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Andersen Windows Factory Tour

I’m writing this post from the Minneapolis St Paul Airport after having spent three days in Bayport Minnesota at the Andersen manufacturing facility. I just started using their 100 Series Windows in a few homes and also recently installed some Andersen 400 series doors so I was excited to see how they were made. I had hoped to take some video on the factory floor but the Andersen people were very serious about no filming inside their doors. Overall their facility is very impressive. The old saying “You get what you pay for” definitely applies to Andersen windows & doors and my visit confirmed their value. They started building windows there in Bayport in the early 1900’s and they definitely build one of the best windows available in the US. I was most impressed by how they clad their 400 series windows on the outside with a continuous vinyl barrier with no seams. They call it Permashield and it’s been around since the 60’s but it’s still one of the best systems on the market today. If you’re looking for a traditional wood window that 400 series can’t be beat.
That being said I’ve really liked see how their new 100 series windows are made. That 100 Series is a great combination of performance & value pricing. It’s constructed from a composite material called Fibrex that’s 40% wood and 60% vinyl. I’d liken it to a cross between a fiberglass boat and Trex composite decking. Very impressive material and even cooler to see how it’s made. The 40% wood in the fibrex is all wood fiber waste from their window products mixed with virgin vinyl. It’s extruded in a big machine that looks like a pasta maker and its super strong. Andersen has been using Fibrex in their door sills for 15 years and it’s totally impervious to the elements. I’ll do a video review of the 100 series windows soon.
One statistic that stuck with me from the tour was that they only landfilled 1.5% of the raw materials that came into the factory. They did a really good job of recycling raw materials into other products used later in the manufacturing process. For instance, wood off cuts from windows is either going into making fibrex or burned in their boiler system for power. I’m not super keen on vinyl but they did seem to recycle every bit of the vinyl offcuts to be remelted and used in nailing flanges or other vinyl parts.
Lastly I want to comment that my opinion of Andersen door went way up with this tour. It’s premium priced but has some great performance features. The doors are made with LVL (think plywood) cores wrapped with vinyl exteriors and their weatherstip process was killer.
Their produts are well made, they have a great warranty, and I’ve found my local Mirror Gallery Austin to be a great Andersen dealer. Here’s their contact info if you’re looking for Andersen windows/doors in Austin, TX 281 893-6922
-Matt Risinger