Marvin Windows Reviewed
As one of the most high performing window brands of the last 100 years, Marvin Windows is still enjoying a prestigious top spot thanks to its most recent offerings:
• The Essential Series—Marvin’s low maintenance, full Ultrex Fiberglass window option.
• The Elevate Series—A hybrid offering with a wood interior and Ultrex Fiberglass exterior.
• The Signature Series—Marvin’s fully customizable aluminum cladded exterior with a wood interior.
As many of us gear up to enter build season, many would-be homeowners, and investors, are sourcing windows for their new builds. So is Marvin a good brand to invest in for your windows, or are they offering a sub-par product at a premium price?
In this article we’re going to explore the Essential, Elevate, and Signature series’ from this long-standing brand. We’ll show you the pros and cons of each line, and how to get the best out of Marvin products. There’s a lot to unpack in our Marvin Windows review 2020, so let’s get started.
Part I. About The Company
Who are Marvin Windows?
When Marvin Windows opened its doors in 1912 as a lumber company, it was family-owned and operated. Today, it is still run by a member of the family—CEO Paul Marvin.
The company made the pivotal decision to turn from lumber to home renovations, and are now the manufacturers of more than 150,000 window and door styles.
Why is Marvin such a popular brand for windows?
For the brand’s hundreds of thousands of loyal supporters, the brand is renowned for product quality, attention to detail, and customer care. They’ve also earned accolades from builders and homeowners due to the fact that they:
• Exceed all industry standards for manufacturing home renovation products
• Their proprietary Ultrex Fiberglass product is consistently ranked as one of the most durable window treatments available
• Their window framing is guaranteed not to warp under increases—or decreases—in temperature
• All wood used by Marvin Windows is sustainable and ethically sourced
• Across their product range, they offer considerable customization options, all of which are offered as a finished product—meaning homeowners won’t pay more to have their chosen finish applied after-market
• Both their cladding options are durable and come with industry-leading warranties
• Their proprietary Everwood product has the aesthetics and feel of real wood, but—unlike real wood—is resistant to fading, warping, or buckling.
How energy efficient are Marvin Windows products?
Like most homeowners, we care about energy saving technologies. We need our home to retain valuable heat in winter, and cool air in summer, so we’re not putting additional strain on our energy bill.
All Marvin’s window products are ENERGY STAR certified. What does that mean for you, as a homeowner? Firstly, your home will retain its interior temperature for longer, meaning less time spent heating—or cooling—your home. The less time your thermostat is running, the cheaper your energy bill. That’s a win in our book!
Part II. About The Product Lines
Marvin Signature Series
The Signature Series is Marvin’s best-performing product line, and essentially two lines in one—Signature Ultimate and Signature Modern.
The line features a wood interior with extruded aluminum cladding, effectively offering the best of both worlds for any new build. As the most customizable range in Marvin’s line-up, the Signature Series also offers the flexibility of an all-wood window design, or a wood + Ultrex Fiberglass option. Whatever your personal taste, the Signature line can cater to you.
Although the best feature of the Signature line is its infinite customization possibilities, we’re also huge fans of their style range. The Marvin catalogue offers 6 types of awning window, several casement options—including an inswing and French casement—bay windows, bow windows, six styles of double hung window, corners, gliders, and a few picture window options.
Another exceptional feature of the Signature range is the quality of the wood used. Marvin works with some of the most reliable wood suppliers in the U.S.—and has done so for over a century. Some of their supplier relationships are more than 40 years old. They also employ in-house experts to monitor wood trends, wood grading within their manufacturing facilities, and to ensure the best use of their materials.
The wood used in the Marvin Signature styles we tested was warm, provided excellent insulation, and maintained its look and integrity well.
Finally, the extruded aluminum cladding—if you go in for this option—gave the style we tried a solid layer of additional protection. For extreme weather conditions, or areas that get a lot of rain and snow, this enhanced weather resistance will be a valuable asset. Marvin uses aluminum that meets the American Architectural Manufacturers’ Association (AAMA) standard, too. For homeowners, this means peace of mind in knowing your extruded aluminum cladding will retain its color for at least the next 10 years.
Not totally sold on that last point? Marvin is. They offer a 20-year warranty on all cladded products, to protect you against chalking, loss of adhesion, and fading.
The number of styles—whilst good to have—can be a little confusing when browsing. The differences may look small when you browse them all in the catalogue or online, but they might be absolute game-changers once you’ve installed them in your home. So for this reason, we recommend speaking with an authorized Marvin dealer to get the exact window and aesthetic that you want for your home. Marvin invests considerable time and training into their people, and their sales team are known for being knowledgeable in all areas of the product range.
Marvin Elevate Series
If a premium brand can have a premium product line, Elevate is Marvin’s. The Elevate collection pairs the durability of a fiberglass exterior with the warmth and resilience of a wood interior.
