Marvin Windows, Marvin Integrity Windows, Marvin Infinity Windows.
Do your replacement windows need replacing? If you’re window shopping and looking at Marvin Windows, these are product lines you’ll see on their website. What are the differences?
Don’t worry, Old House Guy’s Marvin Window reviews are here to help!
Marvin doesn’t mean to make things confusing (at least I don’t think they do). They need to offer a variety of window products for those homeowners who care more, and for those who care less about the appearance of their house.
If you’re reading this you may be considering purchasing new replacement windows. That is not good for if you have your original wood windows, almost all windows can be restored and the appearance will not be compromised by replacing them.
All deteriorated original wood windows can be restored but replacement windows cannot. If you need to replace your replacement window Marvin is a good choice.
Old House Guy’s Marvin window reviews will make shopping simpler for you. We will examine Marvin Full Line, Marvin Integrity Windows, and Marvin Infinity Windows and compare the differences. You must be an educated consumer and also a responsible steward of an older home. Curb appeal and respect for architecture are our priorities and we hope yours too!
If you are new to this site you MUST first read our windows pages. Click here and we explain the truth about windows, energy efficiency, and window design . These are all important pages so take your time and read them carefully. Come back to this page after and you will understand it so much better!
First off understand that there is a Sash Only Replacement and a Full Window Replacement. You should choose the Sash Only for that means the window casing you currently have will remain and not be ruined by a bad design. The information in this article is about the Full Replacement.
Let me first explain that Marvin Windows are different from Marvin Integrity Windows and Marvin Infinity Windows yet they are all Marvin windows! The Marvin Window series is sometimes referred to by dealers as Marvin Full Line Windows. It’s essential to know the differences to ensure you get the correct window for your house.
The following is a chart comparing the key features you must look for. Below that is my recommendation.
Marvin Window Reviews for Sash & Casing Replacement.
Click to enlarge chart.
Marvin Infinity Windows
I will not waste your time explaining Marvin Infinity Windows. Marvin Infinity is a one-piece unit for builders or homeowners who do not care about curb appeal. Stay away from this one.
Marvin Integrity Windows
Marvin Integrity Windows start with two main choices. One has a wood interior and fiberglass exterior. The other is fiberglass on both the interior and exterior.
This is a decent window but I do NOT recommend it. Why not?
The main reason this window is not recommended is because of the window casing. The only window casing styles offered are 3.5 inches wide. A window casing must be at least 4.5 inches to appear strong enough to support a window. This 3.5 inch width may not seem that skinny when looking at one window, but when looking at the front of a house you will see and feel something is lacking.
My second reason against using Marvin Integrity Windows is paint colors. If you would like your window sash a different color from the window casing and jamb, you cannot do it. Read this article on painting window sash and you will see the problem. If you prefer your window sash to match your trim then the only problem is the window casing size.
Simulated Divided Lights (SDL) are the best choice offered here. This is not nearly as good as True Divided Lights (TDL), as you’ve read about on my windows page. You did read these pages didn’t you? Because I’m not going to explain it again!
Marvin Windows – (Marvin Full Line Windows)
Marvin Windows is also referred to as Marvin Full Line Windows. This makes it confusing because Marvin Infinity and Marvin Integrity are also Marvin Windows product lines. It’s best to use the term Marvin Full Line to avoid any more confusion.
Here Marvin offers two options. Both are wood windows but one is clad in aluminum on the exterior. The aluminum clad is referred to as Marvin Next Generation Ultimate Double Hung.
Both of these lines offer a few styles but they are either picture-framed or not designed as a traditional window we all expect. Some are absent of a window sill.
The styles in this series I recommend are:
Flat Casing Flush with Sill Nosing
Flat Casing Ranch Style with Sill Nosing.
The all wood window and the clad aluminum window are both good windows but there is more flexibility with the wood window than the clad aluminum. One benefit is with the all wood option you can replace your window sash only, instead of replacing the casing or buying what you don’t need.
As with the Marvin Integrity there are many 3.5 inch casings to choose from. For the clad aluminum Next Generation window, avoid these and choose a wider casing such as the Potter-Part-2 which is a nice 4.5 inches wide. (The Potter-Part-1 is an extra piece of trim that is for a certain style window.)
With the all wood window any custom casing can be made.
The all wood window also offers True Divided Lights (TDL). The clad aluminum window only offers Simulated Divided Lights (SDL).
With the wood window Marvin will customize your window to the exact historic specifications. For the best curb appeal, Marvin Full Line in all wood is the best option and OHG recommended.
Although the cost is about 25% higher, what you are getting is the closest thing to a replacement of your original window. The other window lines are not replacements but distortions of what your house had or should have had.
Still the best option is to maintain your original windows and get them properly restored. Better for your house, the environment, and your wallet.
For a fully custom top of the line window, the Marvin Signature Series windows will create any ornate window to your specifications.
I previously had Marvin tilt-pack replacements and they are now falling apart 25 years after installation. I am willing to give Marvin a second try and I had intended to (although was still a bit unsure as to exactly which model), but this article is really helpful because it clearly explains the differences – the chart is an EXCELLENT aid! It’s nice to be sure of something when there are so many possible bad choices.
I have a turn of the century vernacular victorian, with mostly first generation white vinyl replacement windows. Don’t get me started on how much they suck! I do have some original windows in the attic, basement, and one accent window. Those are staying for sure. I am looking at the Marvin Next Generation Ultimate Double Hung replacement sash only. Do you have an opinion on that type? I plan on 1 over 1 lights, because the original regular windows are gone, and the remaining decorative windows have a diamond pattern true divided light design. Oh, the reglazing!
Ken Roginski says
I’m glad you asked this question which stumped me. I called Marvin and found that the Next Generation window falls under the Marvin category as a their clad window. The Next Generation is the name they use. I will update my info.
Any opinion you provide would greatly inform my decision-making ordeal.
Marvin has not made a next generation clad insert replacement window yet and the next generation product is for their aluminum clad product only. you would need to look at the clad ultimate insert double hung.
We purchased Marvin Windows about 9 years ago when we were building a new home. They gave us inferior windows which were the end of an old style they were closing out. Their reply was “well someone had to get the windows”. Their solution to the problem was to have us repurchase new windows and they would return our money when we returned the “old” windows. That would have been doable except that we would have had to pay our builder to take out the old windows and install the new windows which wasn’t affordable. This past winter when I tried to open some of the windows they were stuck shut. Not a very happy customer and would definitely not recommend Marvin Windows.
John Leeke says
>>Marvin doesn’t mean to make things confusing (at least I don’t think they do).<<
Well, of course they mean it. It is a well-known corporate marketing tactic to purposely confuse the consumer. Why? Because it is far easier to see confused people stuff they don't need. Like disposable windows. The corporate window manufacturers don't even make windows, they make money. The objects they make look enough like windows that it is easy to dupe confused consumers into paying money for them.
Kelly JK says
I just nearly ripped several of my fingernails off attempting to close one of our home’s shoddy first-gen vinyl replacement windows and got mad enough to start my “new windows” search in earnest (when I should be working from home today…oops). I got to your Marvin windows review because they were the first brand I thought of based on ads I’ve been seeing in *This Old House* magazine for a while. I read some of your other window articles here and kind of want to cry…some previous steward of our 1940 gable-front cottage obviously was duped into removing the original windows for vinyl replacements, and now my husband and I have been suffering with the consequences of that decision for the past 5 years. (Can you believe the realtor used “replacement windows” as a selling point? These things are terrible…and continue to get worse as they age)!
Anyway, I’m wondering if you’d recommend some other window brands besides the Marvin Full Line…our house is small and would only need 10 windows in total (though, in several different sizes), so I’m willing to pay more premium prices to get something that will last and look historically appropriate (and not injure me when I attempt to operate them). Something that complicates (maybe?) the decision to undertake this project is that we’ll be looking to completely change the rest of the exterior of our house (siding, spoutings, etc. to replace the tired and ugly aluminum siding someone else also thought was a good idea 25-30+ years ago) sometime in the next few years when budgets allow. Would getting new, premium windows in the nearer term present problems when we later go to do these other improvements?
Thanks for reading…I’m newer to the world of owning an old house (like I said, husband and I have only been in this house for about 5 years), but I love it and want to be a good steward while correcting some of the hideous mistakes that were made to this place in the past!
Ken Roginski says
Hi Kelly, I know Kolbe has some good windows but have not studied them like the others. Hopefully I will have a chance this winter to write a blog on them.
