The primary materials used to fabricate residential windows are wood, fiberglass, and vinyl. Wood was the material of choice for centuries and can still perform extremely well, assuming a top quality product such as Marvin is utilized. Wood windows do require ongoing maintenance on the exterior, assuming a painted finish is desired. To minimize painting, many customers opt for aluminum clad windows these days. Clad wood windows as they’re known provide the warmth of wood interiors with the durability of pre-finished aluminum cladding on the exterior.
While some manufacturers use a process known as roll forming to produce the cladding for their products, Marvin chooses to use aluminum extrusions. The difference is quite apparent. Roll formed aluminum is generally very lightweight. The products produced from it usually have soft, eased edges that may give the window or door a “pillowed” appearance. By contrast extruded aluminum is much thicker and has very crisp edges, just as you’d find on well machined wood. This is but one of many reasons Marvin products are greatly preferred for historic applications as well as installations in fine buildings. These extrusions are coated with Flurospar®, a fluoropolymer finish with 70% Kynar 500® —– a proprietary finish that we’ve found to be extremely tough and having very good fade resistance.
Fiberglass windows from Integrity by Marvin are another option. Fiberglass is an inert material, so it’s unaffected by moisture. It’s also very strong, rigid, and stable – all desirable properties for window components. The Integrity by Marvin line is fabricated from Ultrex, a patented fiberglass product that outperforms and outlasts vinyl, roll-form aluminum and other fiberglass composites. This material is eight times stronger than vinyl and three times stronger than vinyl/wood composites. It’s also fade, chalk, peel and crack resistant. It can be left unfinished, or if a wood interior is desired, the fiberglass can have an authentic wood veneer applied to it.
After seeing numerous vinyl window failures, it’s our professional opinion that most vinyl windows should be avoided, especially in instances where there’s a desire to maintain historical appearance. In addition, vinyl can be a very problematic material, especially in climates with extreme temperature swings. And since servicing vinyl windows is often impossible, we believe it would be irresponsible for us to advocate installing such a product. Read our full blog on The Myths about Vinyl Windows