they did voluntarily. I called the distributor in Mobile, Al that supplied my windows and he spoke to Kolbe. I lost count on the number of sashes we had replaced because of rot and was fed up. Every time I had to replace a sash I had to have the window painted and I wasn't going to spend another dime on a painter. I did let him know that I had been reading a lot of information about unhappy customers on the internet.

One of the Kolbe workman had told me that Kolbe now uses treated wood under the clading and my original windows were not treated. They also leave a piece of the weather stripping short on each end to allow for air flow.

Oh, but my saga is not over. A lot of the clading on my replaced sashes does not completely cover the corners and I have several small areas of exposed wood. I also have a window frame itself, not a sash, that is leaking water into the house when we have a driven rain. I tried twice to fix that window. Once through a private company and once with Kolbe. I have asked that they take the window out and replace it. The Kolbe distributor out of Mobile, Al is arranging a meeting where the Kolbe people from the plant will come to our home and take a look at our sashes and window. I will follow-up once that meeting takes place.

I have had no problem with condensation on the interior side of my windows, and it does sound like a humidity problem inside the house. We have the opposite problem and our humidity levels are very low. We use a humidifier in my son't room. Our house is tight, too. I think the problem originates with the HVAC system.

Caulking only has a limited life and needs to be reapplied after so many years. It's only a temporary fix. They tried caulking our bad window. It shouldn't leak and caulk is a band-aid only.

I have heard that Anderson windows are very good replacements. They have the same colors as Kolbe.

I am sorry to hear that your warranty expired. I would still try and contact the home office for Kolbe.

I hope that answers everyone's questions. Feel free to contact me at banks1011@cox.net if you have more questions. Leslie

sickofkolbekolbe

10:36AM | 12/31/08
Member Since: 12/30/08
1 lifetime posts
Our home is 10 years old and the sliding Kolbe Kolbe windows are terrible. We have mold and mildew on most. We have been told it is condensation and our house is at 50% or less humidity.

The windows just plain leak and seem to draw moisture from the outside. We have been told all the same bologna and our supplier said he would send a rep. out to view the home. We have asked repeatedly and never have had a rep contact us nor stop by. We started pestering well before the warranty ran out. Who and how did you contact? We have a dead end with our supplier

ArthurFink

05:48AM | 01/31/09
Member Since: 01/30/09
1 lifetime posts
We have Kolbe Kolbe French casement windows. They look beautiful, but are frail, fall apart, and Kolbe Kolbe support is non-existent. We've had a nightmare of broken promises, lame excuses ... everything but a solution.

A Kolbe Kolbe representative even visited our home, on an Island, but did nothing.

I'd avoid this company at all cost!!

kenshalek

01:57PM | 10/15/09
Member Since: 10/14/09
16 lifetime posts
Kolbe&Kolbe are very good units, good quality, warranty...We bid them when customers refuse to spend mega-bucks on Marvin..

Kenny Shalek

Senior Installer / Sales Technician

K & K Window Service

Custom Doors & Windows, Chicago, Lake Geneva, WI, Milwaukee, WI

http://kandkwindowservice.com

kenshalek

02:05PM | 10/15/09
Member Since: 10/14/09
16 lifetime posts
Hello, if your Outside temp is 20-40% your inside humidity should not be above 30%..windows do not cause condensation, they are only a meter. Glass is the coldest surface on your wall and therefore will attract any moisture.. lower humidity, install an air exchanger on your furnace.

Kenny Shalek

Senior Installer / Sales Technician

K & K Window Service

Custom Doors & Windows, Chicago, Lake Geneva, WI, Milwaukee, WI

http://kandkwindowservice.com

j0hnkn0x

10:03AM | 11/19/09
Member Since: 11/18/09
2 lifetime posts
This year I moved into a new condo in a new building. The windows in my unit are Kolbe & Kolbe. I have never been able to open one of the windows, which is jammed shut. The problem seems to be three or four metal strips that are coiled up and lodged in one of the window tracks on the side of the window.