We are putting an addition on our 1936 Georgian Revival. Our Kolbe windows are on site; the install begins in a few hours. Our sales rep has been wonderful! The original portion of the home has windows that you would not approve of. Not our doing. They are about eight years old and were not properly installed. They actually leak. The home is on the Histoical Registry, so I was sad to discover this. Moisture leads to problems! They are not histoically accurate, so I am excited about the Kolbe windows for our addition. We had to choose impact windows, so we were limited. Thank you for all of the great information on your website! A valuable resource indeed! I have three original windows in the garage and intend to keep them!
Don’t count on an “experienced” builder to install correctly nor the building inspectors to catch. Know someone whose upper story vinyl windows were leaking and and no one could figure out why. Finally an older carpenter came on site for some interior trim work (bookcases) for same remodel project, looked up when in front yard/then went upstairs and said “do you know your windows are installed upside down?” Most folks apparently thought something was off but couldn’t seem to pinpoint why. The owners weren’t even using the upstairs at that point so other than noticing the water from comments made by subs they hadn’t really taken a good look. Anyway they were leaking because the weep holes were now at top and during heavy windy storms, water was getting into the windows. Supposedly, they were at bottom so if any storm rain got blown in or heavy condensation, it would have somewhere to go. I’d never heard of such a thing happening nor seen windows with weep holes just storms but I haven’t really looked at complete vinyl system window sections. It cost them a fortune to have 5 or 6 windows uninstalled and re-installed properly upon which there were no more problems. The builder had moved onto an out of town job and would never fix issue – just kept putting them off. The owners sued (won) but if and when they will get money back is huge question as the guy has others standing in line after 3 yrs and still no money. The last I heard they were trying to get his license pulled and it seems he moves around from community to community and state to state. They most likely still won’t get their money but he won’t be able to easily rip off others. Some of the other winning suits don’t want to join with them because they said they would never get money back and feel everyone is on their own to make sure they get a decent builder, i.e., they got caught. Nice folks…huh, just worry about self.
It is really a nice and helpful piece of info. Im glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Thanks for sharing.
Tommy H says
I recently purchased 27 Marvin Ultimate Next Generation windows and could not be more dissatisfied. The windows are very flimsy, the double hung windows do not operate as advertised, very cheaply constructed with finger-jointed scrap wood!!
For example, to open the upper sash you must first raise and tilt the lower sash in order to access the latches on the upper sash! You also must employ the use of special Marvin tools to tilt the lower sash. Two large fixed sash windows are so loose in their frames that you could easily push it out of its frame with one finger!! The latch mechanism is actuated by a small string inside of the lower sash. You are much better off to repair your old windows and save your money!
I can’t recommend which window brand you ought to buy, but I can definitely recommend which window brand you should never even consider. Do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, buy a Marvin window. They not only rot prematurely (right after the warranty runs out) but their casement cranks break and their double panes fog up; just a few of the many problems yo can count on with Marvin windows. Marvin is very good at taking your money, but once they have it, you can forget about them taking your phone call when you call with a problem about one (and eventually all) of their windows. Marvin sells an image, not a quality product. Don’t be sucked in by the image. Search the internet and see. Marvin windows are the worst!
E Weiss says
Same here I have a house full of Marvin Windows they are all rotting and falling apart. No help from Marvin.
I need to replace all my windows
CHERY KOTARSKI says
We found two casement windows that were clad, bottom of sash had rotted. didn’t know until just opened to paint inside wood. Called Marvin told out of warranty! We have Andersen casements in other room and none have rotten and they are over 35 years old!!
Marvin’s website provides excellent how-two instructions, troubleshooting tools and how-two videos. You might be interested to know that the tool you’re describing is specific to Ultimate Double Hung Next Generation windows ordered with non-tilt sash. Clearly, this is not a defect in the product.
It sounds like your problems are due to the installation. If your sashes are “loose” in the frame, then they are not properly shimmed, which also effects the lock mechanism, which is why you are having to lift and tilt the bottom sash to get to the latches, if they were installed properly you wouldn’t need to do this, or need to get to the latches at all, as it is designed to release at the lock. I would seriously check for square, level and shimmed properly, this will solve your issues.You could have gotten them non-finger jointed for ‘stained’ applications as well.
K Holm says
Most purists will say keep your old windows and just spend a little money to restore them back to their old glory. With new putty and with some weatherstripping you can make an old window new. I’m a house painter who worked on old houses and yes you can do that. But it will depends on the overall condition of the frames and sashes whether you can do that or not.
I have a 1910 shirtwaist house in Kansas City that I’m restoring as best I can. Last year I had Marvin windows installed on the first floor. My first floor windows are just basic 1/1 and in not very good shape. The originals look like they were Douglas Fir and were stained to match the red oak woodwork that was original to the house. I”ve always liked wood windows and since I live in an historical neighborhood I went with wood. I had new vertical grain Douglas Fir windows installed that matched the old ones and they are wood on the exterior as well. Don’t care for the look of clad windows. And if you don’t like the color sometimes painting clad windows can be a real drag.
I love them and they look great. I painted them on the exterior to match and will stain the inside when the interior restoration is done.
I also installed Marvin’s ultimate insert double hungs in my attic. I’m guessing they are about 20 years old. The old windows were shot. When the wind blowed the whole house moved. I have never had any problems with the inserts. Easy to install and the fact I didn’t have to remove all the trim and everything was the reason I bought them.
As with anything in this world. Some folks will hate some company’s and others will love them. Best advice I can give you. Research, research, research. Then go look at the different products, read the reviews and go ask folks.
Camille A Azar says
Hi – I have a cape cod house in Kansas City, and it still has its original windows…if you are in Kansas City, I would love to get your advice on how to restore these beautiful original windows.
Michelle T says
My husband and I built our dream home 4 years ago. Every window we have in our home is a Marvin Integrity Window. What a mistake. The windows look beautiful in the summer and early fall, until Wisconsin winter weather turns to below zero. The first winter (and every winter since) we spent in our home all of our windows had a frost build up around the bottom portion of the window. I contacted Marvin and even had a representative come out to our house so I could show them exactly what I was talking about. (My windows didn’t look like they were in a new home but a older home that had leaky windows) The representative was so unprofessional. As I explained why I was disappointment in the windows he smiled arrogantly and told me my carpenter wrap my house too tight and I should contact him about this issue. Of course I contacted my carpenter and he told me that he did nothing different to my home and that there is rules he needs to follow and assured me everything was done correctly. Customer service with Marvin has been absolutely terrible. They just don’t care about the product they put out. I recommended Marvin to a friend that was building a home at the same time and they have the same problem as well and received the same response from Marvin. Point of the matter….find a different window company when building a new home
So glad I saw these posts. We have a 1926 English Tudor. Replaced 19 original windows. Biggest mistake was going with Marvin Integrity Casements. We have had the same problems with frost/condensation build up. We were told it was the an installation problem. Not true. The pegs that hold the screens in place are plastic and break easily. These are cheap windows at an expensive price!! We thought we were the only ones with these problems.
Some objective information regarding weatherproofing and window performance courtesy of the MN Dept of Commerce, Energy Information Center. Again, readily accessible from the manufacturer.
I too have had terrible experience with Marvin company. You can’t open the windows because the side mechanism breaks when you lift the window up about 5 inches. I had them come out to fix supposedly but after a couple times of lifting them – they broke again and had someone come out again and he said the right piece wasn’t replace. Now windows are out of warranty and Marvin wants to charge big bucks to fix. My picture window with crank outs – within warranty – the picture window rotted on the interior. Alum clad exterior Ultimate, wood interior. They replaced the picture window unit but wouldn’t you know, next year the 2 side crank outs rotted and now that’s out of warranty so they want me to pay another $800 to replace those side units. When they came out to replace the pic window the installer told me it was a poor design and they had been having problems. Wouldn’t you think as a company they would have replaced all 3 pieces? I had put 21 Marvins in. I am so unhappy with this company. And the remarks regarding Marvin’s customer service is right on. They do NOT stand behind their product. They’re terrible.
These guys are awful. We battled them each year from 2007 to 2015. Our windows leaked air from day one. Every winter, we would contact them about leaky windows. They would try certain things to get the windows to stop leaking air but no matter what they did, it just never really seemed to solve the issue.
Finally in 2015, they gave up trying to band-aid and duct tape their lousy product. They offered to give us a partial credit toward the purchase of new Marvin Windows. We had to pay for the labor on the installation.
We figured that this would take care of the leaky Windows and we finally pulled the trigger and spent $8,000.00 of our own money (this doesn’t include the partial credit they offered us) and installed new Marvin Windows.
Guess what? THE NEW WINDOWS LEAK AIR TOO!!!!! Of course they blame the installers, the painters, the insulation guys and do not stand behind their product. They have a now informed me that if I want anything additional done to the windows, I have to hire a third-party investigative team to see if the windows actually leak (or if I’m just plain nuts) and I have to spend additional money in order to do that. They said if they find that the windows are indeed leaking, they will (at their own discretion) replace the windows. Hilarious.
