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Kolbe Windows Reviews And Prices

Kolbe Windows Reviews

Explore Kolbe windows reviews from homeowners and industry experts who have experience with the VistaLuxe, Heritage, Ultra, and Forgent window series.

Company Information: Kolbe Windows And Doors is owned by Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Inc. The company is based in Wisconsin and has been in business since 1946. While they are headquartered in Wisconsin, they now own a factory in Phoenix, which should provide them with more quite a bit more distribution in the Western states. They are best known (more or less only known) for their wood windows. They make a high quality product that is very expensive. Kolbe has always been known for their wood and aluminum clad windows. Kolbe has a long reputation for producing quality wood windows and doors.

Marketing: The company sells their windows in a very typical fashion - through a network of local window companies. Kolbe can be found throughout much of the United States through the dealer network. I have never heard of Kolbe in the south eastern region.

What they Sell: While the company has manufactured and listed additional window series in the past, as of today they sell four main models: the VistaLuxe, Heritage, Ultra, and Forgent. The Kolbe Heritage Window is the most popular product in their arsenal and is a decent middle of the road wood window.

Bottom Line: Kolbe makes good aluminum clad wood windows that are expensive, but not the priciest options on the market. If you can get a competitive bid for the Heritage, Ultra, Forgent, or VistaLuxe model, you should be very happy with the aesthetics and performance.

Kolbe Windows gets a 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 21 reviews below.

Dane - Site Editor - Page Updated in October, 2023

Please note, our website is not affiliated with this manufacturer.

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Kolbe Windows vs Andersen

Kolbe And Kolbe Windows Lawsuit


Heritage Or Classic Series

Vistaluxe Series

Forgent Series

Ultra Series

Latitude Series

Kolbe Windows Prices

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Kolbe Windows vs Andersen

Their Products: Kolbe is a traditional window manufacturer based in Wisconsin that specializes in several window frame materials, including aluminum, wood clad and vinyl. Renewal By Andersen, a franchised company owned by the Andersen Corporation, sells a single series: the fibrex composite window.

Marketing Approach: Kolbe uses a more traditional method where they sell their windows through an extensive dealer network across much of the United States. RBA sells direct-to-consumers using robust marketing that includes T.V., magazines, and mailers.

Cost: Kolbe has a wider range of costs due to the fact that they sell vinyl windows (or they used to) and wood-clad series (typically considered the least expensive and most expensive materials, respectively). I’d put their price range at say $700 to $2500 fully installed. Renewal sells just one window series that might be priced out at $1600 to $2500 fully installed.

Dane - Site Editor

Kolbe And Kolbe Windows Lawsuit

In 2017, a handful of homeowners filed suit against Kolbe’s parent company, alleging that the company sold them defective windows. The homeowners said that the windows leaked and then rotted after a 12 year period. The lawsuit was never given a class action title and more or less fell apart because of statute of limitation issues. (This is my summary of what I read, but I’m not a lawyer so take my summation with a few grains of salt.)

The bottom line here is that Kolbe made a batch (or perhaps a handful of batches) of poorly made windows. The fact is this: wood windows can be problematic over time especially without proper maintenance. Perhaps this is true of all windows, but especially with real wood. So buyer beware.

Dane - Site Editor

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Kolbe Windows Complaints

Like any company that manufactures and sells wood-clad series, there are lots of complaints out there. The reason? Wood windows are the nicest looking windows by miles, BUT they have all sorts of downsides to them: cost, energy efficiency, longevity, and they're prone to rot. They require some significant upkeep to keep them looking good and working properly. There is a reason why wood-clad series usually carry a warranty period of 20 to 25 years, while vinyl is warranties to last a lifetime. Nonetheless, if you are willing to provide care and maintenance, wood windows can add immense beauty and sophistication to a home.

Dane - Site Editor

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Kolbe Windows Reviews :: Heritage Series

The Heritage (sometimes referred to as the classic series) is the company’s all wood window. It’s built for homeowners in more historic homes who want to (or are required to) maintain real wood windows. It’s offered in lots of color and grid options.

