Windsor Windows' Cathy Leonard Talks Superior Craftsmanship and Innovation in Replacement Windows

Written by AnonymousSeptember 7, 2011
Windsor Windows

Unless you operate in new construction or architectural circles, you may not be familiar with Windsor Windows but you should be if you’re considering window replacement. The brand is synonymous with superior craftsmanship combined with innovation. Creating premium, high quality windows and patio doors for half a century, Windsor’s attention to detail is evident on many of the finest homes in the country but their selection has something for every need and budget.

Though they are not sold on the shelves of your local Big Box hardware store, Windsor’s replacement and new construction windows are available through some 250 select dealers across the country. We spoke with Windsor’s Communications Director, Cathy Leonard, about some of the best attributes of the brand and how the company’s commitment to community plays an important role in their products. (This phone interview has been edited for length and clarity).

RWFD:  Windsor Windows works with builders and architects across the country on a variety of projects, many of which feature classic architecture and grace design magazine covers. How does Windsor address the unique needs of traditional aesthetics coupled with the latest innovations?

CL: For the last two decades, we have been producing the Legend series of window which is really a perfect hybrid for classic and innovative. It is a solid extruded vinyl window made of cellular PVC that offers the traditional appearance of wood without the risk of decay. It is especially popular in regions that suffer from rot or termites but enjoy classic architecture, such as the South East. Outside the window performs exceptionally well and is low maintenance, but inside it looks like a traditional wood window giving home owners the best of both worlds.

RWFD: Speaking of the south east, extreme weather can inflict great damage to homes that have windows incapable of withstanding impact and wind. Having worked on many such projects, does Windsor offer a particular line with these homes in mind?

CL: Yes. We offer several options with high DP (Design Pressure) ratings. DP ratings are very important in our industry and they measure a window’s durability for wind and water in extreme conditions. For people living in regions that experience extreme weather, which actually is a large portion of this country considering storms, tornadoes and more, they absolutely need to look for high DP ratings in their windows.

Both our Impact and Legend High Performance lines address these issues. This week we are launching a third line, our Pinnacle Select , which we are extremely proud of and excited to offer. Along with the use of elite hardwoods like Douglas Fir, Natural Alder and Pine, it has heavier components and very impressive performance ratings. The DP range is between 50 and 70 on these windows which is remarkable considering comparable windows typically fall in the 30 to 40 range.

RWFD: Though not as exciting as other choices a window shopper will make, the glass is one of the most important decisions that will dictate to a large degree the energy efficiency of the window. What can customers expect from Windsor’s glass options?

CL:  We produce our own insulated glass line which is unique in the industry as most are outsourced. We call it the Windsor Glazing System.  It features Low-e panes and is one of the most efficient options on the market today. Most every Windsor window contains this glass with only a very few exceptions where we work with a high performance glass producer on select designs. By using our own glass, we know the quality is there to meet our clients’ demands and our own.

All of our windows are energy efficient and I encourage people to visit our Energy Performance Search Tool online to discover the specific ratings of each window we make with their available options added.

RWFD:  Cladding on wood windows is an increasingly popular choice as it offers long term durability with low maintenance. But many window shoppers are often confused by the differences in cladding options. Windsor utilizes extruded cladding. How does this form compare to the common roll-form?

CL: That’s a great question and an important one for customers to understand. There is a significant difference between extruded and roll-form cladding. Many of the large manufacturers utilize roll-form which dings and dents very easily due to its thin nature. Owners notice these issues after weathering occurs, such as hail storms, or where something impacted the window and an unsightly indentation is made.

By using thick extruded cladding, our windows are much stronger and more stable. And because we encase the wood in the cladding, decay is prevented and there is very low maintenance over the life of the window. In the last 10 years, we’ve seen a large and growing percentage of clients choose our cladding options.

Another great thing about cladding is that there are so many exterior finishes to choose from! We have 37 colors and finishes and can even create custom ones if necessary. This means there’s no need to refinish and repaint your windows as you would with traditional wood windows.

RWFD: Windsor takes a very active role in its community and beyond. Last year, Windsor participated in an episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition by donating windows to a family in need and volunteering for the installation project. Can you tell us a little more about this community focus?

CL: Thank you for asking about this. In the last decade, we have focused on community involvement at all levels within the company. We are very active with Habitat for Humanity around our Des Moines, Iowa, headquarters. Next month, we are coordinating an effort for all of our employees to participate in building these homes for people in need in addition to donating our windows for these purposes. But we do things around the country, as well. Following Hurricane Katrina, the Katrina Cottages were built with our Legend series windows which, as we discussed, are rated for high impact and energy efficiency. We certainly take community involvement very seriously here at Windsor and will continue to do so.

RWFD:  Lastly, if a home owner isn’t currently working with a builder or architect but would like to consider Windsor for their replacement window needs, where should they go to start?

CL:  Our customers can start by going to our Dealer Locator on our website and finding the nearest dealer to them. Then they can arrange for measurements, estimates, orders and installation. Our website itself is a great resource that we are really proud of. It’s easy to use and has all of the information right there- whether you are looking for design ideas, energy efficiency ratings or more detailed specifications.

RWFD:  Cathy, thanks for making us a little more savvy about Windsor Windows today. It was a pleasure!

CL:  Thank you!


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