These guys are a joke. Stay clear of this company and spend your money elsewhere. There are plenty of other companies that can manufacture a product and will hopefully stand behind it.
Robert Marshall says
What company did you finally go with?\
Thanks. Robert in Kentucky
JASON DAVIDOFF says
GREAT INFO OHG. IN YOUR OPINION IS THE MARVIN FULL LINE ALL WOOD WINDOW THE BEST THING OUT THERE .WE ARE DOING NEW CONSTRUCTION AND WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE OLD HOUSE LOOK. TOO BAD WE CANT HAVE MANUFACTURERS THAT ARE SIMPLY BUILDING THE SAME WINDOW AND DOOR DESIGNS THAT CAME OFF THE TRAIN BACK IN THE THE OLD DAYS. I KNOW ENERGY LAWS ARE DICTATING WHAT IS BEING PRODUCED. I TOO HAVE OFTEN THOUGHT THAT YOU COULD USE THESE OLD DESIGNS OF SINGLE PANE TRUE DIVIDED LIGHTS ALL WOOD IN CONJUNCTION WITH GOOD STORM WINDOWS OR INTERIOR SHUTTERS TO ACHIEVE A SIMILAR ENERGY LEVEL. THE LOOK OF NEW CONSTRUCTION AND OLD HOUSES WITH NEW WINDOWS IS AWFUL. AROUND THE HUDSON VALLEY WE HAVE MANY OLD HOUSES BEING RUINED WITH VINYL SIDING NEW WINDOWS AND PORK CHOPS, ETC.. WITH THE TECHNOLOGY WE HAVE IN THE MODERN WORLD, IT WOULD BE RELATIVELY EASY TO HAVE A COMPANY MASS PRODUCING THESE 6 OVER 6 , 2 OVER 2 , ETC… WINDOWS THAT WE SEE ON THE OLD HOUSES ALL AROUND US. WHY NOT? DO WE JUST NOT CARE ABOUT BEAUTY ANYMORE? IT MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR SOMEONE THAT DOES CARE ABOUT BEAUTY TO SOURCE OUT THE RIGHT MATERIALS AND EXCEEDINGLY EXPENSIVE. WHERE SOMEONE MUST BE WEALTHY AND HAVE GOOD TASTE TO BUILD WITH BEAUTY AND THE FEW WITH GOOD TASTE BUT NOT THE WEALTH ARE S**T OUT OF LUCK. SORRY TO RANT. i LOVE YOUR BLOG ANYWAY. iT HAS BEEN VERY HELPFUL AND THANK YOU FOR PUTTING IT OUT THERE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE.
Barbara OReilly says
My top of the line Marvin windows are all rotting. While under warranty, I had 4 of my 33 windows replaced, with the labor at my expense. The leakage in one of those windows eventually caused me to need to replace rotted siding that I was not aware of when the window was replaced. At first, I appreciated Marvin’s willingness to replace the lower sashes in my problem windows. Now that I am off warranty, they admit that there is a manufacturing defect. Too bad for me, the warranty is over. I currently have 5 windows with rotted lower sashes – over $1500 to replace those, then I suppose that the rest will rot. I hate to give another dime to Marvin, but will be forced to, as I don’t want to replace 33 complete windows.
Craig t says
I have similar problems with our Marvin wood windows. We installed casements in the early 1990’s. The exterior casing is rotting and the sash(?) of one window has also rotted. Unfortunately we didn’t realize this when we used Marvin again in 2000. Same problem with these newer windows. Rotting has occurred on casement, double hung and fixed window styles. Marvin will not offer anything, but happy to sell me replacements.
I am building an addition on my 1929 bungalow. I would love to find old windows to put in the addition as I have all of my original windows in the house and I love them. I have been able to find one reclaimed window that we will use and I am saving two windows from a wall that will be taken down and reusing those. I have not been able to find a reclaimed window for my new breakfast nook kitchen though. I am looking for the 4 over 1 double hung windows, with two double hungs side by side, framed together.
Do you have any suggestions? Should I look at the Marvin all wood windows you described above or is there another source that I should look into?
Thank you for your helpful website. Old windows are the best. ALl of the people who talk about how wonderful replacement windows are make me crazy. I want windows that will last as long as the rest of the house. What I wouldn’t give to find an old window in the frame to match what I have in the rest of the house.
Ken Roginski says
Best to have Marvin make you a custom window to your specifications. Reall all the info on my windows pages so you can make an informed decision. Good luck!
Rich M says
Do not buy Marvin Windows!!!
We are extremely disappointed with our experience with the Marvin tilt and turn and stationary windows (wood inside, aluminum clad outside, low E IG w/Argon) we purchased for our porch.
We purchased (7) 3.5’x5.5’ tilt turn and (8) stationary windows, of the same size, for our porch in 1996. Within the 10 years warranty we had to contact Marvin because several were leaking at the bottom. Most were the stationary windows. A customer service rep came and caulked the outside bottoms in 2004.
Since our warranty had expired it has needed to be caulked several times by myself.
This spring 9!! Of these 15 large porch windows were leaking and forming puddles of water on the porch. It would have been much more of a mess if carpeted rather than tiled as it is.
All other windows in the house are Pella and we have had no leaks of any kind.
I give this review out of frustration and a documentation of the poor manufacturing quality. Note that most of the leakers were stationary and only a few of the tilt turn were a problem.
Mike M says
I live in Houston TX. And, I was shocked at this blog with all negative comments, Whoa. Is the the rail on Marvin page?
We have 28 windows! And I have never felt disappointed or had regrets.
We remodeled a 1936 house 6 yrs ago. With our climate, wood was too risky, and aluminum was out of the question (sweats, ugly, didn’t fit our architecture). We compared Integrity fiberglass to similar Pella. Marvin offered white on the inside that matched the interior trim and a cream color on the exterior that matched our trim, so that was the main driver for Marvin over Pella, There wasn’t a big difference in price
We lucked out on the installer, who was very prescriptive, He would only use Mahogany stripping when casing the windows. With a 1936 house, nothing is square, nothing is the same.
Craig t says
I assume the mahogany trim was on the inside, tight? Isn’t the exterior casing of the integrity line fiberglass?
Paula Carver says
We THOUGHT we bought all Marvin Windows (have invoices to prove it!) but now that we are having issues with the glass seal breaking I was just told sorry, the glass says “Integrity” made by Marvin. (Integrity has a Limited warranty in case you didn’t know.)
So it looks like our “lifetime glass warranty” just doesn’t apply to us. You MAY PAY for Marvin but your GLASS may not be Marvin. Get out your magnifying glasses. Examine bottom corners.
BUYER BEWARE OF THE MARVIN SO-CALLED LIFETIME WARRANTY. GET IT IN WRITING. (that’s what the guy they sent out said along with dancing around the issue. Lots of hullabaloo. I quickly realized they were not going to uphold the warranty.
I am of course furious and under no circumstances would I recommend this brand.
Ken Roginski says
It is a Marvin window. Marvin Integrity is just a very cheap product line. You can’t expect to get a lifetime warranty with a disposable window that is not made to be fixed.
I see a lot if confused information here; Both Marvin and integrity offer a 20 year glass warranty for seal and 10 year on product; no lifetime warranty so if you were told that you were misled. You can see all warranty info online on their site. Both are radically different products being that Marvin is primarily a wood substrate with option of an aluminum clad exterior with highly rated 70% Kynar finish. integrity is a pultruded fiberglass substrate under the brand name Ultrex which is really just clad with a 7/16″ wood interior on the wood ultrex line ( there is an all ultrex version w/o wood) . It is still run by the Marvin family, not your typical corporation and I would say they are very aware of their name attached to their product.
Integrity is a bit less but manufactured differently in a different factory. The Ultrex is a not an inexpensive material, but the line has more limitations in design compared to the Marvin product line and was designed in part to fil a particular niche in the market with a better quality material. This with a 2 week lead time and stream line mfgring keeps the price point a bit lower.
There are folks selling integrity as a cheap Marvin , but they are radically different in composition so it may come down to preference on material and aesthetics. I have seen both products used in multimillion dollar spec homes and custom homes.
My house is 130 years old. The original double-hung windows are in fair condition, mostly. A lot of them won’t stay up, which drives my wife mad. Our storm windows are from the mid-20th Century, are corroded, have broken handles and screens, and are next to useless. We are strongly leaning towards replacing the windows because a friend of ours with an old home had his double hung windows fully restored and after $1500+ per window, the positive changes were not that noticeable, in terms of ease of operation and air infiltration, AND he still has to get new storm windows (he can’t afford them at present!), and the process was messy, involving sanding, painting, etc. that made a lot of lead dust airborne in the house (we have a small child so would like to avoid this). My main issue is that my house is not in a super-high-value area, where it would automatically make sense to really invest in high-quality restoration, storms, etc. Our house is in a medium-value area, and my wife and I want a warm, energy-efficient home. Can you advise me, based on these realities? If we were to go for restoration, can you recommend an exterior storm window that would provide very good thermal insulation, plus ease of use in summer (screens, etc.)? Again, all of this is bearing in mind that we are not in a very high-value area. Thank you!
