Whistleblower: Who is to blame for rotted windows?

  • Article by: Jane Friedmann , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 6, 2012 - 4:16 PM

Her casement windows were out of warranty, and company said it wasn't a defect. But she found others with the same problem.

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jimiekOct. 6, 12 4:33 PM

THEY WERE NOT PUT IN WRONG---THEY WERE MADE WRONG. NOT JUST PELLA BUT OTHER MAKERS AS WELL. THESE PEOPLE DO NOT GIVE A RIP ONCE THEY GET YOUR MONEY.

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taftjOct. 6, 12 5:27 PM

lawsuits like this are what's sucking America dry...the product failed AFTER the warranty expired, that's not the manufactures fault. They told you it would last for at least 10 years, and it lasted 13. Quit looking for a handout and buy new windows. What's next, sue Honda when the alternator on a 2005 Accord with 70,000 miles goes out?

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carver325Oct. 6, 12 5:46 PM

We are shopping for new windows. Guess which windows we will avoid?

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jimmyjames76Oct. 6, 12 5:49 PM

A window should never rot out that bad, much less in 13 years. I'm surprised Pella wouldn't instantly replace a window that looks that bad after such a short amount of time, even if it's outside of warranty (assuming it was installed correctly). Too bad companies and retailers rarely stand behind products anymore. It's reasonable to expect a window to start degrading after the warranty (hardware failure, foggy glass, etc), but not completely fall apart the second the warranty ends. I'd be tempted to sue Honda if I was driving down the road and my 70,000 mile car broke in half for no reason.

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hobie2Oct. 6, 12 5:57 PM

It's wood, people. If it is over ten years old and made from wood, it really is mostly homeowner and building code fault...What? BUILDING CODE too? Yes... Why? Wood rots if it gets moisture above a certain level. Keep moisture from the wood, and it is fine.... How? -A few woods like redwood and cedar have natural oils that block moisture, but most woods have to be protected. (Even cedar has to have its surface oils renewed by using oil based paint every 15 or so years).. Moisture migrates from wet to dry. Wood exposed to the weather is protected from moisture by paint and "oil in the wood" to block moisture, and by allowing air to quickly evaporate water near the wood, and by blocking points of water penetration (caulk)... Many paints only cover the wood a few thousandth of an inch thick - those do not renew the oils an 1/8 or so into the wood like do oil based paint and stain. (oil penetrates and blocks water, water penetrates and leaves paths)... The new building codes seal the houses so air does not move through the water collection areas. They vented the attics to stop ice dams from roof hot spots, but seal the window frames where the frost point is inside the walls on the closed wall side of the -cold - glass line. They fixed the mold problems they created in the 80s, but the codes create moisture pockets at the glass line.(A much argued point).. Oil inside wood dries and doesn't block after 10 years - window frames need to have oil renewed by the homeowner... I have 140 year old wood frames on the family home, and they are fine where I used oil paint for 60 years, and have rot on those that were "latex painted" by my sibling (and no, it is not a "side" related problem). All my wood windows are "fed" oil, 50-60 yrs old, and they are fine... Hope it helps

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kkjerOct. 6, 12 5:59 PM

The wood windows in my Mother and Dads house, which are still just fine and were made by my Grandfather, have now lasted 97 years. They have out lasted two generations of my family. If you do good work, wood windows will last for a century or more. Doesn't sound like Pella cares aout good old fashioned quality.

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gutshotOct. 6, 12 6:17 PM

hobie2, those old windows were likely made of nearly rot proof old growth heartwood and maybe even treated with the gold standard preservative Pentachlorophenol -- neither is reasonably available anymore -- and not installed in today's leak (and drying proof) homes. . Ask Pella during a sale how long they should last and see if it answers "maybe 13 years." Modern windows (wood anD clad included), properly treated, installed and maintained should last until they become technologically obsolete--decades not years. BTW: Toyota bought back (at 125% of excellent blue book value) Tacomas with frame rust up to twelve years after warranty expiration.

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amsennyOct. 6, 12 6:19 PM

Thank you for doing this story!! I too have Pella windows and five out of the six are rotting out. They were installed in the late 1990's and are out of warrenty. It is nice to know about this class action lawsuit. Maybe I can have some recourse to collect damages. What happens if we don't want to put Pella replacements in for the rotted windows? There should be a payout if someone wanted to go with a different company. Windows should never rot out after 10 - 15 years if they are made correctly.

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gutshotOct. 6, 12 6:20 PM

Sounds like another bad class action--how much did the class attys get? Pella undoubtedly still makes a profit at 30% off. Companies love settlements like that!!!

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gutshotOct. 6, 12 6:24 PM

Another fine class action result, Pella undoubtedly makes a handsome profit at 30% off. Research what the class attys got paid!! Companies LOVE class actions like that one!!! They get class wide releases and lock in additional sales and profits!!

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