My wife and I decided to do an upgrade on our home and purchased a new custom-sized Pella Series 30 Thermastar vinyl sliding glass door to replace an existing one. We contracted with our local Lowes store to get this door installed, since we had never installed a sliding glass door before. That's when the PELLA Quality Nightmares began.
1. My custom door arrived damaged. The paint was all scraped off the door handle on the sliding door. There was other hidden damage, too that I did not see until it was installed. (The contractor replaced the handle that same day of course).
2. The cheesy Pella screen door was damaged, too. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that it took 2.5 months to get a replacement screen door from Lowes/Pella. (It was a custom size screen door, 30 " wide, not an off-the-shelf item).
3. After installation, we noticed that the main part of the sliding glass door had defects in it and damage that was not apparent on the day of installation.
A. The fixed glass panel had a circular area with 10 or 12 - 3" scratches in the glass ON THE INSIDE of the glass panel. This clearly indicates a factory defect, not damage in transit.
B. The movable glass door had some 19 scuff marks in the column in the white vinyl cladding. Because it was white vinyl through and through, these scuffs were not visible when the door was being installed, but were noticable later when we Windexed the door after installation. These scuffs/scrapes probably occurred in transit, as Pella uses the cheapest, least protective shipping wrapping you can imagine to ship their product to the retailer or consumer. (More about this later).
4. WORST OF ALL - the cheap, flimsy, cheesy Pella sliding screen door does not fit into the frame of the main sliding glass door. There is a clear and obvious defect occurring at the Thermastar factory in Murray, KY where the wheel chambers (the portion of the frame where the screen door wheel rests) is being flared out to 1-1/16" wide, as the wheel is too large for the door. The only problem with that is that the rest of the frame of the screen door is 1.0" wide and the "U channel" that the screen door rides in is EXACTLY 1.0 " wide, so you cannot properly install this sliding screen door and it will not move in the track. This is not an adjustment - the four wheel hubs are flared out too wide at the factory and have to be beaten flat with a hammer to even possibly fit in the channel that is part of the frame of the main sliding glass door.
What I am saying is that the screen door folks are building a screen door for this expensive Pella Thermastar sliding glass door unit (mine cost almost $800) that will not fit in its own track and will NOT MOVE BACK and FORTH.
A LOWES technician confirmed that this nightmare scenario is happening to Pella customers everywhere and they are madder as @**& about it! And, they should be. It is the poorest possible quality control.
So, I thought I would help Pella customers everywhere and report these problems to Pella's customer service department. I even asked to have a Quality Manager call me back to discuss my findings. Today, I called again to provide them info on the screen door defects.
They were in total denial. They claimed that their screen doors are not defective, that there are no problems with them. This flies in the face of what the Lowes tech told me, that there are major problems with EVERY Pella sliding glass door. I even tried to tell the supervisor I spoke with WHAT the real problem was. She did not care.
I can speak with assurance about the flared wheel hub problem and the extra 1/16" oversize issue with same. I have on my premises now 3 Pella screen doors - the original one that got damaged initially, a replacement Lowes ordered and delivered that was too wide, and the newer correctly sized replacement door. All 3 exhibit this same problem. None would work properly no matter how hard one could try to adjust them
Does Pella care? I say not, as it has been 2 weeks now and no Quality Manager has called to discuss the door scrapes issue. I wanted to tell them how a 1/8" thick piece of bubble wrap would protect their doors from getting scuffed and damaged in transit, but they apparently don't care. Instead, they are shipping them out with only some plastic wrap on the outside and a 2X4 for edge framing. Nothing to protect the glass or vinyl on your next sliding glass door.
Consumers Beware! If you buy a Pella door from anyone, put it on your credit card and do not accept it if it shows any sign of damage. Inspect it with a fine tooth comb and make sure the screen door works. (The model Pella doors at some Lowes store are absent their screen door - hmmm.)
I wish I had never bought a Pella product. I give them an "F" for product quality. By the way, it took from August 31st to today to get most of these problems fixed by Pella and really, the screen door is not truly fixed yet and probably never will be.
The rest of the story: the Lowes tech was a genius. He brought over a 30" generic adjustable one-size-fits-all white vinyl replacement screen door, manufactured by RiteScreen, and replaced the original factory-made nonfunctional Pella screen door with it. It works a lot better than the Pella door did, or ever would. Not a perfect fitm but it's white, keeps the bugs out and rolls back and forth smoothly. So, my screen door is not even made by Pella. It is a substitute replacement door, and its quality is actually better than Pella's!!
I hope someone from Pella is reading this. I suggest they change their motto to read "Pella - Viewed To be The Worst". That is certainly my opinion of them and their poorly-made products.
A lawsuit for defective products may be necessary to get Pella to correct their defective products.