Ken Roginski says
Hi Paul. The fact that you are not in a high value area should not mean that your house does not need to look good. Having an old home comes with a lot of extra work and mess. The only way you can really avoid a mess and avoid the scraping and sanding is by living in an apartment. There will always be a lot of negatives to working on a project and people will always use them to justify the easy way out. Who’s to say your neighborhood will not improve? Don’t be the one to give in.
There are many types of storms. Again it seems like you want the easy way out and that would be a triple track storm. They look ugly but at least you will be saving your windows. For more inconvenience and a better look there are double track (Quanta Panel)and single track (Allied) storms. But to get the better look you have less convenience.
It’s the same with a dining room table. Formica is easy to clean and maintain. You don’t need protective pads when serving. Is that really what you want. That’s probably one of the root problems with restoration and everything today. People just want things to be too easy.
Hello Ken — I read your response to Paul, in which you’re saying it is unfortunate that Paul wants an “easy” solution to his window problem. And you often lament that most people are leaning in that direction, and they should not be doing that to those old homes. Did you miss the part where Paul says he has a small child, and wants to avoid he dust problem that restoring many windows creates. Lead poisoning in children is not a trivial matter. It happened in my family (and the child lived in a clean home, with no visible dust) – it affected his development, and the rest of his life.
Also, please consider that in today’s world many people simply don’t have the time and resources to do those things up to your super-high standard — and I’m saying this as someone who loves and admires old houses, and wants them to be properly restored.
I am about to start restoring/renovating an 1897 house that needs so much work it’s overwhelming and on certain days downright depressing. I realize that most people in my neighborhood would not be able to afford what we are about to do — and if attempting a renovation, they would need to compromise, or nothing would get done.
It’s one thing to spoil details on an old house out of ignorance, and another thing if doing things right would require that you spend all the money a person saved for retirement. Old houses are important, but people trying to avoid impoverishment in old age is also important.
I respect your high standards and your efforts to educate people on correct ways to do things. But I think you should have more sympathy for people who cannot uphold those highest standards — and they need help and advice from people like you to find solutions that are realistic and affordable to them.
Ken Roginski says
Hi Eva, I guess it comes down to doing what is right for the house or for your family. Sometimes it’s difficult to do both. To get good replacement windows that don’t ruin the look of the house is very expensive. I am happy to advertise for Heirloom Windows for they are a small business that makes a great window that is affordable – which still adds up to a lot of money if replacing a lot of windows. Sometimes hiring a window restorer can be cheaper. Cheaper yet would be to do it all yourself. I agree that is difficult to not only budget the time but also deal with the possibility of lead dust. If one is in a position to only use cheap looking white replacements then I say it’s better to move. You don’t want to sacrifice your child’s health yet at the same time you don’t want to ruin the house. Not a good alternative for an old house lover but probably the best option for the house, child’s health, and pocketbook. Old houses are not for everybody.
What are your thoughts/review on Marvins Double Hung Chain And Pulley?
Ken Roginski says
Live in a 1910 Victorian. Struggling to find replacement windows for 52″ openings. Anderson doesn’t make. Looking at Marvin Ultimate Magnum double hung inserts. Will have to see if they’re willing to make.
I was also told about tilt pac sash replacements. Any thoughts about these?
I started to reading about Marvin Integrity Inserts
Also….Marvin uses aluminum..Integrity uses ultrex. I’ve read where aluminum can be cold and lead to mold.
Any advice would be recommended.
Live in New Jersey.
Ken Roginski says
Stick with wood and avoid those problems.
Aluminum on Marvin product is thermally isolated from the wood and although slightly higher in u value, the real question is how you feel about maintaining the wood. Integrity windows insert dh can actually fill the opening on a dh that width but you did not mention the height Integrity insert can go 54 x 84). Depending on the jamb depth, it is also possible to insert a full frame unit into the opening and trim out. Given the vernacular of the house, it may be more elegant to stick with the Marvin wood for the look but think abut the colors of the exterior and the look of the weatherstrip colors. Marvin has more traditional detailing that might be more commensurate with the look of the house and you may have more options on lite cuts in terms of simulated divided lite profiles.
In 2002, my wife and I built our first home. I am a residential general contractor and was convinced by my local lumber center to try the Marvin Integrity line of fiberglass clad windows. Well… after only 5 years the weather stripping began curling up and coming out of the tracks on my double hung units. In addition, the fiberglass cladding began to crack after only 6 years and started peeling 3 months after that. Was given the runaround by both Marvin and my dealer. Needless to say, I will never buy another Marving product…ever. Terrible customer service and warranty followup. I still have those windows in my home. They are still weathertight and provide adequate thermal protection. It just peeves me of the lack of “INTEGRITY”, pun intended… concerning the less than paper thin fiberglass clad system and weatherstripping. BEWARE!!!! I highly do not recommend this product. Pella, Pella, Pella, Period!
Some years ago I spent nearly a quarter million dollars on many Marvin doors and windows for my new home. The after sale service I received was atrocious. I will never by anything additional from them other then the parts we need to keep the doors and windows functioning. The purchase from Marvin was the worst mistake I made when I built my home. There are a few top line manufacturers of quality builders that other than Marvin that you may wish to look at if you desire top notch after sale support.
About 8 years ago I had all my windows in the house replaced with Marvin Integrity double hung. (20+ windows) My home was built in 1938 and wanted to keep the colonial looks so I purchased all the wood grates inserts as well. I am so disappointed in the quality of them and the screens as well. The plastic pegs break off and the grates fall apart so easily. I am so upset. If I had known this, I definately would have gone with the old reliable brand -Anderson’s. Not much I can do now but warn the next buyer>>>>
Ken Roginski says
First of all you purchased a cheap Marvin window. What would you expect? Never ever get inserts. You got what you paid for. Marvin makes a good window but you chose their bad one. There is a post explaining this. Also windows should be restored not replaced. Anderson also has bad windows but even the windows they sell as “good” are very bad. Don’t make another mistake.
Carver Jones says
No. 1: Do windows have to be “original” to be worth restoring vs, replacing? I have a 1939-built brick house (English country cottage style) with red clay tile roofing. Old records show that in 1987 the previous owners replaced all the “steel frame” windows with “Kolbe & Kolbe single pane true divided lite wood casement windows.” They all have interior storm windows, replaced seasonally with screens. I bought the house in 1995, and started seeing signs of word rot in some exterior sills in the late nineties and, by about 2008-10, in the bottom of several sashes. I had the windows and trim painted three times between 1999 and 2013, and did numerous wood repairs myself, using rotted wood hardener and epoxy. The deterioration continues, however, especially on three south-facing upper-floor windows where my most recent painters apparently painted over what was probably-detectable softness on the bottoms of the sashes. No other wood damage is evident, either inside or outside, although we we’ve often had significant cold-weather condensation and, with deeper-freeze temperatures, icing between the panes.
No. 2: If restoration is still an option, how does one go about it? I personally have no carpentry skills or equipment, or (lately, due to injuries and surgeries) the physical ability to handle a lot of what I used to do. (Even getting the big interior storms on and on off is a challenge now.) I had one fine-finish interior and exterior carpenter do a spot repair on a sash while he was here repairing a wood balcony in 2011, but he said he couldn’t handle any window repair more complicated than that. In 2013 I hired an Angie’s List A-rated “restoration” company to repair all windows and trim that needed it before my last repainting. The work they did was horrific (slapping putty into cavities that hadn’t even been hardened) and I had to have them to do it all over again, including replacing several sills they’d tried to repair. (And they still left some sash rot, as mentioned before). I have little confidence in the quality of work that’s available in this area (Columbus, Ohio), so if window restoration is an option in my situation, I’d sure appreciate a suggestion or two as to where I’d get it at a cost lower than or comparable to replacement. I had been assuming I’d go the replacement route, partly to get the benefit of two-pane insulation without dealing with the interior storms. But your negative views of even the better replacement options are pretty discouraging.
Ken Roginski says
I understand your frustration. Only original windows should be restored for replacements are merely disposable. It sounds like the previous homeowners neglected their new windows. Additionally it seems that the installer may not have angled the sill for water to drain away from the window. As you know good help is hard to find. I have a listing of window restorers http://www.oldhouseguy.com/window-restorers/ But that won’t help you now. At this point you may be better with a replacement. I think I would try a window restorer anyway just in case. Best of luck!
