A new study by J.D. Power and Associates reveals that overall customer satisfaction with replacement windows and patio doors decreased in the last year. Based on a 1,000-point-scale, satisfaction in 2009 fell to 769 from 781 in 2008.

"Consumers have scaled back on remodeling and discretionary projects due to tight credit, declining home values, and general economic uncertainty," Jim Howland, senior director in the real estate industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates, says. "Those who find it necessary to replace windows or remodel in light of these conditions are much more likely to scrutinize every aspect of their purchase and carry particularly high expectations for products."

Now in its third year, J.D Power's Windows and Patio Doors Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 2,856 consumers who purchased new windows or patio doors in the previous 12 months.

The study measures satisfaction among consumers based on performance in seven factors (listed in order of importance): operational performance (17%); product quality/durability (17%); appearance and design features (15%); price (14%); ordering and delivery (14%); warranty (13%); and repair and replacement (10%). Satisfaction in 2009 decreased in all seven factors, but it was particularly notable in the warranty, product quality/durability, and price factors.

In addition to declining customer satisfaction, the study finds that Pella, Iowa-based Pella Windows & Doors ranks highest among consumers in overall satisfaction with windows and patio doors for the third year in a row.

"Achieving a score of 787, Pella performs particularly well in three of seven factors: operational performance, product quality and durability, and appearance and design," the study says.

Andersen (785) and Milgard (784) placed a close second and third behind Pella in the ranking. "Andersen performs particularly well in the ordering and delivery and warranty factors, while Milgard performs well in the price and repair and replacement factors," the study concludes.

The study further reflects increased consumer scrutiny of window and door products, J.D. Power says, in its ranking of the factors. The importance of warranty, product quality and durability, appearance and design features, and operational performance factors increased from 2008. Importance of the price and ordering and delivery factors declined. —Nigel F. Maynard is senior editor - products, for Builder magazine