Pella window models are prone to wood rot. According to Star Tribune, many of these customers were told that the problem was their fault when they contacted Pella customer service representatives. Pella allegedly refused to honor warranties or give free replacements, claiming that it was the homeowner who was at fault.
This was the case with Mary Kaden, who started to notice what she thought was regular wear-and-tear four years ago with her ProLine windows. She suspected a real issue this summer, when she opened one of the windows and a chunk of rotted sash fell out. Upon seeing the severely deteriorated state of the wood, Kaden contacted Pella Corporation. She tells Star Tribune that she “got a lot of push back,” when she asked for a free replacement of the worse window. Pella would not honor the 10-year warranty for her 13-year old windows. In speaking with the representatives, Kaden says she was made to feel at fault. “I felt like the worse homeowner. Like I did something wrong,” she said.
At the time, Kaden did not realize that many other customers had the same experience. When speaking with Pella representatives, they were told that the problem had to do with them and not in the windows themselves. In fact, in 2006 a lawsuit was filed in Illinois alleging that certain Pella windows “contain a latent defect that allows water to penetrate and leak behind the aluminum cladding, resulting in premature wood rot.” A tentative settlement was reached in June; it will compensate customers, even if their warranty is expired. The settlement may affect up to 5 million Pella windows.
Kaden, whose husband found the suit online, said she felt vindicated after learning about the class action suit and the settlement.
According to Parker Waichman LLP, a national personal injury law firm, the defect may not be limited to the ProLine Series. A number of homeowners have reported that the Pella Architect Series has the same issue. Pella promised its customers that the Architect Series would be able to withstand the most extreme weather conditions, in addition to intruders and noise. As with the ProLine however, homeowners are finding that the windows let water in, causing the wood to rot. The problem is made worse by the aluminum cladding, which covers the rotting until it reaches advanced stages. In the end, customer may have to end up replaced the entire window and frame.