Daniel Hall says
I agree with the OHG that Marvin’s terminology can be quite confusing. But I have to disagree with most of the posters here regarding Marvin’s service.
We installed Marvin Integrity Wood Ultrex series with SDL in two new homes in the Pacific NW. One in 1995 & one in 2014. Used mostly casements but also about 10 3×6 DHs in the 2014 build. Many of the windows had southern,coastal exposure, including all the DHs. Annually they are exposed to 30-70 mph Chinook winds (warm, powerful southern winds) with driving rain. No problems with leakage of air or water; never seal failure.
The DH did have a peeling problem on the exterior paint after about 18 months – no paint issues with the casements nor French doors on same southern wall. Marvin rep said it was a known problem with the paint product used on a run of double hungs. Marvin sent a crew that removed all DH windows on, replaced the finish with a Polyurethane product. Repair folks were a contractor working for Marvin. They were very efficient & did a perfect job. Too early to tell if the new paint will hold up, but so far so good.
The French doors in the 1st house have work flawlessly. We did run into problems with the French doors in the second home closing properly. Got into a bit of spitting match between the builder & Marvin. But Marvin reps replaced one warped panel & made several visits to get the other one to work properly — not quite perfect but satisfactory.
We are quite satisfied with the Marvin service and the Integrity line . We will be putting them into a 1935 Cape Code that we are remodeling in Seattle later this year.
Alan Stacey says
Thought this may be of use
We are a specialist joinery company based in Canada and ship both across Canada and into the USA
We build replica windows, doors, staircases, verge board (gingerbread) porches, turnings and traditional carvings
We can replicate all types and styles of custom heritage windows – sash, storm, casement, gothic, arched etc. As standard we offer six different sash profiles and can provide custom profiles on request
All the replica windows we make are of true divided light construction (individual panes of glass) and are proportioned to match your building date and style. We can copy from existing windows, heritage photographs or from our extensive knowledge if no evidence of the original is available
We build them using traditional joinery techniques and use the best quality lumber, materials and hardware available. We like to build a product that will last for generations, not just past a guarantee date
The windows are provided with modern draught proofing seals to enable the window to operate easily throughout all seasons. A typical 6/6 sash can be opened and closed using one finger.
If you required further information, please visit our Website: WWW. heritagemill.ca
Diane Zavadil says
We built a house 11 years ago and we’re informed that Marvin windows were great. We put in 110 windows in a 3 million dollar house. They SUCK! It’s always someone else’s fault!
M. Knott says
What a detailed study of window products from this particular company. You really get down into the real meat of products. In a sense this makes you an expert in this field. We live in South Florida and are in the process of looking into companies to install impact window. I know it is funny to ask, but have you ever heard of or had experience with this company – All American Windows and Doors. I just want to get a professional opinion on what we should be looking for from a window company in general. Thank you so much for your help.
Truth. My aluminum clad casement windows by MARVIN ale ROTTING out at the bottom. Many have now black mold on the rot!
Marvin will do Nothing for me. Nothing! Not on replacement material or labor costs. Because it is over 10 years.
Wherever a window is not protected by an overhang they rot. I discovered this to late. Now it will cost me thousands of dollars to remedy.
My advise is to stay far away from this company.
I have aluminum clad Ply Gem MIRA casement windows on my home with the same problems. Definitely less expensive and not as good quality as Marvins but still shouldn’t leak. 4 units have already leaked and stained the wood sills. I’m starting to wonder if anyone can make a window that doesn’t leak?! I resealed them myself and so far has worked. The sills have almost no slope so the water just sits on them…you would think sloping the sill would be common sense but apparently not.
I have a question for anyone who did not take The Old House Guy’s advice “Whatever you choose as a screen, do NOT get a full window screen. You will be hiding the beauty of your window!” and may have purchased Marvin Integrity Windows with the screen that is held in on the outside of the window with those little plastic plugs – anyone do this?
Well, my landlords did, and what we are facing now, one week in, is not an issue of the plastic plugs breaking or falling off, but an issue of a gap at the bottom where the screen meets the sill big enough for mosquitoes to get in. Each and every night, 20 or so mosquitoes pour in through this gap no bigger than 1/8 of an inch, but it is there and it’s on every single window. Is this normal? Anyone had, heard of or seen this?
Brigitte Paine says
II had to replace all rotting NORCO windows after 10 years. Even the sills were rotten. I replaced them with Marvin INFINITY 5 years ago and am extremely happy. They are easy to operate, no more leaks or warping of exterior clads. Easy to care for. They were an investment I do not regret. When I can afford it, I will also replace the PELLA French doors with Infinity.
daniel mustain says
Marvin Tilt Pack system is very dangerous. The plastic tracks have a 1/8″ blind stop which is easily defeated as you raise your top sash and the whole sash will flop out of the track. This will happen even if the unit was properly installed.
The only reason to purchase a Marvin product is to match a historic profile.
Their screens have always been an after thought.
Installing Marvin windows in a new house is pure vanity
KD Architect says
Replaced 8 old windows (1907 – lead weight and chain) few years back with the Marvin Tilt-Pac windows. These windows were not small. The reason the Tilt Pac appealed to me was because I did not want to diminish the window opening width with an insert. Since I was not sure how these would fit in a not so plumb window frame, I ordered one (Tilt-Pac) window first. Decided to do the work myself – it went well. To be honest, I had a fairly good experience with Tilt-Pac install on all 8 windows. Sashes are in the groove pretty good, are maneuverable up and down with no issue and really buttoned up the air leaks. About to order another 10 Tilt Pac windows @ $800/ea.
Where can you order Marvin Tilt-Pac windows?
David Kirk says
I bought a dozen or so Marvin storm windows twenty years ago. They had convenient hardware for opening and closing. They came in the right sizes. Cost was $100 each. We carefully oil primed and painted them. Within a couple of years the joints were rotting. A couple of years later whole sections were turning to paste. I soaked them in chemicals to hold out the water and that made them last a couple years longer, but within ten years there was very little left of any of them. The soft pine was of such poor quality there was very little to do. If they’d spent a couple extra dollars per window on better materials they’d have been great. As it is, I’m back to building storms myself. I’d never deal with Marvin again. In general, I’d also like to promote the idea of keeping old windows. Even if they’re starting to go now, they’ll probably hold on into the future longer than new windows. Apart from design issues, the wood that’s available now simply isn’t as good.
Any body know of a replacement for the 20 year old clad casemasters that marvin made. My interior stops are made out of vinyl with a wood veneer. The sun has disintegrated the vinyl and veneer. Local marvin dealer says Marvin discontinued the hollow vinyl/wood veneer stops.
Funny that a company that prides themselves on duplicating any window can’t duplicate their own stop material.
Philip Parker says
Well, I thought I might have found an article from someone who knew what they were talking about. But, after reading all the horror stories about Marvin windows, I guess he does not know as much as it sounds like! He recommended Marvins, but everyone that has them say they are junk! I don’t know what to do about windows? I Have aluminum framed windows that sweat and have fogged up terrible but can not find one single window that sounds good or looks good! It is a shame we have regressed so far in this country, where you can not get any quality work, or quality products any longer!
Ken Roginski says
It seems like there are a lot of issues with all replacement windows. Once you replace instead of restore your original windows get prepared for problems. Marvin however makes a good looking window at least.
Trauger T Ralston says
IHas anyone tried the Marvin Contemporary Series? I am looking at the casements with the push out feature. Anyone tried these yet? Also looking at the Millard Epic Cue series. Any input is appreciated.
Stay away from Marvin products. The company hides behind its one year warranty rather than standing behind its product. We purchased a whole house of Marvin windows years ago and within months over half Had the plastic jams blow out. Marvin sent new jams and the local Marvin rep and I replaced them. Within months they blew out again and I realized there was a design flaw. The Clips holding the springs were about a quarter inch wide and supported at the top of the plastic jam. The pressure was too concentrated so the plastic cracked and the jam was ineffective at holding the window up. So we lived for about 20 years with inoperable windows.
About 10 years ago I found a solution to this manufacturing defect. By simply inserting a one inch sleeve under the clip at the top of the plastic jam it spread the pressure of the spring over the whole inch. So far not one has failed.
However it was during these repairs that I learned of the second hidden design flaw. The back of the plastic jams have a foam from top to bottom. The wood next to that foam is untreated. Therefor in a heavy rain storm when the water is blown under the jams the foam acts as a sponge and wicks the water up next to the wood. The rot was extensive particularly on the West and East windows.
