Marvin Clad Wood Conduct Cold, Leak Air and Condense
Just installed 26 Marvin Ultimate Insert Double Hung window, Low E 179 with argon double-paned, clad aluminum outside, primed pine inside, in November and having major buyer's remorse one month later.
The installer shimmed, leveled, and foamed around each frame. Old weight pockets are filled with fiberglass. Exterior perimeter is sealed as well with backing rod and Titebond weathermaster sealant. No air is coming through the rough opening and frame. However, plenty of air is leaking through the new windows themselves, called "blow-by" as the Marvin rep calls it. Also, at the top of the unit, the jamb tracks don't go all the way to the top and there are gaping holes with air pouring in where the jambs should be sealed instead. So much for quality contraol at the factory. In addition, the cladding and spacer bars are conducting much cold, especially at corners where convection is occuring. Even though the rep said we got "warm edge" stainless steel spacer bars,we are getting chronic condensation along the bottom edges of both sashes, even with low indoor humidity, at 20 degrees or less outside. Much cold air blows through the foam bulb weatherstripping in winds or 20 mph or more. Today I had to run a hairdryer to heat up the window to open it as it was frozen shut. When I did get it open, I tilted in the bottom sash and saw ice, yes, ice channeling up the interior track of the sash itself, as well as running along the interior of the jamb bulb weatherstripping, and also ice pockets at the bottom of the sill, inside the tracks, sitting on top of the foam cube, and along the inside of the bulb weatherstrip running along the bottom of the sash and sill. Plus, the side jamb foam bulb weatherstripping soaks up rainwater from the sill which then freezes and makes the weatherstripping rigid rendering it inflexible and unable to move with the movement of the sashes in high winds, hence more air infiltration. When I stand in front of these windows, the conduction of cold is worse than when we had the original single panes with storm windows. I wasn't expecting air tight, but this is ridiculous. The Marvin seals are simply inadequate in our New England weather. Our reason for springing $28,000. for these windows was to never have to rope caulk and plastic over windows again. However, I spent the entire day yesterday applying rope caulk to the new windows. Yes, the air infiltration is less, but the conduction of cold is still so intense from the aluminum that we still feel quite a draft standing in front of the units. Now were considering buying interior storms to cope. I think that's probably a cheaper alternative to suing Marvin...but at this point, we feel majorly ripped off. Yes, the windows look beautiful and they replicate the "prairie style" of the original windows perfectly, but what you get in aesthetics you lose badly in terms of energy efficiency. I confess, I am a design snob and that's why I avoided vinyl because I wanted to preserve the look of our 100 year old house. However, "Fashion windows" don't equal good sense. This is a hard lesson to learn.