Dane - Site Editor

Kolbe Windows Reviews

Hi - I'm replacing 23 double hungs, one smallish slider, and two picture windows. Here are my bids and I'd love to get your take on them.

Kolbe Classic Series: $1215 per/window
Sunrise V4500 Series: $770 per/window
(Sunrise Windows Reviews)
Simonton 5500 Series: $670 per/window
Vinylmax Franklin Series: $615 per/window
Simonton 5050 Series: $600 per/window.

Jamie - Homeowner - from 2023

[Site Editor's Answer]

Jamie, I love Kolbe, but that's a premium price to pay - I think if you're planning to stay in the hoe long term, then you could consider this option. Value-wise, the best of the bunch is the Sunrise option. The runner up in my opinion is the Simonton 5500. (Read all of our Simonton 5500 Series Reviews)

Dane - Site Editor - from 2023

Kolbe Classic vs Jeld Wen Siteline EX

For a remodeling project, I needed a wood clad double hung. We've been looking mainly at the Kolbe Ultra & Classic, as well as the Jeld Wen Siteline EX. The Siteline, I learned, advertises that it is extruded aluminum, however it's rolled on aluminum. The Kolbe Ultras are real extruded aluminum, so they shouldn't have the problems rolled on can. Kolbe Classic is rolled, and it seems real similar to the Siteline. They are priced pretty much the same, although the Ultras are a bit more ($2K for the entire project). I'm not sure if it's worth the extra money for the Ultras? If not, which of the others should I get?

Helen - Homeowner - from 2011

[Contractor Response]

Definitely go with the Ultra. Rolled aluminum isn't nearly as good, and I don't like Jeld Wens of any type. The Kolbe Ultra is a great window, it's well made and will last a long time. Jeld Wen bought 3 low-quality window companies to get their start, and they haven't improved on the quality at all. I've never seen a house with Jeld Wens that didn't have a ton of issues. If they're the best you could afford, it wouldn't destroy your house or anything, but you probably would always wish you'd picked different ones.

Miller - Contractor - from 2011

[2nd Response]

If you've narrowed it down to those, I wouldn't even consider it a comparison. The best Jeld Wen can't compare with the cheapest Kolbe. Either Kolbe would probably be fine, but the Ultra is a little nicer - I don't like rolled on aluminum much.

Wayne Installer - from 2011

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Kolbe Windows Reviews :: Vistaluxe Series

The VistaLuxe comes in two options; an all aluminum, or a wood interior with an aluminum exterior cladding. The series has a nice modern, clean look to it - very stylish.

Dane - Site Editor

Kolbe & Kolbe Vistaluxe vs. Marvin Ultimate

Dane, I have a large, high-end home in Cherry Hills Village, CO. I am looking into replacing my double-pane, original wood windows with new, wood windows (and some doors) that have either extruded aluminum cladding, or possibly composite external cladding. Colorado’s climate with high sun-exposure constantly destroys the paint on my windows, requiring a lot of upkeep.

I have been researching Renewal by Andersen, Pella, Kolbe & Kolbe, Semco and a variety of others in person, in home, or online, and many of these windows/doors look great, but it seems there is always some notable online negative reviews that are making it very hard for me to decide on a brand (let alone a competent installer).

Do you have recommendations for brand of window, among those I have listed, or any other brand that I should explore?

James - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Hi James, in terms of high end wood windows, I would give the nod to the Marvin Ultimate, Andersen 400 Woodwright, Pella Designer, Kolbe and Kolbe VistaLuxe, and Loewen Standard wood window. I have heard good things about Semco, but I don't know enough to say one way or another. These are the top wood windows in my book, but there are others out there that are well made, but VERY expensive.

Wood window manufacturers always have negative reviews because wood windows tend to break down over time. (There is a reason they offer 20 year warranties instead of lifetime for vinyl.) They are expensive, require upkeep and they just don't have the energy efficiency numbers to match vinyl. However, in a beauty contest, wood windows win by a country mile. If you are set on wood—choose a good brand, have a professional installer doing the work and don't worry about negative reviews.

