A Closer Look: Windows and Doors
October 25th, 2017 by Damaine Vonada

Windows brighten a home and make a dramatic statement.
Photo courtesy of Marvin Windows and Doors

Windows do more than bring light into your home. They provide views of your neighborhood, connect the indoors with the outdoors, accent your home’s architecture and contribute to its curb appeal.

“Windows matter,” says Brett Boyum of Marvin Windows and Doors. “They’re a large and important part of the overall statement that a house makes.”

Marvin—a family business whose window expertise dates to 1939—is the world’s largest manufacturer of made-to-order windows and patio-style doors. Its signature brand is known for wood and clad wood products that can be customized, but the company also has newer brands that feature fiberglass, including one that simulates wood.

Aside from being a good insulator, wood looks rich. Marvin choices vary from standards such as pine and cherry to black walnut and mahogany.

Exterior aluminum cladding is available in several colors and finishes.

“It’s extruded aluminum and the thickness of a quarter, so it really stands up to wear and tear,” says Boyum.

Marvin’s patented, protruded fiberglass does not expand or contract in extreme temperatures, and “it resists cracking and denting, and gives structural strength to a window,” says Boyum.

Along with durability, the fiberglass windows come in light and dark fade-proof colors. If a homeowner needs to match siding or roofing, the windows can be painted.

In addition to aesthetics, Boyum reminds homeowners to consider performance. Replacement windows should be energy efficient and keep the house comfortable.

While Marvin has an online gallery and downloadable apps to help you find the perfect windows, Boyum recommends visiting a retailer to see the windows’ construction and operation.

“Homeowners shouldn’t choose windows for the cheapest price, but the best value,” he says.

Joe Klink at ProVia agrees value is an important consideration when selecting new windows and doors.

“You may pay more upfront, but you’ll have less hassle later,” he says.

ProVia makes exterior doors, replacement windows, vinyl siding and manufactured stone. Besides steel and fiberglass entrance doors, ProVia makes aluminum storm doors and vinyl, steel and fiberglass patio doors.

Its flagship product is the 20-gauge steel entry door with a mechanical interlock system for extra strength. The company’s fiberglass doors also are popular, thanks to embossed wood grain that seems like the real thing.

ProVia’s website has helpful tools geared to homeowners’ four main motivations for replacing exterior doors: beauty, durability, security and energy efficiency.

The company’s vinyl window products also deliver energy efficiency and eye-catching design options.

“Window performance is all about the U-factor,” says Klink. “The lower the number, the better.”

The U-factor—which measures heat conduction—indicates a window’s overall energy efficiency, which can be affected by grids and even the kind of gas used in double-pane windows.

“Krypton gas insulates better than argon,” says Klink.

From all-vinyl windows to those with vinyl exteriors and pre-finished wood interiors, ProVia windows offer options such as internal grids, privacy glass and the company’s hand-stained Inspirations Art Glass, which allows people to personalize their home with original designs, house numbers and even their names.