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The Cure For Rotting Pella Windows

The Case History series explores innovative solutions to window and door problems.

The Problem:
On one of the first days of spring, Suzie Diaz opened her Pella replacement window to let in the breeze. She was shocked by what she saw inside the window.

“The ledge was filthy,” she said. “When I looked, I nearly passed out.”

The wood in the Pella windows was crumbling with rot. It was so bad the Diazes were afraid the windows were going to fall apart. And these windows were only seven years old.

What Went Wrong:

Unfortunately for the Diazes, the Pella window had a serious defect. The windows had wood frames covered with aluminum cladding, supposedly to protect the wood from the weather.

But the aluminum cladding could be faulty. When it rained, water ran down the glass and seeped under the aluminum. The moisture soaked into window and rotted the wood. But since it was beneath the aluminum cladding, the Diazes didn’t notice until it was too late to stop it.

Pella had already discovered this problem. What did they do? They stopped manufacturing that window. Because they no longer made the window, they no longer upheld the warranty that covered it. The Diazes were out of luck. They wrote and called Pella again and again with no satisfactory response.

The Solution:
I came out and we looked at the windows with the wood rot, a series of casements in the family room. The room had the same windows on three walls. Only the windows in the back of the room had failed, and the Diazes were hesitant to get new windows because they would clash with the other eight Pella windows.

There was no question that the Diazes needed to replace these windows. But the new windows would look different. So we suggested they make a dramatic difference and go with a bow replacement window. It would stand out from the house—but in a good way. Plus it had a beautiful window seat to showcase their backyard.

The Diazes loved the solution. They loved that their new replacement windows are 100% resistant to rot, too. And they felt confident in the Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee I give to every customer. I believe a business has to stand behind its products, no matter what.

Pella is currently entangled in a class action lawsuit over the windows the Diazes had. If you have Pella aluminum-clad windows that rotted, you may be able to receive compensation. Visit: Information for Pella Windows Class Action Suit.

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Gerry Rogers About Gerry Rogers

Gerry Rogers is the President of Mr. Rogers Windows


  1. Reed Carpenter says:

    1991 Family Room Addition…Pella Designer Series…casement & fixed windows…wood sill and wood sash bottom rail totally rotted out…wood components do not appear to have been treated for rot…defective design of sash glazing…as an Architect I thought Pella was a superior product which should last a life time…I was very wrong…I recently started to repair what appeared to be surface rot…what I discovered is an horrendous problem…I will be contacting the local Gunton/Pella architectural sales representative tomorrow morning…my 1927 home has wood double hung which are in great shape and I expect they will last at least another 88 years…

  2. Have a pella pro line slider totally rotted both bottom doors installed mid_90s pella doesn’t stand behind their products. Overpriced junk

    • It is a very unfortunate situation. I appreciate your frustration as we have replaced many of these clad windows over the years. This kind of situation is what drove me to create the Lifetime Performance Guarantee at my company. I just don’t think it’s right to look the other way when customers count on me to stand behind my products and my workmanship. As you have learned, not all companies do that.
      Best, Gerry

  3. i have been following issues with windows for 3 years since my house needs replacement windows. all of the major companies get the same complaints- wood rot leakage condensation etc etc. there is a time line to all of this- all of the defective windows seem to have been manufactured between early 1990 s and about 2007. all of these problems are related to the use of substandard materials and poor quality control. this is consistent with the majority of manufacturing in america during that same time period. poor quality control and terrible materials a theme in major american manufacturing that seems to be getting corrected now. what do you think is going to happen to low quality wood left out to the elements–it rots!!! i have been shopping around for windows everywhere major retail stores and smaller local companies. one day i stopped at the local pella store not a planned trip at all it was right next to a store i was going to. going in i was very skeptical of course. but when i examined their windows ( played with them, picked them up, examined the glass looked at the seals the cladding) i was pretty impressed and surprised. i did not even plan to even consider pella b/c of the above. but their windows seemed very well put together, very beefy, and solid. i was thinking this was a bait and switch bc the windows were high quality. invited the pella rep out to take a look. had a bunch of very old windows in. pre WW2. and some pella windows in installed around 1992. the old pella s were in ok shape some sashes did have rot but clearly the quality of the wood was terrible. the pella dealer used a sub contractor who i could tell was first rate. they measured and the windows had to be custom made (8 week) turnover with shipping and painting (kind of long?). when the windows came in i wanted to inspect them before they were installed (part of the deal) the windows were totally solid and seemed of very high quality i could barely lift one up myself (of the same quality as the ones in the pella store). and a set of 2 it took 2 guys to lift but very heavy. these windows seemed very different than the pella s i saw at a major chain store. very different, i actually went back to the retail store to see a similar pella window and it was very different i asked the store person about it and he had no comment and did not know what i was talking about. the guys who did the install were excellent. totally knew what they were doing and took their time. the install is the key you need first rate installers to have a successful window- half the problems out there are from a crappy install; its just as important as the window itself. first round of windows in and they are fantastic- huge difference in efficiency. they look great and match the home well which was built in 1928. the color selection for their cladding and inside painting and staining is unmatched. customer service has been great. 2 years in and no problems hope it stays that way. the screens are so so but do the job. the windows function very well tight fit, seals and cladding seem great no leaks; in the last 6 months we have had some fierce weather and the windows performed as expected. it is very sad to hear the above horror stories but there are some very satisfied customers too, it seems to me that not all windows are created equal that the custom made windows are of a differnet quality than the ones you buy at a retail stores or the ones builders install. anyone who reads this feel free to email me w qustions