One suggestion I always make is to take a look at a high end vinyl window with an interior laminate to see if the interior fools your eye. The Sunrise Restorations may be available in your area. It's a fantastic window (it will blow the doors off of the Renewal composite and will be 30 to 40% less) -- and is available in a faux wood. Also take a look at the Zen Lotus Plus (Soft-Lite Imperial LS that you should be able to order in a faux wood interior).

Dane - Website Editor - from 2018

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Kolbe Windows Reviews :: Forgent Series

The Forgent is a hybrid of fiberglass and vinyl that the company calls Glastra (a proprietary name). Similar to the VistaLuxe, the Forgent comes in either a full Glastra or an exterior Glastra with a real wood interior.

Dane - Site Editor

Kolbe Forgent Windows

Hi Dane, I was wondering if you could email me your list of great replacement windows. Also what do you thinknof the Kolbe Forgent windows?

Lada - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Lada, I have heard of the Forgent series, but I have no real experience or opinion on the window since I’ve never actually seen of touch it. I tend to dissuade most consumers out of real wood interiors unless they are committed to the upkeep of the material over time. I tend to recommend looking at a high end vinyl window with a wood laminate interior — or I recommend at least taking a look at some of the websites like okna.com at the 800 series so you can see what they look like.

Having said that, I do think Kolbe makes a good window. They are a quality outfit, but they are often out of the price range for many consumers.

Here are my good and great window recommendations…

Recommended Windows List
[Email dane@replacementwindowsreviews.co for his recommendations]

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

[Lada's Reply]

Hi Dane, thank you for replying so quickly! The Kolbe Forgent does not have wood in it (it is the only one that does not). It is a bit pricier than some vinyl windows but given the windows I am trying to replace (high sun exposure because of western Texas exposure and no cover and strong winds and cold since we have a large rectangular green space that funnels the win on them, and I work from home with high heat emitting computers) I really want to get a great window, not an ok one. Plus many contractors are so booked they are not even taking new clients -- they are still clearing out their jobs from the snowpocalypse 2 years ago ...

And the quotes we got are insane -- Andersen Renewal is at 8500 for one 72x46 and one 72x60 window, Pella 250 series is at 4500 (which is better but still) and I am meeting over the next few days with a few more people. This is btw for SLIDER windows. and they have lead times of 6 months. I'd not recommend anyone try to do anything in Austin right now unless they have a ton of money or they have to. Sadly one of these windows is so badly installed, it warps, and constantly separates from the caulking. It will leak water in the walls soon, so I have to. But I'd definitely put the quotes for you to see and comment on once I can get them...Gah!

BTW, do you have a similar list for fiberglass/composite windows? Are fiberglass/composite worth in it this high wind/high temp? What is more important for me -- low air infiltration or low solar gain coefficient or how do i find the balance? What are good condensation resistance values and how much do i care about that compared to air infiltration and solar gain?

Thank you so much for your time and help!

Lada - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Lada, My list of great fiberglass windows includes the Marvin Essentials, Marvin Elevate, Marvin Infinity, Inline Windows, and the Milgard Ultra Series.

Fiberglass windows are worth it if you can afford it -- but the very best vinyl windows usually deliver the best energy efficiency numbers -- the Okna 800Dx for example is going to blow the Kolbe Forgent out of the water with an air infiltration of 0.01. Low AI is important -- SHGC is more a function of where you live, so in hot places like Austin you might a lower SHGC -- but this can be achieved with the glass package selected. A condensation resistance above 50 is solid, but it's a bigger concern in cold climates for the most part.

For the most part, focus on getting a really good brand and series and the numbers will take care of themselves -- if it were me and I was in Austin, I would try and get the Okna 800DX series or the Sunrise Restorations series or the NT Presidential series or the Zen Soft-Lite Pro series (they called it the Lotus -- sometimes they sell the Imperial LS as the Lotus Plus and this is even better.)

