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Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Posted by Jon_Ohio (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 27, 13 at 11:21

I am looking for casement windows and several patio doors for a 70 unit project for my house. I have quotes from the following three manufacturers and surprisingly they all are running with 5K of each other. First, in the ohio region is it worth going with a triple pane glass and are there any major disadvantages with triple glazing.

What I like
Kolbe: solid construction, USA, seals look nicely done, plenty of cladding options, plenty of interior wood options, they made a big deal about the stainless steel spacer

Loewen: Fir construction throughout, looks incredibly solid, good values based on nfrc

Marvin: similar to kolbe, more distributors,

What i dislike

Kolbe: inferior nfrc u values compared to loewen, pine for the guts of the window
marvin: again u values not nearly as good as loewen in tri pane
loewen: long lead time, canadian, repair issues

I have searched the forums and found some older posts but wanted a fresh perspective, especially since we are approaching 100,000.00 in windows and doors.

Any opinion on u values and shgc for the central ohio region. Is triple glazing just wasting $

thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

I have sold all three and they are all first rate window companies and about the best wood / wood clad window commercially available. All things being equal price wise I would be inclined to go Marvin 1st, Kolbe a very very close 2nd and Loewen 3rd. I believe that the U values will be very close (so close in fact that it will result in minimal difference and not noticeable). While I do prefer the Doug Fir in Loewen they use as a standard mixed (mostly all flat) grain D.Fir which is not very much different strength wise then the Ponderosa Pine used by Marvin and Kolbe. To get Vertical Grain D.Fir which would give you the best appearance and durability you would need to upgrade to that any of the 3 brands and it would increase the price by probably 30 - 40 percent (and not worth that in my mind).


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Thanks for the quick reply, im leaning now towards the Kolbe product, might save me about $8K. Marvins are nice just the rep is not very helpful.

How about going with a tri pane vs. dual glazing, the price difference is within 12-15%?


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Other on here will chime in as the whether it is worth it or not. I am not super intune with residential glazing these days so I will leave that to one of the others guys. However I would think triple pane would not really be necessary in your area.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Can't go wrong with any of the choices listed above. For the 12-15% premium for triple pane, I would rather see that several thousands of dollars spent on other retrofits such as air sealing and insulation.

Do you have a window schedule handy that you can email or attach?

I think the Kolbe is a really good choice in this case and you can't go wrong with either that or the Marvin.

Loewen is great too.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Have you looked into triple pane with Marvin. I think the wash feature on the Marvin casements is unmatched by any other window on the market. Also, Marvin's standard paint finish is the best paint finish available for aluminum. The paint finish meets the toughest AAMA2605 standard. Please make sure the other two brands you are considering meet this standard. Kolbe's standard finish meets only AAMA2604. They do offer an upgrade to the 2605, which is standard for Marvin. Not sure about Loewen's paint finish, but if they don't specifically say they meet AASM2605 they do not. All ofthe the aluminum on Marvin is extruded aluminum. Kolbe has different lines of windows and some of them have roll-formed aluminum. To give you a perspective, think of an aluminum can, not much strength, dents easily. Not pozitive, but I am pretty sure Loewen uses extruded aluminum. You also mentioned alternative species. Loewen's fir is a mixed grain, not a vertical grain fir like Marvin. Marvin does offer a mixed grain as an option. When doing other species, let's say oak, Marvin uses all oak when they construct the window. They do not put an oak veneer over pine like other window manufacturers. Using the same type of wood offers stability. Not saying the otbers are bad, just trying to show some differencez that I think make Marvin better.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Have you looked into triple pane with Marvin. I think the wash feature on the Marvin casements is unmatched by any other window on the market. Also, Marvin's standard paint finish is the best paint finish available for aluminum. The paint finish meets the toughest AAMA2605 standard. Please make sure the other two brands you are considering meet this standard. Kolbe's standard finish meets only AAMA2604. They do offer an upgrade to the 2605, which is standard for Marvin. Not sure about Loewen's paint finish, but if they don't specifically say they meet AASM2605 they do not. All ofthe the aluminum on Marvin is extruded aluminum. Kolbe has different lines of windows and some of them have roll-formed aluminum. To give you a perspective, think of an aluminum can, not much strength, dents easily. Not pozitive, but I am pretty sure Loewen uses extruded aluminum. You also mentioned alternative species. Loewen's fir is a mixed grain, not a vertical grain fir like Marvin. Marvin does offer a mixed grain as an option. When doing other species, let's say oak, Marvin uses all oak when they construct the window. They do not put an oak veneer over pine like other window manufacturers. Using the same type of wood offers stability. Not saying the otbers are bad, just trying to show some differencez that I think make Marvin better.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Yes chris, and I was remiss in not saying to only go with the Ultra series with Kolbe as that is the all extruded aluminum line. And the finish on the Ultra is a standard AMAA2605-05 finish. And Kolbe is the same way if you go with an alternate species the entire unit is the alternate species.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

I am a new forum member here and also is in the final stages of picking a window manufacturer, we are using aluminum clad (Ultra series) and folding doors out to the back yard.

