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Quick Overview

Overall, National Vinyl's pricing is significantly more competitive than Andersen's. Vinyl is often up to 3 times less expensive than Andersen's Fibrex (a vinyl and sawdust composite) windows. National provides comparable performace and unmatched customization options at a lower price.

When National is better: Price-wise, National Vinyl is undisputably more cost-effective in virtually all comparisons accross product lines. 

When Andersen is better: National Vinyl is the overall winner in this category. However, if you're purchasing windows far outside of New England, transport could reduce the cost-savings from Nationaly Vinyl.

National home remodeling and sales data show that window replacement return on investment ranges from about 80% for cost-effective Vinyl window lines like National Vinyl and about 70% for more expensive window (Andersen 400 Series and higher plus Renewal). For example, if you spend $10,000 on new windows, the potential sale price of your home in the first 10 years will be $7,000 to $8,000 higher.

When National Vinyl is better: In almost all cases, your return on investment will be higher due to a lower price-point for the same/better performance and longevity.
When Andersen Corporation is better: If you're outside of New England or if you're installing wood (not composite) on a heritage home.

When National Vinyl is better: An extensive distributor network combined with the ability to turn around custom products in as little as 7 days, National Vinyl is among the most efficient options for projects throughout New England.
When Andersen is better: Andersen boasts an extensive contrywide manufacturing and distribution network. However, with average lead times seeming to be around 4-8 weeks, unless you're well outside of New England or have a need for a specific Andersen product offering, National is your best bet.
When National Vinyl is better: With a limited lifetime, fully transferable warranty on a majority of its product offering, National Vinyl's warranty is hard to beat.
When Andersen Corporation is better: From the standpoint of warranty, National Vinyl offers superior coverage. Different contractors offer differeing labor warranties so a homeowner should take this into consideration.

Industry Comparison

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Value/Return on Investment (Score: 97/100)
Warranty Options (Score: 99/100)
Turnaround Speed (Score: 93/100)
Affordability (Score: 92/100)
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Value/Return on Investment (Score: 81/100)
Warranty Options (Score: 65/100)
Turnaround Speed (Score: 74/100)
Affordability (Score: 56/100)

Window Materials

Vinyl vs Fibrex

National Vinyl

Vinyl
National Vinyl builds windows out of high-quality extruded polyvinyl chloride (PVC). More than half derived from common salt, vinyl is one of the most energy efficient materials to make. Its renewability makes vinyl a smart, green choice. Vinyl replacement windows never need painting or sealing. The industry has a saying for this: vinyl is final.

  • Composition: 100-percent PVC
  • Insulating Properties: 0.15 rating
  • Heat Distortion Point: 163 F
  • Thermal Expansion Rate: 4.0
National Vinyl
Andersen Corporation

Andersen Corporation

Fibrex
Fibrex is Andersen's patented PVC-wood composite material that it uses for a majority of its windows as a structural member. By weight, Fibrex is composed of 40-percent recycled Ponderosa pine wood fibers and 60-percent polyvinylchloride. Fibrex was initially developed to lower Andersen's costs by reusing sawdust obtained from the production of its wood windows.

  • Composition: 40-percent recycled wood fibers, 60-percent PVC 
  • Insulating Properties: 0.15 rating   
  • Heat Distortion Point: 173 F    
  • Thermal Expansion Rate: 1.6

Performance Comparison

Andersen says that "Fibrex material has superior thermal insulating properties" in comparison to aluminum window frames, which "conduct heat and cold." Independently, both statements are true. Aluminum against Fibrex may not be a valuable comparison, though, since window shoppers considering Fibrex are usually looking at vinyl or even fiberglass windows, not aluminum. 

 

More importantly, at a thermal conductivity rating of over 0.60, aluminum is a highly thermally conductive material (compared to Fibrex, which has a rating of about 0.15). A more accurate comparison to Fibrex is vinyl. Internal sell sheets provided to Andersen salespeople even state that Fibrex's "insulating properties can be put on par with pine or vinyl."

One problem with vinyl windows, especially darker color vinyl, is sagging, bowing, and other deflection when subjected to high heat. Andersen states that Fibrex stands up better against heat distortion than vinyl. Fibrex's heat distortion threshold is 173 F, compared to vinyl's threshold of 163 F. So, even though Fibrex's threshold is 10 degrees higher than that of vinyl, both materials remain below the distortion starting point of 180 F.
Because pine has a low thermal expansion rate, these wood fibers help to control Fibrex's overall expansion rate. As such, vinyl expands at more than twice the rate (4.0) compared to Fibrex's rate (1.6).
Andersen's claim that Fibrex is twice as strong as vinyl is true, but only in terms of compressive strength. The benefit is not so much that you get a stronger window but that the window frame is slimmer, resulting in more glazing. More glazing brings more light into your home.

Warranty Options

(Winner: National Vinyl)

National Vinyl

National Vinyl Warranty Coverage
National Vinyl provides one of the strongest warranties in the industry. With a lifetime limited warranty on vinyl, all movable parts as well as glass against seal failure, you can be confident with your National Vinyl LLC window purchase. In addition, the lifetime warranty is fully transferable.
  • Glass: Lifetime
  • Operable Parts: Lifetime
National Vinyl
Andersen Corporation

Andersen Corporation

Andersen Corporation Warranty Coverage
Andersen Windows are covered by their exclusive Owner-to-Owner limited warranty. Most other window warranties end when a home is sold, but Andersen coverages 20 years on glass and 10 years on non-glass parts is completely transferable from each owner to the next.
  • Glass: 20 years
  • Operable Parts: 10 years

Available Window Types

(Winner: Tied)

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Color Options

(Winner: National Vinyl)

National Vinyl

National Vinyl offers 22 standard colors, and a color creation service providing unlimted custom color options for their Destiny, Northwind, and EnduraView lines.

Andersen Corporation

Andersen Corporation provides 6-7 standard colors. Additionally, in there premium E-series (Wood Interior-aluminum exterior) you can get up to 50 exterior colors and some custom options as well.

NFRC Ratings

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0/100 ≥
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0/100 ≥
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About the Companies

National Vinyl LLC was founded by Ben Surner and Stephen Fellers with the simple premise to make the best windows at a fair price and provide the best value and service in the industry.

Andersen Corporation is an international window and door manufacturing enterprise employing approximately 12,000 people at more than 30 manufacturing, logistic centers and company owned retail locations. Andersen is a private company with its headquarters in Bayport, Minnesota

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