When I contacted Mr Marvin with the details and pictures and a request only for the reimbursement of the materials ,most of which came from Marvin,and not the over 400 hours of my time to correct these design flaws they claimed a one year warranty and refused to resolve the issue.
James Preston says
Marvin windows are nicely made, fairly solid and look okay overall in my experience. However, a couple of common issues people describe is:
1) The coatings coming off
2) Noise and reverberations
Depending on which range you purchase from, people have described the coatings coming off the windows after a relatively short time, usually just outside of the warranty period. This is the gel coat which protects the outer frame of the window.
The second common issue we hear surrounds noise. In particular people commonly describe poor sound proofing. We’ve heard people describing that in strong winds they resonate with the wind vibrations, furthermore and don’t keep out traffic noise particularly well. So with wind noises added to traffic noise, they can be horrible to live with.
However, the above two issues do seem to be range specific and in particular affect the Ultrex range. So it’s worth doing range specific research before making your purchase.
In 2000 we had our dream retirement home built. We did not research or do our homework in comparing windows. Instead we were taken by false advertising about how great Marvin windows were. We have a $$$ million $$$ dollar home with ……74……JUNK…….MARVIN windows, all aluminum clad wood casement windows, and three exterior doors, and 6 nine foot French exterior doors. All windows have interior screens. Just like so many other people have posted here it seems as though as soon as the 10 year warranty period ends the wood on the windows, and one door start rotting away. The windows also condensate terribly every winter. They stick when trying to crank them in or out and a few of them will have a half inch gap at one side where the cold air will blow in. I called the builder and he had the Marvin dealer come out. He said there were no adjustments could be made to correct the problem. I asked him what he would do about replacing all the rotted out windows and windows that could not be adjusted to seal properly. He said nothing, they are out of warranty. I said what would you do if they were in your house. He said I would replace them. I said if you would replace yours why not mine…..he said because I can! He was an arrogant smart a** that I would love to have decked. I can’t believe that this OLD HOUSE GUY…&…Ken whatever and dave whatever defends MARVIN JUNK WINDOWS AND DOORS. …..I COULD NOT AND WILL NOT, EVER, EVER, EVER, RECOMMEND MARVIN PRODUCTS. It will cost me a small fortune to correct this problem with Marvin products. I can only hope my testimonial will help inform people about how worthless Marvin products are and how shameful it is for a couple people on this website to endorse Marvin products. Must be getting paid to do it. …….READERS…….DON’T buy Marvin products from a company that won’t stand behind their products in any way. They don’t return calls or apologize.
I am curious about your reference to the case depth of 4.5 inches to be “strong enough”. Could you explain a bit more about this detail? My current windows (1934) have a depth of 3 3/8 from blind stop to interior stop. This equates to the width of the parting stop plus the sashs’ thicknesses. Wouldn’t a replacement window case fitting within the blind stop and interior stop mimic the current look?
Ken Roginski says
The casing width should be about 4.5 inches wide not deep.
So the casing…total of trim and casement (if a replacement window) of the window at least to 4.5 inches until you reach sash as seen form the road. I was lost a little bit with terms since replacement windows don’t really include the trim. I agree the look of the window should have weight or substantive placement on the house…like you really wanted it there. I think many new houses have window that look drawn or stuck on the side of the house. If I were losing the trim during a replacement window process, yes, this width should be maintained. I think with some replacement projects that keep the trim left alone, something like a Marvin or Kolbe (say sash replacements) could work if the original trim is maintained.
My depth inquiry came from attempts by Pella to sell the Architectural window that has about a depth of 5 inches. This depth would make replacement window “case” flush with the original trim and force an odd look with a flush install, add bulkiness, and create an unacceptable fix to fill the gap between the trim and new window. They usually wrap the trim from the window casement to hide the gap. I thought the Marvin would be better at a depth of 3.5 inches leaving the original trim in place for a “casing” width look per your recommendation.
Just a footnote, exploring window options from restoring to replacement is an interesting journey. Everyone be patient with the process and find what works for your project. I found too many compromises along the way with replacements that I have done a full circle back to restoring; especially regarding pre-1940s windows like mine from 1934. Spending at least $1,000 to get this era window replaced with the same look and feel is not worth it nor are the results. New or old maintained windows won’t affect a house price either way. People who only care about maintenance or new, won’t care about the cost you put in and so you will not see any real “pay back”. People who do care about the historical value will care. So restoring may save you money in the long run and has the potential to affect your house selling in a positive way. Bottom line, do it for yourself first, and then those who will care.
Ken Roginski says
You are right but so many people get their casing replaced because the cheaper windows or clad windows are sold as one unit.
Chris Davis says
We have a 1925 English cottage tudor in Minneapolis. We are replacing the entire stucco exterior due to issues with sheathing and even some framing being rotted. Over the decades, ice dams, improper flashing, and back up from gutters have done their damage. I was intrigued with the idea of restoring the original windows. Does having to replace the exterior provide a better or worse opportunity for restoring the windows.
Ken Roginski says
It really depends on what needs to be done to your windows. If your sash just needs to be repaired then that can be done anytime. If the casing around the window needs to be restored then this is probably a good time to do it.
I am about to buy a house that has the original windows from 1978 (not double paned insulated, but its wood).
Would you recommend restoring theses? I doubt they can provide energy efficiency compared to today’s modern windows.
Ken Roginski says
Well it’s still a wood window which are much better than plastic or clad. I would restore them and add a storm window. They will insulate better than a replacement window.
Paul Sollimo says
Wow. This is a discouraging thread looking for replacement windows.
I bought a 207 yr old stone farmhouse. All windows are terrible vinyl replacements that need to be replaced.
I was hoping to find better news with Marvin Windows as an alternative to my previous bad experience with “Renewal By Anderson” replacements.
[**If anyone has experience with a replacement window manufacturer that makes windows that actually WORK, please post here!! ]
Don’t by “RENEWAL BY ANDERSON”. RENEWAL is a line of Fiberglass/”maintenance free” replacement windows that Anderson PURCHASED and slapped the Anderson name on. They are not “Anderson Windows”
I replaced all crappy leaky vinyl windows in a previous home with “Renewal By Anderson” Big mistake.
– First, they sales people set whatever price they want and the price is high and they leverage the “Anderson” name which is now crap in my opinion.
– Second, the installers are subcontractors and our crew was terrible. Poor installation, Poor trim work, installed the wrong color outside cladding and the work was sloppy.
– Third, they were replaced in the fall. As soon as winter hit we could feel air blowing through these NEW windows. $15,000 and nothing to show for it.
Long story short, I went back and forth with the local Renewal by Anderson Franchisee and Anderson Corporate. Anderson Corporate’s Warrantee rep was an A-HOLE of the highest order.
The local Franchisee Service manager was fantastic and ended up dealing with corporate on our behalf and actually CAME OUT TO DO THE REPAIR/REPLACEMENT work himself. I can’t speak highly enough about this person.
However, the Product is crap, had a design flaw, Anderson had a ‘kit’ to try to remedy the design flaw, so you know they knew about the flow.
They ended up replacing 6 windows that were not fixed by the ‘kit’.
It took months of back-and-fort, calls, letter writing to get the issues remedied and in the end the product worked, but they are Ugly, thick sashes, and you’ll pay a premium for windows that may or may not be air/weather tight.
Ken Roginski says
Check out http://heirloomwindows.com/ for a quality window at a much lower cost.
Joyce Cresswell says
Ken, you talk about energy efficiency, but what about comfort? We have 53″, west-facing windows in our bedrooms (1910), and our rooms get smoking hot in the summer. We are considering replacing just to get the double pane, low E. The bids we are getting range from $3,000 to $12,000. Thoughts?
Ken Roginski says
Why would you ruin your house when you can get good storm windows for $200 a window. I guess you didn’t read this website very well.
Peter Gadiel says
We built our house between 1989 and 1991. By 2002 the balances on many windows broke. Marvin rep said warranty was expired. I bought new balances and installed them myself.
By 2007 we began seeing rotted sills. In 2008 four windows so far gone we replaced with a better brand.
By 1010 eight more sills rotting so we had new sills custom milled from good grade of lumber. Carpenter removed casings and rotted sills and replaced the sills and reinstalled the casings.
More sills have rotted and we have faced the fact that it is wiser to replace all the Marvins with good quality windows.
Never, ever, ever buy a Marvin product. Absolute junk.
