Saturday, February 21, 2009

Quality products

Seems like "they just don't make 'em like they used to."

My mother, rest her soul, always told me to buy quality, buy once. Now that I've reached a point in my life where I can buy quality, I wish the old saw were still true. Case in point: We recently replaced the storm door at the front of our house with a relatively expensive new storm door manufactured by one of the leading brands. A company, which shall remain nameless at the advice of counsel, that claims to, "...create a timeless combination of durability and beauty." Apparently my definition of durability is somewhat different than this firm's definition.

We could have bought a less expensive storm door. We could have bought about four less-expensive doors for what we paid for this door. I specifically sought out this brand and bought one of their top-of-the line models because I wanted a durable door that would provide a good first impression for guests to our home and have a screened window that could be opened. The door we bought does look nice, but I'm having a durability problem caused by the manufacturer's use of inexpensive materials and a less-than-durable design.

This storm door has a horizontally split-glass window and the top portion can be opened by releasing latches on either side at the top and sliding the glass down. As the glass is lowered, a "disappearing screen" follows the glass and provides an insect-resistant opening for breeze and fresh air. The glass is held in place and guided on its downward slide by channels on either side of the door into which fit tangs from the window frame. It works beautifully, except... The channels are of a flimsy plastic construction and are not securely held to the enameled metal door frame. In fact they simply "snap" into place in a secondary channel in the door frame which is hidden behind the plastic channels when they are in place. The real problem is that they won't STAY in place. In fact they pop out of place every time that the door is closed, even gently, when the window is in the closed position. Then the window won't open until I snap them back into place. From the inside as one leaves our home, the plastic strips flapping loose look cheap. You can see the left side channel flopped out over the door handle in the photo above. I expect it is only a matter of time until one or both get broken off completely--then I won't be able to snap them back into place and the opening window feature will be unusable with nothing to hold the window in place. How frustrating!

I have written to the manufacturer asking if there is a fix. Now we shall see if their customer service better lives up to their advertising than their product. I'll keep you posted.