A closer look: Windows and doors

A closer look: Windows and doors

A woman stands in between two open doors.

The Legacy Steel doors sold by ProVia can be fit with “tranquility glass,” a decorative glass accented with beveled clusters. (Photo courtesy of ProVia)

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 immeasurably to its curb appeal.

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

Headquartered in Minnesota, Marvin is a family business whose window expertise dates back to 1939. Today the company is the world’s largest premier manufacturer of made-to-order windows and patio-style doors, and its signature brand — Marvin Windows and Doors — is known for wood and clad wood products that can be completely customized. “Marvin Windows provide the ultimate flexibility,” says Boyum. “If you can dream it, we can build it.”

The company umbrella also encompasses two newer brands — Integrity from Marvin Windows and Doors, which features Ultrex® fiberglass products; and Infinity from Marvin Replacement Windows, which uses Ultrex to simulate wood windows. Together, the three brands constitute a one-stop shop with an exceptional selection of windows and patio.

Marvin brand windows typically are installed in upscale new homes, but adds Boyum, “They’re also used as replacement windows in many mid-range houses.” Aside from being a good insulator, wood looks rich, and Marvin choices vary from standards like pine and cherry to more unusual black walnut and mahogany. Exterior aluminum cladding is also 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.

The Integrity and Infinity windows’ Ultrex is a patented, protruded fiberglass that does not expand or contract in extreme temperatures. “It resists cracking and denting,” says Boyum, “and gives structural strength to a window.” Along with durability, Ultrex windows in both lines come in light and dark fade-proof colors. If a homeowner needs to match siding or roofing, they also can be painted. In addition to aesthetics, Boyum reminds homeowners to consider performance, because replacement windows should be energy efficient and keep the house comfortable. “The materials in Marvin products,” he notes, “meet or exceed most Energy Star® requirements.”

While Marvin has an online “Inspiration Gallery” and downloadable apps to help you find the perfect windows, Boyum recommends visiting a Marvin retailer to see the windows’ superior construction and appreciate how smoothly they operate. “Homeowners,” he says, “shouldn’t choose windows for the cheapest price, but the best value.”

Joe Klink, corporate relations director at ProVia, agrees that value is an important consideration when selecting new windows and doors. “ProVia products are not inexpensive, but they’re high value because of their quality and features,” says Klink. “You may pay more upfront, but you’ll have less hassle later.”

ProVia makes exterior doors, replacement windows, vinyl siding, and manufactured stone at its plants in Mississippi and east-central Ohio, where, says Klink, “we employ lots of Amish workers.” Operated by the Mullet family, ProVia began in 1977 in a garage in Sugarcreek, Ohio, and its building materials now are distributed nationwide. “ProVia’s manufacturing process,” says Klink, “is set up for customization. If you walked through our Sugarcreek plant, you’d be hard pressed to find two doors that look alike.”

Besides steel and fiberglass entrance doors, ProVia makes aluminum storm doors and vinyl, steel, and fiberglass patio doors. “ProVia’s Legacy™ Steel entry door is our flagship product,” says Klink. “It has heavy 20-gauge steel and a mechanical interlock system for extra strength.” The company’s Signet fiberglass doors also are popular, thanks to embossed wood grain that seems remarkably like the real thing. “People will touch a Signet door and think it’s wood. The fiberglass is that authentic-looking,” says Klink.

ProVia’s website has helpful tools geared to homeowners’ four main motivations for replacing exterior doors — beauty, durability, security, and energy efficiency. “If beauty is their reason,” says Klink, “people can go to the ‘Design It’ tab and upload a photo of their home to create a new door.” Anyone interested in durability or security can access features and specifications tabs, while the “Energy Star” tab actually calculates the thermal performance of ProVia’s door and window components. “The website,” Klink observes, “puts tons of information at your fingertips.”

ProVia’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.” Measuring heat conduction, the U-factor 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,” explains Klink, “insulates better than argon.”

From all-vinyl ecoLite™ windows to AerisTM windows with vinyl exteriors and pre-finished wood interiors, ProVia windows offer options such as internal grids, privacy glass and the company’s exclusive Inspirations™ Art Glass. Hand-stained in ProVia’s Baltic, Ohio, factory, Inspirations Art Glass allows people to personalize their home’s curb appeal with original designs, house numbers, and even their names. “I don’t know of another window company,” says Klink, “that does custom art glass in-house.”