Mary Kelley says
We just had a house built and did lots of research on windows. We decided on Marvin. I wish I had seen the chart before. We went with the Integrity windows. I agree , as others have said, that the naming of the windows is deliberately confusing. There are no charts to compare as you have here. We went with Integrity windows (double hung and casements) and doors. – Paid $100,000 – which is quite an investment when you’re trying to get advice and research as to what is best. This is what I have learned so far – we have Integrity casement windows in 4 turrets in the house. We expected that the windows would turn inward to clean – no – you can’t wash these windows from inside the house! You have to pay someone to do it. Horrible! And the doors, they look beautiful but the frame is too narrow to change the lock to a combination lock. You have to deal with this ridiculously hard handles in order to go thru the process to lock the doors. It takes two hands to lock the door. So, in addition to the points in this article, I wish I had my own advice before buying Maravin windows,
Vee Mahoney says
I’ve inherited the house that my mom built in the 40s in Lakeville MA and finding it difficult to find people to work with who care about the quality of what old characteristics it has (great old windows with storms) . It does not follow traditional old house style but has its own charm. How can I begin to find people to work with with knowledge and values that match my own concerns? Thanks for your hard work.
Ken Roginski says
It’s not easy and may take a long time to find somebody good.
Don’t know if you’re still looking for a company to work with, but if so, check out Boston Sash & Millwork (out of Dighton, despite the name).
Bill Scaglione says
Pure crap. Our Anderson slider is still going strong. The rest of the house is Marvin. Half the Marvin casements lost their seals, the weather stripping dried out and fell out on all the rest. Years ago we complained and never got a reply. Save your money. Go to a reputable manufacturer and put these criminals out of business.
Brian Speight says
We replaced all our windows with Marvin Aluminum [outside] and wood [wood] inside. Total # of windows all various sizes and are very happy with the results. This was done in 2009 and my wife loves the double hung because they are so easy to clean especially upstairs.Look great [ forest green] and cedar stain inside. Many people comment on them and we have had absolutely NO problems with them so far. Would highly recommend them.
I looked at Pella and Anderson but decided on Marvin
Tim O'Pry says
Thank you! I’ve learned more from reading your blog in 30 minutes, than from many days reading vendor sites and visiting way too many showrooms.
Do you have an opinion on Jeld-Wen windows? We are building a new home in NC and the builder quoted Jeld-Wen, but even his supplier believes Marvin the (next gen) are the way to go (at a substantial increase of about 25%). I’ve looked at both in person and as a layperson, the Marvin do appear superior (keeping in mind I know nothing) – but having a hard time justifying/rationalizing a 25% premium (though it is a small part of the overall budget). Andersen and Pella have both been ruled out for reasons you listed on your site.
Ken Roginski says
I really don’t know anything about Jele Wen. Try Heirloom Windows. https://www.heirloomwindows.com/
Changing window takes time. Just to do the research what kind of windows you need. I took a lot of time just to get the information together. How to choose between aluminum, wood or a combination of both. When you think you are over that there is window glass… After two months and with help from salesmen I choose a wooden window. Some howe It feels more natural and worm…and its good for nature.
Lisa Bunting says
We built a home 14 years go and have 33 windows and 2 sliding doors. 2 years ago our windows started cracking for no reason. The glass company I took them to said it was a defect in the glass. A stress fracture of sorts. So far we have had 7 windows that seemed to have blown out. We called Marvin Company and a rep come out and had not seen anything like it. Marvin company recommended purchasing new windows at a 25% off discount. Why would I want to purchase more? They have not helped us and I wish I could tell the world. DO NOY EVER purchase from Marvin Windows!
kay long says
Apparently there is not a good window anymore. every site I go to to get information seems to put down the site visited before that was singing the praises of that particular window. I built a house 25 years ago and used pella windows and they are still in good shape to this day with never a problem, but that was 25 years ago. I visited Pella store to again purchase new windows for yet another house we are building( downsizing), what a disappointment to see how cheap they are being made. Face the fact that the windows of today will never be as good as those in the past, as now they are being manufactured to be replaced within a few years. Its all about the manufacturer getting as much as they can for a product with the outlook of selling replacement windows to you in a few years. Bless the homeowner who is trying to put a decent product in their home they have worked to hard to have.
Carol Meade says
My first husband and I built our home in 1985 and used Marvin wood windows throughout. I need advice on whether to repair/restore these or replace. The paint is peeling inside and out (they were coated with something on the exterior that was supposed to eliminate the need for painting, but found out recently that it never worked and Marvin stopped using it many years ago). The double glass panes have broken seals and fogging. My husband actually replaced the panes on one window himself. We are not willing to spend a fortune on windows and now it seems from your blog that replacements are not a good answer anyway. What would you suggest?
Ken Roginski says
Your 1985 windows are disposable windows. They cannot be fixed or restored as far as I know. If your husband can fix it, that’s great.
Googled Marvin windows and your site came up. I just went to clean my double hung windows and found that the sash on the upper window was completely rotted out. I spent a lot of money replacing my old wood windows with Marvin’s and really regret it. As much as I hate cheap building materials, I really hate expensive materials that are flawed and not well made. With an outer aluminum cladding, there was no way to tell this was happening. Hopefully, I can order a replacement sash without having to replace the whole unit (2 wide- double the pain). I also own a home from the 1870’s. Those windows are in better shape than my 20 yr old Marvins. By the way, I added on to the home twice and each time the new Marvin’s had changed. Locking system, screen changes etc. Obviously trying to fix old problems that should have been caught before the product was marketed and sold.
Robert Pelfrey says
Just bought two Marvin 6 foot Integrity sliding doors for a renovation on 1976 home. One works well but in the other, the frame at the top of the door is too tight making it very difficult to close. When the inner part of the frame is removed, slides well. Seems to be a manufactiring problem. Just contacting Marvin and hopefully their response will be helpful. Anyone else have that problem?
H. E Putzke says
I have a great glass wall where the 12 aluminum clad,E glass Marvin windows alone cost $17,000.00 . Snow was blowing into the house last Winter where the bottom wood glass casing had rotted away. Only ten year warranty…WTF, my old house wood windows are 45 years old and and still standing strong. These Marvin windows are just out of the warranty period. They offered me a whole 10% discount on new ones….what a crock!Just today,on the opposite side of the house, I saw that the aluminum clad french windows are rotting away at the bottom. No fix at all and I’m afraid to open them now as the opening linkage( that is also junk) attaches to the rotten wood. The glass wall is layered over with cement board and shake shingles…the entire exterior covering has to come off and be replaced…. to replace the windows with anything but Marvin. Contractor said it would be over $35,000.00. Home owners insurance will not cover any of it.The house material list when new was $86,000.00 just for the completed shell with no interior(that I finished myself). I also have a Marvin exterior door that the door itself is not square at the top hinge corner. All other corners are square. This blows cold winter air thru the gap in the Winter. REALLY SUCKS that your dream home is ruined by Marvin.
Ken Roginski says
OMG – that is really sad!
Pete Grimmer says
Any advice for a guy that has already ordered, but not yet installed, about 25 Marvin Integrity “Elevate” casements?
Any special guidance I should be giving the installers?
Adriane Lippian says
We had all marvin windows installed in our new build 3 years ago. We watched hours of installation videos thank God and stopped the installers after I (wife) realized they were not installing per the instructions. I was told it’s fine by the window guy and that this is how windows are done honey and he tossed the instructions on the floor. My husband had them remove them all and redo them, after watching again I told husband they still weren’t doing it (my gosh not even barely siliconing) and had not even purchased the correct sill material to lay down first (or an equivalent) which was a requirement of the install. We fired them. WE took out the windows again and reinstalled them ALL ourselves with the help of our fatherinlaw. I guarantee they would be leaking now, they may still anyway in the future but I’ll be confident it is not the installation but the window. I have 100s of photos of step by step and angulation etc… Many window installers do it as they always have and I can’t tell you how many just do it like “it’s done around here”. Made me so mad. Just remember the window will only be as good as the installers, baring any manufacturer’s defects or poor designs. A big learning experience but I LOVE my windows.
could you please direct me to the videos and materials you mentioned on how to install these windows correctly?
Melissa Marx says
I cannot recommend Marvin Integrity All-clad double hung windows. We spent $17,500 for 14 windows installed in 2017 (live in Chicagoland area). We have found them to be, in no particular order, drafty, loud and ugly. The windows sit almost flush with the exterior wall with full screens and window panes very close together. If it rains the windows will be dirty. The screens are horrible visually to look through but cannot be left off in winter for better view because of the way inside of window is built. Also, screens are snap on not built in and therefore bugs easily crawl in. The windows do not have safety locks. These are by far the loudest double pane windows i have ever had. The draft issue is due to window construction not an installation. Air comes through-around all moving parts on the window….and through the seep hole which are inside. The window company came out the first year and replaced all weatherstripping with no change in draftiness. The dilemma every winter is do you try block the cold and draft with window treatments and deal with the condensation or ice build up,along the draft areas of window, or leave window treatments open so i can keep the windows warmer to reduce condensation and ice. You absolutely can not use a humidifier with these windows. This winter I taped around the windows to slow the drafts…doesn’t help the cold coming off the glass. I haven’t been able to being myself to put up the shrink wrap plastic yet on my 3-4 year old windows.