I wonder about the nature of the metal strips coiled up in the window track, especially since I am the first occupant of the unit and have never opened the window. Could the coiled up metal strips represent some kind of breakage that occurred during installation? Or do they function to protect the window during shipping and simply need to be removed from the window track?

The realtors who sold me the condo have not been helpful at all in this matter. Does anyone have any idea what these metal strips are doing coiled up in the window track? Many thanks if you can help!

jlbenda

07:16AM | 09/08/10
Member Since: 09/07/10
1 lifetime posts
I noticed your post, after searching for other people's experience with these windows. Is there a class-action suit with this company?

jlbenda

cadalot

02:05PM | 05/24/12
Member Since: 05/24/12
1 lifetime posts
Like Leslie who also posted problems with Kolbe & Kolbe, we live in the Pensacola area. We had four Kolbe ultra push-out clad casements and one Circle head window with impact glass installed in February 2011. We immediately had problems--we could not lock one window, and two others were cutting a gash in the exterior aluminum sill when the windows were opened and closed. The "adjustment" by the Kolbe technician was to drill new holes in the frames so that the sashes could be relocated in the frame. The only explanation ever provided for the problem was that the impact glass was so heavy it probably dragged the windows out of alignment when they were first opened. In October 2011, one of the windows dragged again. Kolbe's solution this time (February 15, 2012) was to cut out the wood around the hinge on the bottom of the sash, and to remove the lower weather stripping on this window (I don't know if the latter was deliberate or an oversight). After this "repair" of a hatchet job, I noticed that the wood on the lower part of that sash was badly cracked and the seams were black--obvious signs of water exposure. I then checked the other windows and noted that while the one on the far right that they had just worked on was the worst, all the casement window show signs of cracking and splitting. I have since carefully monitored (and wiped dry) these windows after ever rain. Whenever we have a wind driven rain, water comes in under the sashes, and the sashes literally sit in water until the water evaporates or I wipe up the water. I can open a window several days after a rain, and water will still be sitting on the sill, and the bottom of the sash will be wet. The words used by Fighter to describe the design flaws of the flat sill are almost identical to those I have used in my complaints to Kolbe. What is truly reprehensible is that Fighter's posting in September 2003 reveals that Kolbe has known about this design defect for 10 years, yet Kolbe continues to manufacture and sell these defective windows, and in a humid, hurricane prone climate like the one in which we live.

Yesterday (May 24, 2012), I received an email from the Kolbe field rep offering to replace the 4 Ultra clad push-out casements with Ultra clad crank-out casements, but they refuse to pay the cost of the installation, and we frankly have no confidence that the crank-outs will be any better since it's still the same wood clad unit. Anyone with advice for where we go from here?

Splitwood

Lorenza

07:04AM | 03/07/13
Member Since: 03/07/13
1 lifetime posts
What is the status of the Class Action Suit vs K & K windows? I have a long history of struggle with the company re failure of the seals on true divided light casements produced in 1990. Nearly ALL of my windows, approx 40 in number have failed. A very expensive resolution is necessary. Please advise

BV000755

11:57AM | 04/16/13
I would never get a true divided light window. Sure, it looks nice and is "authentic" divided light, but your energy efficiency suffers.

BV000855

12:26PM | 04/20/13
I just bought 8 new kolbe windows and had them installed, and am planning to have more done in the future. I have had 2 previously installed a couple of years ago.

Reading this info is disheartening.

I am looking for info on finishing these windows. Where do I look?

BV001261

04:27PM | 06/08/13
BV000855 -- you should go to the Kolbe website and find their care and use guide. All the info you need on finishing them should be in there.

BV001736

02:02PM | 08/02/13
I have 1993 Kolbe Classic double hung windows and my siding is conventional Stucco, light color. I have had staining under the windows which is impossible to clean off the stucco. It shows up on the outter edge as well below the joints of windows that are installed together.

I am tring to find out what causes this? I am currently considering a paint job or re-dashing the house. Any thoughts or advice?