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

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Kolbe Windows Reviews :: Ultra Series

Similar to VistaLuxe, the Ultra has an interior wood with an aluminum exterior. Looks wise, it is much more traditional looking and has lots of color options available. The Ultra is available in a non impact and as an impact series.

Dane - Site Editor

Kolbe Windows Reviews

Looking at either vinyls from Provia, Mezzo , American Craftsman or a Kolbe aluminum clad. Prefer mid level quality, don't need Marvin's but will have a stroke if I have issues even with vinyl. I have pretty large windows, most are 35x72. Fiberglass vs Vinyl Windows

How much better is composite vs fiberglass windows? Any negatives or cons on fiberglass?

Please email your good and great list. Thanks so much! And let me know which you like better, mezzo, provia, american or kolbe and why! Alside Mezzo Windows Reviews

Jeff - Homeowner - from 2023

[Site Editor's Answer]

Jeffrey, the ProVia Endure is better than the Alside Mezzo by quite a bit in my opinion. I don't deal with Kolbe all that much, but I know they make a good window, but they tend to be quite pricey. In general, that would be the con on fiberglass, that it is expensive. But the same thing could be said about composites so what are you going to do, right? I would probably go with the Endure over anything Kolbe makes in general, but part of that equation is that I feel confident in that Endure. Happy to send over my list!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2023

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Kolbe Windows Reviews :: Latitude Series

The Latitude series is (or was) a vinyl window series. It's unclear whether this model is still made by the company. It's not listed on their website, but this doesn't mean they don't still manufacture and sell the window through certain dealers. Even writing that sentence seems strange - only in the window business would a company make a product, but not advertise that they make it. Weird.

Dane - Site Editor

Kolbe Windows vs Sunrise

I have 38 year old single pane Weather Shield double hung windows in my home (1978 Ranch). A couple have been replaced with SIMCO sash kits prior to us buying the home. One of those is already showing air leakage problems (condensation on the glass in winter). We've settled on insert replacements since a full siding replacement is not an option for us at this time. My sons bedroom window is leaking air and condensating so bad that the wood sash started to mold at the end of last winter. Originally we wanted Andersen 400s but cant afford the 720 window price tag per window (uninstalled). The comparable Kolbe was $893 (uninstalled).

Quickly we're realizing a good vinyl insert is going to be the best price point for us. We're more concerned with good function than keeping the look of the wood on the interior. Our son's bedroom window is the one we've price out to try to compare costs. It has an inside frame opening of 43 7/8" wide by 53 7/8" high. We really like the warranty and reputation of Sunrise windows - got quoted a single window price of $559 from our only local distributor. I have that distributor coming to do a full quotation for everything we have. They're offereing $250 off for 4 purchased windows.

Is that a decent price for that size and brand? I think it is, but can't seem to find 3 other comparable vinyl manufacuters with distributors in our area to get quotes from. I have a quote for a Kolbe Vinyl Latitude insert replacement for $354. I know the quality won't be as good, but is the difference worth $200 per window for Sunrise? Any knowledge of the difference in customer service or warranty? Lastly what, if any, manufacturers should we be looking at for vinyl double hung windows in our area? We live in La Crescent, MN 55947. I have 12 double hungs to replace on the first floor, and 2 smaller sliders in the basement. We'd like to do a few a year and plan to stay in our home - not flip it. Any advice you could give would be great.

Tom - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Tom, sorry to hear about your current issues, but it does sound like you are on the right track with the Sunrise. I'd say the $559 per window is a good price and it sounds like they are offering some sort of discount from this. So yes, this is a good price.

In terms of the Kolbe, I haven't had much experience with the Latitude. They are more of a wood window company, so I wouldn't take the chance with their vinyl window "pick up." If it were me and I was going to be in my house for longer than 10 years, I'd go with the Sunrise. If you aren't going to be there that long, then you may want to consider the Kolbe (I sort of hate this advice for the next homeowners but its the truth from a purely economic standpoint).

