Norcal windows - Jeld-Wen, Marvin, Eagle?

caben15September 4, 2012

We are doing a new construction project in northern California and I am currently researching windows. Primarily the goal is to figure out what brand/line to spec, and how much we should set aside for this in our allowances.

The brands we're mainly comparing now are Jeld-Wen Siteline EX, Jeld-Wen Custom, Marvin Ultimate and Eagle.

I have seen a number of threads on here cautioning against the JW windows, but less detail explaining why other than that "Marvin is a better window". It's also not clear to me if the JW complaints apply to one line or another, as I've read their product offerings come from a series of acquisitions and different lines might perform differently? What has caused the bad reputation? What should I be careful of? How would you compare their two higher end lines (Siteline EX & Custom)?

The consensus seems to be Marvin is the best, and spending a little time in the window showroom indicates that yes they have better fit and finish from up close. I'd be hard pressed to notice from the street though. Can people explain the less superficial advantages?

Where does Eagle fit into this spectrum?

The house has to be the sum of its parts, so I can't afford to max out on everything. I suspect Marvin is a bit beyond the allowance I have been working with thus far. I am trying to figure out if this is an area where it's especially important. Where I am in NorCal we get a lot of sun, but very little wind/rain and no snow. My windows will be painted white(ish) on the inside and I am comfortable sticking to a limited range of clad colors.

Thanks for any details/advice you can provide :-)

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Well, your post has been here for over 24 hours, with no takers.....let me take a whack at it.
Marvin has a standard AAMA 2605 paint - really good UV protection of the aluminum cladding and will resist fading and chalking. Marvin's ultimate casement has a really cool new feature that allows you to disengage the sash temporarily and spin it around so you can clean the outside of the sash from the inside of the house. Marvin's is extruded aluminum frame and sash.

Jeld-Wen Siteline is a 2604 standard paint...not bad, but not as good. I believe the Jeld-Wen custom line is 2605 standard but it's an extruded aluminum frame and a rollform aluminum sash. Rollform aluminum is softer and will dent (and will dent a lot in a hail storm)and is molded right up against the wood. They also have a builder grade window, which is the bottom of the line and I do not care for it. I think a lot of Jeld-Wen's perception is that customer's are not always aware of the different grades thinking that Jeld-Wen is Jeld-Wen is Jeld-Wen (which actually, Pozzi is now Jeld-Wen Custom, Norco is now Jeld-Wen Siteline, and Caradco is now Jeld-Wen Builders Series). Same issue with Andersen and Pella. They have a really el-cheapo window and a high end window and many unsuspecting homeowners didn't know that going in and I think may have had higher expectations of that fabulously priced product than it was actually capable of performing.

Eagle is an Andersen product. I don't run up against it too much here, and generally the perception from my builder customers is that their experience with Eagle left a bad taste in their mouths as far as performance and customer service is concerned.

I have a favorite window here and when I mention it's name, I will receive a thorough beating from some of my fellow posters here because they are not familiar with it and they think it is a vinyl window (IT'S NOT!!!) but it is a really good window (2604 paint, Lo E 366 standard glass with super spacer, lots of wood in the product and foam filled head and sill, a patented hinged extruded aluminum nail fin and integral extruded aluminum drip cap/head flashing, available in 26 standard colors). The name of this "miracle window" is Semco. I am in the southeast, but I happen to know that California is a market for Semco. It's a smaller company, family owned and it's mfg facilities are located in Wisconsin. If you really like the fit and finish of the Marvin Ultimate Casement, you really owe it to yourself to take a look at the Semco window. It is priced well below the Marvin and is a beautiful product to look at and will perform well for you.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Marvin is my vote.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Thanks for the help. Funny you mention Semco - I actually used them on a past project so am quite familiar. That time I had to supply my own windows, and ended up going with them after seeing them in a Loewen showroom. They were a nice looking window, definitely felt solid. The downside (maybe related to installation) many of them felt very heavy operating. I also don't think I scaled them well given the size of the openings.

Spent some time with the window salesman today and he said the JW Siteline EX now features all-extruded aluminum including sash. He concurred with the negatives of roll-form but showed me a cross-section of one of the new ones with the extruded cladding.

That said, I spent some more time looking at Eagle and I think that's what we're leaning towards now. They have a really nice looking push-out casement that doesn't require an upgrade in lines as it does with JW (with JW it requires going to Custom, which works out being as expensive as Marvin).

Without a doubt the Marvins looked the best. But 30% more per window for a project with ~70 windows just isn't in our budget and given our climate, I think I'm OK with that.

Thanks again :-)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 5:56PM
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