BV001643

07:19PM | 08/08/13
The staining is caused by water the collects in corners of the trim/window and drip down to the stucco. It has nothing to do with the windows it self, just water. Power wash the stucco, but DO NOT power wash the window.

schodge

12:04PM | 08/26/13
Member Since: 08/16/13
2 lifetime posts
I am in the process of investigation a claim against Kolbe for a client. I would be interested in speaking with individuals that have been dealing with Kolbe over their defective windows. Please contact me if you are interested - my email is scruzhodge@litedepalma.com.

skinny

10:36AM | 08/28/13
Member Since: 08/28/13
1 lifetime posts
My experience: Kolbe&Kolbe manufactures very attractive windows from the wood of young, immature trees resulting in a product that has about the same strength as balsa wood. Soft, wet wood rots fast.

The sashes are not painted or sealed, leaving the homeowner at a further disadvantage bc there is no protective barrier against the elements. Soft, wet, unsealed wood rots especially fast.

Ten years (& many rotted sashes plus one $15,000 rotted-window) later, Kolbe&Kolbe explains that ultimately the builder is to blame for not installing the products at a slight angle to allow moisture to run down & off the product. The builder, of course, blames Kolbe&Kolbe and offers to paint the replacement (for a price) b4 installing. Despite the failure rate, the builder continues to represent the company bc of its quality product line.

P.S. I would advise AGAINST power-washing stucco!

schodge

04:32PM | 08/28/13
Member Since: 08/16/13
2 lifetime posts
Hi Skinny. Would you be willing to speak with me regarding Kolbe's response to your complaints?

BV002804

08:44AM | 12/16/13
Rotting sash is usually caused by condensation on the inside surface of the window. Read posts for all different brands and read technical literature and you'll discover this condensation is not the fault of the window construction, but other factors within the home.

Here are just a few:
--Homes are insulated very well nowadays which is a double-edged sword. Air tight homes retain moisture, which ends up causing condensation on windows.
--If you have blinds or curtains pulled, the air in the room won't circulate and condensation -- even ice -- will form. This will happen no matter what brand of windows you have.
--Showering and cooking while not running external exhaust fans can exacerbate the problem.
--Condensation can happen more frequently in bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed, since you exhale water vapor when you breathe.

Andersen Windows has a really great video that helps explain condensation, why it happens, and how to prevent it http://help.andersenwindows.com/system/selfservice.controller?CONFIGURATION=1000&PARTITION_ID=1&TIMEZONE_OFFSET=&CMD=VIEW_ARTICLE&ARTICLE_ID=2586

Here's the take-away from the video:
"Condensation doesn't mean there's a problem with your windows. In fact, the presence of condensation could actually be a sign that your windows have good, tight seals. Everything that makes homes more energy efficient also locks moisture inside your house and increases the chances of condensation forming."

BV006711

01:40PM | 01/09/15
Have installed Kolbe windows in two previous homes and loved their windows and patio doors. Both installs were the aluminum clad outside, wood inside, on patio doors, double hung windows and a casement window. Homes were in Louisiana and windows went through several hurricanes! Would buy Kolbe again.

BV018791

09:15PM | 03/01/19
We replaced the doors and windows in our home and put Kolbe & Kolbe doors and windows in a new island home I. New England and in 10 years we have had a lot of rot, broken seals, hardware that doesn’t work and weather seals that cracked. It’s been 5 months and even though their regional sales rep took the time to visit, he can’t even get the company to respond to his orders for replacements. The company is completely disfunctional.

BV018821

06:04PM | 03/04/19
I work at Kolbe and Kolbe. I've spent time in both of their door shops. I would urge anyone considering using this company's products to reconsider. Since the brothers Kolbe died, concern for building a quality product has declined significantly. When workers bring issues to their bosses attention about defects, the most common answer given is ".. don't worry about it, the customer will never see it". Solid oak or mahogany sills with gigantic cracks in the bottom, pieces of the door that don't fit properly, even scratches, gouges, and dents in the metal; all are passed onto you, the unknowing customer. Many of the workers have been forced to work overtime for years on end. Many workers are beyond bitter about their job and actively sabatoge the product. Management only cares about increasing production and profits. Stay away from this sub-quality company. If you won't believe me, just google "Kolbe and Kolbe issues/lawsuits".


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