Marvin’s proprietary Ultrex Fiberglass material has been tested to be up to eight times stronger and more resistant to warping than vinyl. Because of this strength, window framing can be considerably thinner, allowing for more glass surface area than with other window materials. If you are installing windows in a smaller home, in an area with considerable shade, or anywhere that needs to maximize natural light—an Ultrex Fiberglass product is a game-changer.
Ultrex Fiberglass has another ace up its sleeve, too. It is extremely durable and stable in extreme climates—from sweltering hot summers, to strong winds, to icy, snowy winters—and the material itself expands at the same rate as glass. Essentially, Ultrex Fiberglass behaves like glass, and this protects your windows against warping, cracking, or integrity issues in the joints.
Did we mention Marvin’s Ultrex Fiberglass material is the only fiberglass product on the market that passes all 624 AAMA standards for performance and quality?
While the outer Ultrex layer keeps the windows protected from the elements, the wooden interior adds warmth and class. As with the Signature range, Elevate uses only high-quality, sustainable wood that you can count on.
Although it’s not exactly a negative point, the product range isn’t as extensive as that of the Marvin Signature series. What the Elevate collection lacks in selection, it more than makes up for with material and build quality. There is bound to be enough in the range to satisfy a designer’s tastes, including:
• The Elevate round top
• The Elevate picture window
• The Elevate glider window
• The Elevate double hung and double hung insert
• The Elevate casement and casement narrow frame
• The Elevate bow window
• The Elevate bay window
• The Elevate awning and awning narrow frame
If you’re looking for something specific, and you don’t find it in the Elevate Series—Marvin also allows for considerable scope with specialty shapes.
Marvin Essential Series
The Essential collection is Marvin’s most maintenance-free line, and offers a solid entry-level range that still delivers a durable, premium quality product.
The Essential product line uses Marvin’s proprietary Ultrex Fiberglass material as both an interior and exterior material, making it perfect for more affordable homes or builders getting involved in their first project. The Marvin Essential Series allows you to maintain a high-quality finish at a more cost-effective price, without compromising on style, durability, or longevity.
Speaking of durability, the Ultrex Fiberglass makeup helps deliver an extremely low-maintenance, easy care collection that could best be described as sleek, versatile, and clean.
The range includes:
• The Essential single hung
• The Essential double hung
• The Essential round top
• The Essential picture window
• The Essential glider
• The Essential casement
• The Essential awning
• This range also allows for totally customizable specialty shapes
In an effort to keep the Essential Series competitive at a lower price point, Marvin offer a limited number of exterior finish and hardware finish options: six of the former and five of the latter, to be exact. Although you still have more than enough flex to create a cohesive, stylish, beautiful home with this many options, you have less scope to create something unique.
Part III. About Price & Warranties
How affordable are Marvin Windows?
Let’s be honest: Marvin Windows are a premium product with the price tag to match. This isn’t to say that they don’t work for their money, because they do. Some of the factors that influence their high price are:
• Comprehensive quality control checks—including a quality control team to conduct rigorous safety and quality tests, inspections, and reviews of all products
• Top of the line manufacturing equipment
• Proprietary materials, manufactured and designed specifically for the brand—meaning you won’t find these materials anywhere else
• Their ability to be fully customized to suit your décor and window style
• High quality materials across their product lines
• Stringent product testing of all products and product lines
• Limited warranties across their product range, which is effectively built into the price of the window
• Brand recognition—Marvin is a prestigious name in the home renovation industry, and carries an expectation of longevity, craftsmanship, and exceptional quality.
Are Marvin Windows’ products worth the price?
In a word: yes.
However, it’s important to remember that having any window installed requires expert workmanship and experience in and of itself. The most high-performing window product, installed by a novice, may not perform to its full potential. Always consult a reputable window installation professional.
How does Marvin Windows’ warranty work?
Marvin Windows’ products are covered by a comprehensive limited warranty which is effective from date of purchase. What does this mean for you?
1. Marvin Windows stands by its products—they are so confident of their windows, that they will guarantee a warranty on the window seal if it becomes defective within 20 years.
2. If the any non-glass parts are defective, they cover this under a 10 year warranty.
This type of warranty is industry-leading and should give homeowners peace of mind when investing in new windows. It’s important, though, that you read the warranty carefully since all limited warranties have their limitations.
As an example, Marvin Windows’ warranties are nullified where the products are not purchased from and installed by an authorized Marvin dealer, and where they are installed outside the United States.
And the winner of our Marvin Windows Review 2020 is…
At a respectable 3rd place, we’ve got Marvin Essential Range—for durability and maintenance free at an entry-level price point.
Coming in at 2nd place, we’ve got Marvin Elevate Range—for premium design and discerning designers.
But the convincing winner in our eyes is the Marvin Signature Range—an excellent all-rounder with exceptional durability and style.
Marvin Windows are an industry leader for a reason—they offer expert workmanship, exceptional materials, and a premium product backed by solid science—and warranties!
We are a little disappointed that some of their lines only offer limited style or customization options, but overall we think Marvin offers three excellent collections that deliver on longevity, value, and style for your new home.