We have narrowed our search down to Marvin vs Kolbe and have their revised quotes. Marvin comes in at about 10k more. I started looking for online feedback for those who have had both products installed after a few years.

Having read many of the online post installation reviews, I have seen many negative Kolbe reviews re: quality, rotting and leaking after a few years and warranty difficulties in dealing with the manufacturer or reseller.

We are picking the aluminum clad windows for the house with folding doors out to the back yard. We had favored the Kolbe quote over Marvin as it seemed to have better pricing and look. But now I am a bit scared as even on trying to find any positive post installation/usage reviews of Kolbe, I haven't found any. I haven't seen much negative reviews of Marvin (but again seem hard to find positive reviews) but the consensus seems to be they stand behind any problems with the windows post installation.

If anyone could give me some feedback on their experiences on Kolbe or Marvin, I would truly appreciate it!


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

In all honesty I have sold both products. The service was about the same, maybe a little quicker from Marvin (bigger distributor, closer proximity). But other than that no appreciable difference, negative reviews tend to be more prevalent as a satisfied customer generally does not come back to review, and a negative customer wants to vent. Both have had their respective issues thru the years and in my opinion both have lived up to those issues.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Not much that hasn't been said here. These 3 are pretty much the cream of the crop in wood windows... As far as complaints are concerned, many folks simply don't realize that you can't just "set it and forget it" with a wood window. Especially in newer homes, I see busy families that keep the thermal shades closed in the extra bedroom for the past 10 years, and then they are surprised to find a rotted, moldy window.
on triple pane, I agree with WoW's comments above regarding other areas for improvement in energy savings. Can't argue with that unless this is a new construction project.
The one thing that I will say, is that with the energy star requirement going down to a u value of .27 for 2014 (northern zone), that will require triple pane unless they make some other major changes between now and then... Either way, with a project of that magnitude, you might give consideration to a better performing glass package than what merely meets the current .30 requirement.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

I have been going back and forth with all three manufacturers and surprisingly the quotes are all within $3K. Comparing apples to apples we are all coming in very close. Sounds like marvin has a very well represented dealer network, the loewen has least amount of service and Kolbe reasonably well serviced. Its amazing how much crap the reps talk about the competition and telling outright lies. Im probably gonna select the least abrasive and most honest salesman based on this experience.

I am having difficulties finding a decent front entry way, looking for a 6,0 x 8,0 eyebrow top with sidelites and transoms. It seems to be all custom job with pricing coming in around 16K


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

I like your way of thinking :)
On the door, definitely going to be a pricey endeavor.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

I installed all Kolbe EP Ultras in my new home. It is still under construction, however I would highly recommend them. For me the tri pane was worth the upcharge since the home is super insulated with extremely low air infiltration rates. It needs a good, insulated window with solar gains to make the overal design perform. the u on the windows is around .22 and lower depending on the elevation the window is going in. However as mentioned, in OH, focus on insulating and air sealing other areas first prior to investing in the triple pane. I am in zone 6, so it did make SOME sense.
check out my blog for more information on the windows.

Here is a link that might be useful: home building blog


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

More pictures of the outside where the land is lzerarc.

Looking good so far. Great blog!!!


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Get the Marvin or Loewen, trust me on this one...

This post was edited by Esko on Thu, May 23, 13 at 14:36


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Updates?

As stated by Homesealed, it is now 2014 and the Energy Star requirements are now more stringent, especially in northern NY. I have a quote from a local Loewen dealer for $16,000 for 11 windows (mostly casement), all of which are Heat Smart T glazing (triple-pane, argon-filled, low-E) with u values ranging from .12 to .13. I am yet to get a quote on Marvin, Kolbe, and Pella, all of whom make similar u-value windows.
Any thoughts?


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

The numbers I see for Loewen triple glaze are .2 which is the same as Kolbe. Marvin I believe is .23 or .24 (all of which are sufficient). Pella I don't believe is to the same level of quality as the previous mentioned. Kolbe and Marvin are worth getting quoted, same level of quality. You might get a few more options at a better value from Kolbe, but depends on who quotes it.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Actually, if you go to their web site, they do quote 0.12 for their best windows.

http://www.loewen.com/doors/features/glazing/index.html


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

Actually, if you go to their web site, they do quote 0.12 for their best windows.

http://www.loewen.com/doors/features/glazing/index.html


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

That number is the center of the glass U factor. The U factor of the entire unit is a much better indication.

http://www.loewen.com/app/loewen/test/architect/performance/nfrcRatings/index.html


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

In comparing windows, how do you know which U factor is being used by the manufacturer? Glass or entire window?


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

U-Factor is only for the full unit.

If someone is quoting COG (Center of Glass), they are full of it unless they are clearly defining that.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

either way the best number is from that link I gave.


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RE: Loewen vs. Kolbe vs. Marvin

As the other guys stated, total unit u factor is the only legitimate rating. Some manufacturers and dealers talk about center of glass ratings but they are worthless, and used only to mislead in the context of shopping for replacement windows.


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