I believe that Polaris, Soft-Lite, Andersen (100 series composite), and Marvin are all available from dealers in Minnesota. I would focus on the first two as nice comparisons to Sunrise. Let me know what the bids come back at and I'll give you me 2 cents!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Kolbe Latitude vs Marvin Integrity

I'm looking at the Marvin Integrity All Ultrex Fiberglass and the Kolbe Latitude Vinyl. The Marvins are about a third more expensive. I think they're both good windows. Is the Marvin better? Is it better enough to pay that much more?

Betty - Homeowner in Louisiana - from 2011

[Contractor Response]

The Marvins are actually that much better if you can afford it. Kolbe makes a good product but they don't compare to Marvins. The ones you're looking at are very different. The Marvins are fiberglass windows, a much stronger and nicer material, and nothing looks better than Marvins. Right now there's nothing on the market at any price that I'd put above a Marvin.

Wayne - Contractor - from 2011

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General Kolbe Windows Reviews And Prices

Kolbe Windows In The Bay Area

Hi Dane, I found this Q/A thread online with you providing such great, detailed answers regarding windows...so, I thought I’d reach out for some advice.

I’m renovating a single story house in Pacifica CA with stunning ocean views. We are only keeping one of the interior walls, so effectively new construction. Design is modern!

The ceiling on the ocean side of the house is 15’ high (shed roof). I’m using casement windows, picture windows and sliding glass doors for the lower glass. For the upper windows, I want hoppers (hook and pole operation), because I want to take advantage of nature’s free air conditioning (and don’t want to get a ladder out every time I go to open/close the window). But, I’m having trouble finding anyone that manufactures modern hoppers.

I reached out to Blomberg, who I know makes modern windows, including hoppers. But their lead time is 16-18 weeks, AND they are telling me that can’t make the sliding glass doors with a U-factor of 0.26.

My questions are:

1. Do you know of a vendor that makes modern hopper windows? Of course, I want to minimize the frame and maximize the glass. My reading tells me that aluminum frames are typically thinner and more modern in design than vinyl. But, set me straight if there’s a modern vinyl window manufacturer.

2. My understanding is that the U-factor requirements for CA new construction (we are officially renovation, not new construction) is 0.30. So, I don’t even understand why Blomberg is telling me they can’t meet the U-factor requirements.

I’d appreciate any advice you might have about hoppers, and from whom to buy modern aluminum or vinyl windows (or fiberglass if that’s a good idea).

Kind thanks.

Pam - Homeowner - from 2021

[Site Editor's Answer]

Pam, thanks for the question. I'm going to be honest with you, this is outside of my wheelhouse. I might have some observations though. Modern design is typically going to be thermally broken aluminum windows, which means your energy efficiency numbers like AI and U-value are going to be pretty poor. On the plus side, aluminum windows are strong as hell and they have that sleek design for modern construction. I'm sure that's why Blomberg mentioned the U-value, just so you'd be aware that if you're looking for strong energy efficiency, you're probably not going to find it there.

Milgard does make a somewhat sleek and modern vinyl window in the Trinsic series. Worth a look if nothing else, and probably good to get a quote to see how the pricing compares. It is available in a darker exterior color, which is a popular trend right now. They also make an aluminum window, so take a look there as well for some comparison shopping.

The Anlin Panoramic series is going to be their slimmest profile. You're always going to lose out on energy efficiency with a slimmer frame, but the thinner vinyl frame is going to still offer much better numbers than aluminum. Of course, vinyl really doesn't have that modern look, but if you go with a darker exterior color, it can kind of mask that look. Whether it passes your smell test, I couldn't say.

Kolbe has a pretty strong presence up there and they offer aluminum, vinyl, and wood clad options. They would be one place I'd look and get a bid from a dealer.

I'm not really familiar with higher end or boutique window sellers in the Bay Area. I'm sure they exist, but I'm not privy to them. I'll bet a dozen phone calls to some of the design centers in the city would produce a handful of additional leads in terms of who sellers hopper style windows.

