Anyone who experienced problems with non-vinyl windows manufactured by Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co. This includes both their all-wood and wood and aluminum product lines.
What's the Problem?
It has been alleged that these windows can leak, rot, crack and/or warp after installation.
Has a Lawsuit Been Filed?
In February 2014, property owners in Wisconsin filed a class action lawsuit claiming that Kolbe failed to properly design, manufacture and test the windows and is therefore responsible for property damage caused by their defective products.
What Happens Now?
Attorneys are looking into claims that Kolbe's non-vinyl windows are defective and need to hear from people who experienced problems with these windows. They believe additional lawsuits can be filed against the company to ensure residents of all states have a chance at compensation.
Type of Lawsuit
Attorneys are investigating claims that certain windows manufactured by Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co. are defective and can leak, rot, crack, warp or otherwise fail to keep water and air out of customers’ properties. A class action lawsuit has already been filed alleging that both Kolbe’s all-wood and wood and aluminum products suffer from defects in their designs. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the wooden portions of the windows are inadequately preserved and protected, meaning they can rot and warp even when properly installed. In light of these allegations, Kolbe customers who experienced problems with their windows may be able to take part in a class action lawsuit to recover compensation.
Kolbe Windows Complaints – Customers Voice Their Frustrations
Even before the first class action lawsuit was filed, a number of Kolbe customers took to online message boards and forums to share their problems and concerns. On ConsumerAffairs.com, for example, typical posts include:
The moisture in many cases was trapped and allowed moisture and mold to destroy the bottom wood.
“I purchased Kolbe windows and doors and had them installed in a new home in 2000 [...] Recently I began painting the sashes and replacing the weatherstripping on the casement windows. I then noticed some rotting wood on at least 8 of the sashes. It was the bottom piece near the hardware in all cases. [...] The contractor who came out to fix the problem said the sills were too flat and did not slant out in order to let any moisture drain out. Basically, a design flaw. The moisture in many cases was trapped and allowed moisture and mold to destroy the bottom wood.”
Within the first year the wood had large cracks on the seams where they glued the wood together. The Company did replace that side. The replacement side cracked in exactly the same manner. The same window cracked again.
“I purchased a custom Kolbe window through an authorized local dealer. It cost $2,000 and came with a lifetime warranty. It is a dual crank out style window where INSIDE wood edge is cut in a circular arc to give the illusion the window is round. I was told they were a top rate company, and I wanted the best product available. Within the first year the wood had large cracks on the seams where they glued the wood together. The Company did replace that side. The replacement side cracked in exactly the same manner. The same window cracked again. I have to keep the defective side boarded up as the cracks are so large water can come through.”
Despite several entreaties, including argument that rot obviously had been occurring for years, and was likely the result of poor design, Kolbe absolutely refused to provide any coverage for the damage.
“Kolbe windows and doors were installed in new home in 2000. Door frames required adjusting shortly thereafter. Local dealer handled under warranty. A few years later, the bottom frame of a fixed window showed rot. Local dealer replaced under warranty. Recently, the inner pane of a window (protected by shutters) shattered. In course of reviewing for repair, local dealer found rot in the frame, and then found rot in several more after I insisted on whole house inspection. He removed seal strips from bottom of all our window frames which he said were trapping water. Despite several entreaties, including argument that rot obviously had been occurring for years, and was likely the result of poor design, Kolbe absolutely refused to provide any coverage for the damage.”
It is believed that condensation, which can build up on the interior window glass, can lead to mold growth and rot in the window sash (the part of the frame that holds the glass in place). Condensation buildup can also lead to mildew growth and rot and decay of the window sill.
Why Is The Wood Rotting? Isn’t It Protected?
Kolbe’s all-wood windows are sold with a high-quality performance finish known as K-Kron – a three-step process designed to preserve and treat the wooden parts of the windows to prevent them from degrading and rotting. According to a class action lawsuit, however, Kolbe knew that K-Kron was a “defective sealant” but continued to manufacture hundreds of thousands of windows using the K-Kron system.
Because of the defective sealant, it has been alleged that the windows are insufficiently protected against moisture, a problem that can lead to rotting and cracking.
Similarly, the wooden parts of Kolbe’s aluminum and wood products were advertised as being treated with PILT (Preservative In-Line Treatment) - one of the three preservative treatments applied to the all-wood windows. According to Kolbe marketing materials, the preservative “provides resistance against water and insects, and includes a fungicide to prevent rotting.” It has now come to light, however, that extended exposure to ultra-violet light – which, with these products being windows, is unavoidable – strips PILT of its protective qualities. Kolbe may also have known about this, yet continued to use PILT to treat its wood and aluminum windows and sashes, according to the suit.