Ken Roginski says
Good to know. I didn’t know the screens couldn’t be removed. They really darken the window a lot.
Steve Jones says
I used to work for Marvin Windows. During the summer months they have high school kids work in the facilities. And these kids really dont care about the quality at all, just another summer job to them. Obviously alot of businesses hire kids for summer jobs, but some kids have attitudes and could care less about the job they’re doing as long as they get payed. Right now Marvin Windows is considered an “essential business” somehow. The Marvin family obviously used its political pull to stay in business, which is great for its employees and dangerous as well. But hey, as long the CEOs are still getting paid right?
Ken Roginski says
The CEO’s are Kings.
Marvin had a preservative problem that they used on the frames in the late 80’s into the 90’s — I can’t remember if it was when they started to use finger joined stock or not. But it was a huge problem and they replaced a lot of frames and gave discounts after warranty periods ended. They make a decent product — the use of finger jointed sills never gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. I have a bunch of the real divided light 4′ x4′ sliders on the back of my house w/ finger jointed sills — historic property. Wood windows must be installed properly .. base pan and drip cap — no exceptions. The advent of flanged windows and tape has created a generation of carpenters that don’t know how to install a window. Everything leaks and caulk is not “forever” — when the leaks start you need the water to go outside .. not sit on the sill and rot the window. Base pan and drip caps. All wood windows need to be oil primed and painted well .. my Marvins are about 20 years old and I repainted them about 5 years ago. The sills needed some clean up — prime and paint … but the frames and sash just needed a “no sand” wipe and refresh with quality paint. Be careful with replacement windows — the only common denominator is the frames. Because they are designed to sit inside the old frame — they are slender and have no real strength. The strength comes from proper attachment to the old frame — unless you have a qualified and skilled installer willing to properly set and shim the new window. They will move over time — this creates leaks and opening/ closing problems.
The vast majority of window problems are from installation. Clad windows are a whole other animal … they have a place depending on house style and location.
I had double hung Marvin Infinity fiberglass windows installed in January 2021. The installer took his time with shimming and caulking. They withstand high winds and rain without leaking air or water. We have had some nasty weather in NE USA. The only problem is that the upper window is impossible to lower unless you raise the lower window first. I like to ventilate by lowering the upper window a little, so rain doesn’t come in and the windowsill plants are not disturbed by wind. So I asked if I could install a rail lift handle on each upper window, and was told it would not violate the warranty. I drilled small holes in the rail, popping through 2 layers but not piercing the outer layer of fiberglass. I screwed in the lift handle, and it seems stable, but I am afraid that if I am not gentle, I may cause the entire top rail to crack by pulling on the lift. I cannot find any spec sheet that shows the thickness of the fiberglass layers that are holding the screws in. Just saying, they should have installed these lift handles when they made the windows, no? The only down side is that if one tilts down the windows for cleaning, then the upper lift handle could crack the glass of the bottom pane if it is not protected when tilting down the upper window. That’s enough. I do like my new windows. They replaced cheap vinyl windows that were 20 years old and would no longer operate due to warping. The vinyl windows replaced original horrid aluminum frame windows circa 1970 that were cold, let in moisture, had small cracks …
Alvis Hendley says
Many years ago, we retrofitted six original double-hung windows in our San Francisco Victorian house with Marvin windows. The narrow casing has bothered me ever since. At least, the windows are on the side of the house and not the front. Can the Marvin casing be removed and replaced with a wooden casing appropriate to the period of the architecture?
Ken Roginski says
If is very bad to replace an original window. While it is bad to replace the window sash it is worse to replace the window sash and casing. Marvin and other companies push to make it easy for the installer by selling window units. This way the window and casing are one unit that is inserted into the opening. As you see in the chart I have the casings are completely unacceptable. The only good option is all wood and that is very expensive – not that any of the other junk is cheap. So in answer to your question, I don’t believe you can replace the casing and keep the same windows since they are a unit. I could be wrong though. Even so, you don’t want plastic window sashes if you want your house to look good so find a good carpenter to remove the unit and match the original casing and install a real wood window. I recommend Heirloom windows.
As a previous employee, I can promise all the people buying windows, that working for them, is far worse then buying from them. They are a horrible company and treat their employees worse then old coal miner’s. Do buy from them and don’t work for them.
PS the warranty is now extremely hard to get since they fired alot of the technicians..good luck
ke stor says
Ran across this information after having the local supplier of Marvin Windows at our house because of leaking double hung windows. His assessment was that they were “normal”, even tho you can hear the window whistle when the wind gets above 20mph. All of our double hung windows are very cold along the edges where the seal/weather stripping is. Our house is about 6years old. Initially the windows were great. Quiet. Warm in the winter. Not hot in the summer. We have awning, sliders and casements that all seem to be ok so far.
Now for the other question. I pulled our order list for the construction. The windows are listed as Clad Ultimate DH. The glass on the actual windows is stamped Integrity. Is the CUDH an Integrity? We thought we were getting a “one better than ” the Integrity line.
I guess I will try to contact Marvin directly about the sealing issue. Most likely I will look for a combination screen/storm window for outside of the DH windows as it will be cheaper in the long run and better performance.
Thanks for your help and all the information OHG!
Ken Roginski says
Hi – I’m sorry but I really don’t know the answer to that.
Bill Rusitzky says
Why I will not buy Marvin Window Products and neither should you.
In 2004 we renovated our kitchen, replacing three windows and one door with Marvin Windows. At the time we purchased Marvin because I felt they were high quality. Marvin’s website says, “We are committed to design that is as functional and intuitive as it is beautiful. Crafted with exceptional skill, our products deliver quality you can see, touch, and feel, the beauty that brings joy, and performance that stands the test of time.“
My view of the ‘test of time’ for windows that I put in my home is a long time, decades. Apparently, Marvin’s test is dramatically shorter. Less than 20 years after installation I noticed that the window had rotted all the way through the frame. I am not sure how many years it took to decay, but clearly it did not happen overnight. Their test of time failed quickly. I called Marvin and was told that the warranty is only 10 years.
I understand how warranties work and asked for Marvin’s help repairing the window. They said they would not offer any help since they no longer make the model. I called dozens of companies and was told these Marvin windows were not repairable. I am left with one window out of six that failed out of warranty but clearly started failing years ago before the warranty had expired. I now need to replace all of my kitchen windows in order to have a consistent look.
I thought that maybe this is a one-time issue and not very widespread. It turns out Marvin lost a class action lawsuit on this very issue. https://www.yourlawyer.com/construction-defects/marvin-windows-lawsuit/. Apparently, their product team feels they can continue to turn out products that do not stand the test of time.
Marvin’s marketing department may tell you they are committed to a lot of things but it is clearly a lot of marketing and they do not stand behind the actual quality of their windows. So when you look to purchase windows for your home my strong recommendation is to look at anyone other than Mavin.
w michael kennedy says
I am a remodeler/builder for 32 years. I installed Marvin Wood Ultrex windows when I built our addition in 2014. The exterior sill material is cracking and chipping away. I was given a choice of new windows or having Procoat painting come and refinish the sills. Hmmmmm. So replacing those windows would obviously require quite a bit of labor! We installed these thing correctly and they are flashed in conjunction with the house wrap and siding, not to mention the interior casing and finish work. I am forced to accept the re-doing of the sills. Not very confident it will be a long term solution!
We built our home around 1990 and used Ultimate Marvin wood true divided lite windows. Within three or four years, we had the beginnings of rotted sashes, frames and stools ( which we discovered were fingered jointed). We were lucky to find a great carpenter who removed rotted stools and replaced with high quality wood. I have replaced the double hung true divided sashes approximately three times. Currently,
we need to replace some sashes, but was informed they have been discontinued. They have been replaced by a insert, which requires removing and replacing certain parts of existing window frame. I am skeptical of the procedure and the integrity of the insert fitting and future problems. Also, they may not match the existing 30 windows. Does anyone know if I can have a millwork company make a window that can fit in the existing tracks which I had all new replaced 5 years ago by a Marvin carpenter. This has been a costly endeavor and realize we are not alone dealing with Marvin. I need a solution, but no luck with Pella or Anderson.
Ken Roginski says
You have a very common problem. Lines are frequently discontinued and people are forced to find a match. Wood windows can be duplicated to match. First I know that Marvin makes historic reproductions. Even though your windows are from 1990 they should still be able to make a custom tDL window. Maravin is also very expensive. I would contact Heirloom Windows You will deal with the maker not a salesperson and although not cheap you are not paying for the Marvin name. Send photos to them – they will welcome a discussion.