  4. Larry Thompson says:

    HA,HA,HA,HA – LMAO!!! You idiots they all are wood windows. It doesn’t matter who the company is they all have this problem. Look it up… the proof is out there. Moisture and wood equals trouble over time! Sure they could come out with some super wood treatment that would prevent water damage and insect damage but then you would all be on here claiming they gave you cancer! LMAO!!!

  5. I have 15 Pella aluminun-clad casement windows. 13 were installed about 10 years ago, the othe 2 were installed about 4 years ago. Have already had two panes replaced and others are showing signs of rot. I called Freed & Weiss this AM and got their answering machine. I also noted that OHIO was NOT in the list of States that are a part of the Class-action law suit. Guess I’m probably TOL. dick

  6. Theresa Thompson says:

    I so understand this situation. A neighbor of mine had the same problem. They went back and forth with Pella. They even considered hiring an attorney. But in the end, it would have cost lots more than replacing the rotted windows. You’d think an expensive window like Pella would own up to the defective product and make it good. I like to think stuff like this never happens, but it does.

  7. L Zaremba says:

    Our home was built in 1993 and we chose Pella thinking we were getting a superior product. Within 5 years we found wood rot and some windows are so bad we are afraid to open them, should the glass fall out. We went to the local dealer and he basically said sorry about your luck. We spent several months dealing with Pella directly, had the windows inspected and they acknowledged that, yes, they were in bad shape and a defective problem. On that note it was left that we could replace them at a slight discount – not good enough. Needless to say, Pella and their clainm to service and bakcing of their product is lip service only.

  8. Please do your homework before you purchase windows from Pella. We would like to be the last family that Pella was able to push their faulty window on. Our family has been homeless because of the water/mold damage since our window purchase. You can see our 2 minute video of the water flowing into our home. Pella can post all the inaccurate comments that they wish about the customer service. Even small children are taught that “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”. If Pella did have any type of customer service, it would be impossible to find the thousands of unhappy customer complaints that are so easy to locate.

  9. I have a house full of Pella Proline Casement Windows. About half of them are rotten.

    I called and wrote Pella, and they basically said tough luck because they were beyond the warranty period.

    We’ll I paid twice the price to get the Pella brand, only to learn that they were worthless. I expected these to be essentially lifetime windows, regardless of the warranty, but instead they were rotten in 10 years.

    I’ve found that Pella management is negotiable, but hides behind a very hard shell. They denied my claim about 6 different times. Only after I told them that I knew of other similar cases where Pella either gave the homeowner free windows or windows at 70% off did we start making some progress.

    They started at 30% off, then 50%, then 70%. I said ok to 70% and in the end they ended up GIVING THEM TO ME.

    It took a year and perhaps 40 phone calls and emails but that was the result.

    To win this game you have to ultimately get the name of a high level manager, and I mean a really high level manager. All of the low level folks are told to deny, deny, deny. You can have the low level person to give you the name of their manager and work up the line persistently this way.

    In the end, it was access to a top level manager in PELLA IOWA (outside of customer service), and my pictures showing the bottom of the sashes rotted completely through that won this for me. If you are not unusually persistent you will fail. Ultimately I had the names and email addresses of possibly 4 top level managers.

    Good luck to all who try. I did my own installation, and with some good help, you can replace one in about 20 minutes)

    If Pella Windows were free I would decline them. They are junk through and through, in my opinion, and the Pella folks will try every trick in the world to make you go away.

