Which Marvin for replacement windows?

eleenaSeptember 21, 2012

We need to replace two tall wood windows in front of the house: one triple-window and one double-window.

I know that some companies make PVC replacement windows that are designed specifically for former wood windows.

After many discussions, we wanted to go with fiberglass and Marvin is the only decent company around here with that option.

However, their all-fiberglass line, Infinity, does not have any authorized dealers for residential application where we live. My window guy told us that even if we insist and they agree to let them be installed, there may be a problem with the warranty.

B/c Marvin fiberglass windows are narrower than our current wood windows, the installer would have to add a vinyl brick mold around it, as far as I understand. But the warranty only covers "the window part".

Is this a valid concern?

I wanted all fiber-glass b/c aluminum or not, any clad can eventually fail due to constant compression/expansion. I also really like the look of fiberglass.

However, we are using Marvin sash replacement kits for all other windows in other parts of the house. Does the window style have to match throughout the house? Will anyone even notice?

Also, there was an article linked by someone here (windowwashington, I think) that had a table showing that the expansion coefficient of wood was closer to glass than that of fiberglass. (I cannot find the link and I hope I am not misquoting. :-)) That ignited doubts about the wisdom of going with all-fiberglass for replacement windows.

Should we just go with Marvin aluminum clad and hope for the best?

We need to order next week and any input would be appreciated!

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First, on material choice, they each have pros and cons, and all are engineered based on the material of which it is constructed in order to mitigate inherent weaknesses and take advantage of strengths.
Marvin's clad window is excellent as wood windows go. The fiberglass offering is very nice as well, as are the premium vinyl products offered by select manufacturers (not Marvin). All of them will serve you well when properly maintained. To figure out which choice would be best for you, you must set your expectations for the project, prioritize them, and then select the material the best matches your priorities. Looks? Maintenance? Cost? Performance? Warranty?.... All things to consider.
Regarding the installation, it sounds as though your installer is either unqualified, or there is just poor communication between the two of you. First, figure out if you want a pocket install (new window installed into original frame), or a full tear-out (everything goes). This will affect the product choices that you have available as well. For instance, in Marvin, you can get Infinity and wood/clad in a pocket replacement (or full frame), while Integrity is full-frame only.
I don't understand the need to add vinyl-brickmold, particularly in a pocket install.
On warranty, Marvin stands fully behind their product in my experience. That said, anything installation related will be covered by your installer's warranty. The manufacturer will only cover it's product.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 4:58PM
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About priorities:

Looks? Maintenance? Cost? Performance? Warranty?

I want the best combo of these, not necessarily the best look or the cheapest product. :-)

Yes, it is hard to communicate with "window guys" around here. They talk a different language - the one I do not understand (and I don't mean English, LOL).

This is how I understand the brick-mold thing. The fiberglass windows are not as wide as the old windows, so the brick mold is needed to fill the gap on the sides. Is that wrong?

Also, if I understand correctly, Marvin Ultimate is sized the same as older (standard) wood windows, so we take the old one out and put the new one in. I am not certain if that means "pocket install" or not. Does it?

It is definitely NOT a sash replacement or an insert.

There are no quality vinyl companies here, Simonton is the best we've got. I am not sure I like the looks of vinyl. Also, have not you "guys" said on this forum time and again that vinyl windows will not perform as well as Marvin in time?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


The Marvin Ultimate is available an insert or full tear out replacement.

If they are installing brickmold, they are likely going with a full tear out option.

The Marvin Ultimate, although not cheap, is a great window.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 7:17PM
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Any of the Marvin products Wood or Wood/Clad Ultimate, Integrity or Infinity as full framed units are made to order in virtually any size required.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 9:14PM
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Yes, I have clarified that the those windows in question will be a full-tear replacement.

Every installer and "window guy" who came over, told me that anything, except for cladded wood and replacement PVC windows, will have a different jamb and different width than the ones I have (which are "standard" for wood) and will require some frame modification, with a brick mold being the lesser of all other evils.

I guess the "$64K question" is:

Will a custom size be a lot more expensive than a "standard" size?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 2:10AM
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For a possible answer to the 64k question possibly from us, please post pictures?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 9:39AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

64K question...wow.

That is one heck of a window project.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:34PM
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Here is one of them.

IDK how to change the size of the picture, sorry if huge.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Sorry, cannot take a better pic due to the location.

It is a triple-window of the same height as the double-window above.

The windows are standard wood windows.

So, how much more a (custom-sized?) Marvin Integrity or Infinity full-replacement would be compared to "standard" Marvin Ultimate (which is supposed to just "slide-in" as I have been told)?

Thanks a lot!!!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

You could just as easily do an insert in this application as you could a full tear out. If the EIFS is well sealed and working properly, stay with the insert option and look at the Marvin Infinity.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:51AM
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+1 on WoW, no sense making more out of the project than is required and a properly installed Infinity insert window should be fine as long as previously mentioned the EFIS is sound and intact.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:17AM
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No, the windows have rotten because the previous owners had sprinklers right next to them for 10 years (and both windows are only a few inches above the ground).

I am doing sash replacements for all other windows but these two need a full tear replacement. At least, this is what every "window guy" who came over told me.

My question is, do I need any brick molds to fit Integrity/Infinity or they can be custom-sized w/o breaking the bank?


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:05PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

You can replace a bunch of rot pretty easily.

There is no premium for "custom" in either of those cases.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:17PM
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Do you mean that a custom size will cost the same as a "standard" size?

Also, what do you mean by "replace a bunch of rot pretty easily"? Not do a full-tear?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:40PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

There is no premium for a "custom" size window in either of those lines.

Integrity used to be a stock size program but they do it in any size now.

Most windows will have some sort of rot and they can usually be surgically repaired in the process of doing the window replacement. Once the rot is repaired, the new insert can be set and capped/wrapped.

If you are messing with EIFs (i.e. full tear out) you need to make sure your installer understands water management and proper flashing.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:58PM
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