When looking for the right window company in Calgary, many homeowners are tempted to go with the supply-only approach for their replacement.
Working directly with a manufacturer or a dealer has its own unique benefits, but there are also specific drawbacks compared to other companies.
– Companies that specialize in manufacturing generally have more choice when it comes to window styles and types.
– If you have a background in construction or repairs or know reliable installers you can save money and headaches about the quality of the window installation.
– You are in charge of your own project timelines and completion.
– Good window installers can be hard to find, and unless you know someone it may have to spend quite a bit of time.
– Service and warranty issues still have to be resolved directly with the manufacturer, which can often result in long delays due to the sheer volume of customers.
– If you are working with a dealer or a re-seller you have to ensure that the actual product matches what you paid for.
– You are in charge of your own project timelines. Many homeowners think they want to be in charge of managing deliveries, labourers and dates to ensure the best possible outcome. Most, however, simply don’t have the time to commit to supervising a replacement project.
Today we’ll take a look at two big manufacturers that work in Canada and Alberta specifically.
BBB: Not accredited
Ply Gem is one of the biggest window companies currently operating on the Canadian market. They are also a fairly recent comer on the scene. Since arriving in Canada, however, Ply Gem has absorbed smaller window companies like Mitten, Gienow Windows, and CWD Windows in Edmonton. As most large manufacturers do, the company works in almost all Canadian provinces. Their country head office is located in Calgary.
Ply Gem manufactures windows and doors for both replacement and new construction projects. The company offers options in vinyl, aluminum-clad vinyl, and aluminum-clad wood options. Like most manufacturers, they also have choices in sliding patio doors, and steel frame entry doors. Ply Gem products can be found in big department stores like Home Depot and Rona. Unlike most manufacturers, Ply Gem also deals with siding and home exteriors. The company website has a useful online visualization tool for modeling your exteriors and windows.
-ENERGY STAR rated.
Ply Gem offers comprehensive warranty information on their website. Their vinyl extrusions are covered for 20 years. The insulated glass units are covered for as long as you own the home. They also offer a 2-year warranty for skilled labour service. You can see the full warranty information here.
When we review window companies, we often end up talking about the online customer feedback associated with the business. But this is made difficult when talking about manufacturers, as they often don’t have Homestars pages or even BBB accreditation. Although Ply Gem is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, there is still information about customer complaints and resolutions with this company. As with most manufacturers, customers felt that it was difficult to get inspections or service in a timely manner. Many customers pointed that the company promised to contact them immediately, only for them to have to call several weeks later. Because Ply Gem only offers a 2 year labour warranty, one customer had issues with the company, because by the time they got a service appointment, the warranty expired, and Ply Gem wasn’t initially willing to honour it.
BBB: Not Accredited
Andersen Windows is part of the larger Andersen Corporation which has several window and door companies under its name. Andersen proudly claims that they are the largest window and door manufacturer in North America. The company has been founded in 1903 and is owned privately.
Andersen specializes in windows for both replacement and new construction projects. They offer a variety of vinyl, aluminum-clad and wood windows. There are more than five “series” of windows from this company that answer to different efficiency requirements. Quite frankly, Andersen has one of the biggest choices on the North American market when it comes to different window build materials. As a result, many customers can find the type of window that best suits their replacement needs and budget. Although in the United States Andersen works with big store retailers, there is only one private dealer in Calgary: J.Damer Windows & Doors.
-ENERGY STAR rated
There is no single warranty for the company. Because they offer such a wide variety of windows, most series or styles have their own specific warranties. The warranty information is pretty clearly outlined on their website, and you can even search by specific window type to see what is covered.
It is even harder to find reviews for Andersen on the Canadian internet, as there are so few suppliers that deal with this company. Once again if you are dealing with a reseller, make sure that the windows you pay for on the contract, are the same ones that you end up with. Shady window companies can sometimes tamper with manufacturer stickers and order a lesser quality product than you paid for.
Both Ply Gem and Andersen are some of the bigger window manufacturers in North America. In terms of availability of the product, Ply Gem has an advantage in our country as they work with more dealers vendors.
Andersen however, wins when it comes to the variety of products they offer.
Although there isn’t specific information about Andersen Window reviews in Canada, as with most dealers (Ply Gem included) be mindful of what happens in the event you need service. Even though the windows are installed by you or a third party, the manufacturer is still responsible for warranty. With bigger companies, this often means long delays before your service problems are addressed.