  10. Jerry Edwards says:

    We just had a tornado go over our home. We are safe and our home only sustained minor damages. However, the minor damages exposed that all of our Pella architect casement windows are rotted out. We didn’t even notice untill the cladding was blown off of ne window and we started looking at the rest of our windows. Best estimate so far to replace all windows is 48,000 dollars. Also we have 9 french doors made by Pella showing problems as well.

  11. Stay away from Pella – they are a beautifuly product but from our experience with wood rot an inferior product. This many be an anomoly but their lack of interest and support, having admitted to defective goods leaves much to be desired. Your basically on your own to deal with the problem

  12. We have a completely new unit in the bow window style. However, their is no cladding on the underside.
    After reading the various posts, we wonder if their is moisture damage going on there — much as others have described in their postings.
    I heard that Pella still makes this unit and wonder if they have remedied any kind of sealing/moisture protection on the underside of the window.

  13. Ellen LoChiano says:

    Cause for pause–reading these comments. I had a Pella and Andersen rep here today to give me estimates. The Andersen rep slammed Pella. But the Pella rep was much more responsive to my concerns and seemed more “customer friendly”. Probably will go with Pella. Used Champion a year ago and had a terrible experience.

  14. As far as Pella vs. Anderson windows, Anderson wins by a knockout! My previous home was about 20 years old as is my present home. My previous home had Anderson windows installed when the home was built. The windows opened and closed without any problems and had air and water tight seals on them without having any rotting wood issues. I would definetly choose Anderson windows for any replacements.

  15. jane pettit says:

    I have floor to ceiling Pella windows that have one piece of rotting wood at the bottom. Windows are slipping in their frames. I just found that one now has 1/2″ of open space to the outside. These were installed all over the house in 1987. Anyone know if it’s too late?
    I also have Marvins from ’94 that are mush under the vinyl coating and they are saying “sorry,too late.” grrr

  16. Same problem with Designer series casement fixed window

  17. Lisa O'Connell says:

    I have 2 properties with Pella Windows. My investment Prop. has had the windows replaced two weeks ago due to the damage by moisture and I am hoping to have the windows in my own house inspected by Pella but the inspection will be costly and pella is insisting that the Proline is the only line in question… what has the outcome been for others BOTH with Pella as a company and with the lawsuits….I truely love the windows and the blinds and i want them replaced with the same grade with blinds…just no design flaws.

  18. Mat Heating says:

    Reading about these rotting windows alerts me as i have a similar type, I haven’t seen any sign of mold, but a closer examination may determine otherwise.

  19. Mat Heating says:

    This article alerts me, as I have a similar type of window, and haven’t yet seen any signs of molding. Closer examination will determine though.

  20. Cathy Rogers says:

    I have been dealing with leakage, casement rot and stress crackage in my Pella sunroom windows. Granted they were installed 20 years ago, but would anyone lay out that kind of money knowing they’d have to do it again in 20 years?

  21. same problem here — 9 months of fighting with Pella — too long a story to go into, however. I did get a discount in addition to the usual contractor’s discount for the actual windows, but I am out aprx 20,000 in installation, materials, detection costs, not to even mention the disruption. There are problems beyond just the design defect cladding issue, there are also manufacturing errors.

  22. Shawn Fulkerson says:

    I have older Pella windows which have rotted out. They have the clasp which locks the window in place. How far back does the class action go on their windows?

  23. Adrian Bailey says:

    I’ve experienced these same issues with my Pella Architect Series windows and doors installed throughout my home. Please check out this website, detailing the various window and door failures/defects: www dot onlinelitigationdiscovery dot com. Please share your similar stories on my website. Thanks.

  24. Mark Miller says:

    I am surprised to read this as I am on my second home with Pella windows and they have been flawless as far as holding up well, looking good, and keeping out the cold. On my second home i compared Pella, Anderson, and Marvin just to see the differences and found Pella to be the best value.

  25. James harold says:

    Seems as though you don’t have all the facts. Please tell all your customers that Andersen has replaced over thousands of Perma Shieled sashes in DH due to rock, decay and terrible manufacturing processes. I was an Andersen dealer on the Outer Banks of NC. Where have you been???


  26. The link to “Pella Windows Class Action Suit” is broken. Can you give me the correct one. I cna actually see that there may be several law suits going on and am doing prelim research for our situation. Rot, rot, rot!

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