Sounds like an exciting project. Best of luck!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2021

Kolbe Windows Reviews vs Semco

I had a chance to compare the Kolbe and Semco windows and found the Kolbe was much thinner, both in the frame and the sash. It also used a compression sash, although and I liked the Semco tilt latch. The Kolbe was rolled form and the Semco was the extruded aluminum, which I thought was much better. Also, Semco had way more exterior colors to choose from, I thought they were the better product, hands down.

Comparing the Semco and the Marvin was interesting as well. The cut away comparison showed the Semco was a thicker window, with more wood used in the frame. Besides this, I found the quality similar, but the Semco is quite a bit less compare to Marvin window prices.

As far as Pella goes, I thought their cutaway of the Pella Architect series looked cheap. It was really thin and sort of flimsy. The salesman kept saying how great they were, but just from the product demonstration I was not impressed.

Dave - Homeowner - from 2015

Kolbe vs Marvin Windows

Both Marvin and Kolbe are very well regarded -- Windsor Windows tends to be a less expensive wood window, but I'm not sure I would recommend it when you have those two options in front of you. Have you gotten a quote on the Marvin Integrity with the real wood interior (as opposed to the all Ultrex Integrity)?

A friend of mine in the Bay Area just got Hurd windows put in and loves them, but the company has had some warranty issues in the past...as have a lot of wood window companies to be honest...Have you gotten a quote on the Andersen 400 window? Or Loewen windows (gorgeous, very expensive). The Marvin Infinity has an Auralast wood veneer option that is pretty slick looking and requires no maintenance.

Barry - Industry Insider - from 2015

Kolbe Windows Reviews

I can't believe people are comparing Hurd to Marvin, Eagle, and Kolbe. The Hurds don't even compare. Other brands have much better designs and materials that will last a lot longer and give you fewer problems. Hurd is a lower quality window - nothing wrong if that's what you want, but lower quality.

Wayne - Contractor - from 2012

Kolbe vs Pella Windows

If you're looking at Pellas and Kolbes, the Pella is probably a little cheaper, but not by much. I think the Kolbes are better by a big enough margin to be worth the higher cost. I had 20 double hung wood windows put in about 15 years ago and they are still like new.

Guy - Homeowner in New Jersey - from 2011

[Contractor Response]

Kolbes are definitely better. Pella is better known, but people in the trades know Kolbe. Better post-sale service, better build quality, just a better choice all around. Explore what Pella windows cost.

Tim - Contractor - from 2011

[2nd Response]

I honestly am not impressed by either of these. Kolbe to me is just an unimpressive mediocre window. Pellas, though, are garbage. Even their top-line Architectural series are lousy. The showroom models look nice, but when you get your windows all the details are off. Hardware is on crooked, miter joints are bad. The Pellas I put on my house are decent, but only because I put a ton of work into fixing them after they came. As delivered, they weren't something that could be put on a house.

Mark - Contractor - from 2011

Kolbe Frame Color

I was looking at Kolbes and they seem really good. They look solid and well made. My only problem with them was that the cream colored interiors were a strange color, not like any cream I've ever seen. The price was a little high, but they're good enough that we're trimming some costs on the interior doors and hardware to make up for it. I just hope the cream doesn't look bad in the room.

Jeff - Contractor - from 2011

Kolbe Windows Reviews

Semco windows are a low budget option, and they're going to have to be replaced in 10 years or so. If you really want a wood window, Marvin and Kolbe both make nice ones. Marvin is more expensive and more well-known, but the Kolbes are excellent.

Brandon - Installer - from 2010

Kolbe Windows Complaints

I've put Kolbe sash kits in a lot of homes, they're a good alternative to a full replacement if you really need a wood window for some reason. Most of the problems we run into were minor. At first we were measuring and ordering our screens from Kolbe, but there were a lot of misfits and other issues. Now we have a company that comes out and does the screens on site. It's cheaper and every screen fits perfect. Also, a lot of the sashes don't fit well against the existing slots. It doesn't cause a problem in the end, but it means more work for the installer. These certainly aren't cheap, but they're less expensive than a high-end window. They're mainly for esthetics, though, they won't help with energy costs.

Mike - Contractor - from 2007

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