When your project calls for new or replacement windows, often the customer is focused on style or budget. If the old windows caused problems, they might be more concerned with quality. As the designer, builder, or remodeler, some deeper knowledge of window materials will help you guide them to the best choices. Your local Marvin dealer is always ready to help.
The first thing to establish is there is far more to the decision than what looks good or is on sale. Windows are a real investment. They increase the home’s value, can lower energy costs, and even enhance security. Your Marvin window dealer can help you guide your clients to that sweet spot where they fall in love with the style, appreciate the value, and live happily ever after, even when they sell their home.
Windows for California Weather
Northern California gets a lot of rain and mild cool days, while Southern California gets more than its fair share of sunshine and warm days. Windows need to stand up to the climate they live in, as it’s their job to let the best of the outdoors in yet withstand and protect from harsh elements.
Best Window Materials for Southern California Homes
Low E Glass with a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
The type of glass should be the first consideration in this climate. In Southern California, where the sunshine is one of the biggest attractions, the window glass has to deliver a gorgeous view without creating a hothouse. You want glass with a Low E coating to block the sun’s radiation and reflect heat.
Glass with a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures how much radiant heat will enter. The lower the number, the better. Look for an SHGC that’s less than or equal to .27.
Pine Window Frames
Marvin windows are pine because it’s wood scientists have found it to be the best material. It’s the least expensive wood and structurally strong. It resists pests and rot. Clients will appreciate the affordability with zero sacrifices to quality, style, or performance.
Some clients want Honduran mahogany or white oak, which is more expensive. They also can be more challenging to work with. Marvin makes windows in these hardwoods, as they are beautiful but will limit it to specific designs that they know will perform well. In the warm, dry climate of SoCal, both wood species can work. Your Marvin dealer can guide you on which window styles are appropriate in hardwoods.
Best Window Materials for Northern California Homes
Aluminum Clad Pine
In Northern California, where the weather is often damp and winters can get cold, the first consideration is window frame material. As mentioned above, pine is the gold standard for Marvin windows, and it’s especially recommended for this climate. Pine is the best option for damp weather as it resists rotting and pests and is not prone to expanding.
Aluminum clad over pine is ideal in NorCal. While pine does a tremendous job on its own, the added protection of aluminum on the exterior will significantly increase the longevity of the windows.
You may have NorCal clients pining for other woods like Honduran mahogany or white oak, but we strongly recommend against it. Both hardwoods are more expensive and beautiful, but they will not perform as well or last as long in damper climates. White oak is especially prone to expanding and shrinking and takes longer to dry.
Double the Panes and Watch the U-Factor
Double-paned glass is always recommended in Northern California, as well as a Low E coating to block the sun’s radiation. But with the colder temperatures, the U-Factor – the measure of how well the glass keeps heat inside – is what to look for. In NorCal, you want a U-Factor that’s less than or equal to .30. The lower the number, the better the insulation.
Energy Efficiency and Tax Credits
Based on the figures above, windows with an Energy Star rating are kind of one-size-fits-all criteria for energy efficiency. But never go by the Energy Star rating alone. Make sure you’re also choosing the materials that work best for your clients’ specific climate.
Energy Star windows can mean significant tax credit, which can make a huge difference in your clients’ budget. Credits can be as much as $200 per window. But that can change, so always check www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits here for the latest offering and see Marvin Manufacturers’ Certification Statement.
Marvin believes windows and doors should be lasting and exciting to the homeowner long after installation. When homeowners are pleased with their choice, and those windows perform well for decades, lowering their energy bills, it’s a win-win for all of us.