HISTORY of one of the major quality manufacturers of windows and doors :
Rand & Merry Soellner toured the Marvin Window factory in Warroad, Minnesota on 5/15/2008. This impressive facility has over 2.1 million square feet of area. The plant has been rebuilt several times, with additions through the decades, dating back to 1912 (Marvin Lumber & Cedar Company) by George Marvin. In 1939 Bill Marvin joined the company. Merry and I met him. He is in his late 90s. We had breakfast with Frank Marvin, who remains active in the business. The Marvin family still runs the company. We were impressed with the quality and dedication that the Marvins and their staff put into their windows and doors.
Especially impressive to Rand was the fact that in the Marvin museum they went out of their way to mention several legal hassles the company has had from time to time over the decades (what large company hasn’t?), and how the Marvins’ handled themselves during these issues. Without fail, the Marvin company went out into the world and replaced and repaired any defective products (thousands of them at their own expense), which were often created by suppliers of materials to the Marvins rather than items they made. This is how you test a big company: what do they do when something goes wrong? In 1987, Marvin Windows & Doors was recognized as one of the “99 things Americans Make Best” by Money Magazine. We saw the quality that goes into every Marvin window and door in person in the factory. They are the largest custom, made-to-order window and door manufacturer in the world.
GREEN/ ENERGY EFFICIENCY/ SUSTAINABILITY of windows and doors :
They think “green”. They recycle everything and waste nothing. We saw thousands of feet of conveyor belt systems that take large boards (approximately 3”x12”) and cut it into smaller pieces, then put them back together again using fingerjointing and glue, to result in strong, straight sections of wood for their products. Home architects appreciate these details in windows and doors.
CLADDING of the Windows and doors:
I was impressed by how they clad their windows and doors. Most aluminum cladding on other companies’ windows is thin, roll-formed with baked enamel or other silconized polyester paint and most other companies have this thin metal directly contacting the wood frame for most of its perimeter. Marvin does not do it that way. Marvin: extruded aluminum (thick, very strong) with Valspar Kynar paint (which is the Rolls Royce of architectural paints we architects like to specify) and this cladding is held away from the wood frame for most of its perimeter. This means that any condensation on the interior side of the Marvin cladding is less likely to rot the wood structure inboard of the exterior metal. While we by no means guarantee any aspect of Marvin’s product performance, we were delighted to see that they have solved the deficiencies that we have noticed with many other manufacturers of windows and doors.
SILICONE IN THE CORNERS of the windows and doors :
Marvin will probably ask me to remove this bit of information because it is so smart that other manufacturers will probably start doing it when they discover what Marvin is doing, if they already haven’t, for their windows and doors. I watched with interest while robots in the Marvin factory accepted a window frame, grabbed it with caliper-like tongs, drew it square, then drilled holes in the bottom of the doors and window frames near the corners, then injected silicone into this drilled hole, allowing pressurized silicone to squirt into the corners (inside the frames, horizontally and vertically) for a couple of inches each way, insuring their watertight performance there. What an intelligent thing to do.
CUSTOMIZATION OF WINDOWS and DOORS:
There is just about nothing Marvin won’t do. I have tested them with this and may have one thing involving very large doors that they may not wish to do, but they told me they are thinking about it. However, when us architects come up with sort of “normal” sizes, Marvin is the company that seems to get it right the first time. That is one of the reasons I like to specify them.
They never tell me what their corporate policies are that do not allow them to do this or that (like some of their competitors have informed me), they just do it and I am pleased to say that on complex projects I have been delighted that their shop drawing reviews are perfect the first time on my work. I have had trouble with some other companies, seeing 4 or 5 shop drawing reviews and those other companies still didn’t get it right. I use arches frequently and in the Marvin factory, I saw the reason why they get this right: they have a whole area called “Round Tops” and also have a custom area called “Signature”, and they have multiple arch radii forms, presses, hydraulic wheels and other apparatus that allows them to make perfect arched windows and doors.
They do have one technique that allows them to bend aluminum extrusions without damaging them and I am not going to reveal this. They are so clever and have perfected this process that I believe it should have the status of a trade secret. Marvin has learned these techniques over about a century of trial and error, spending countless millions of dollars in research and development and now bring these wonderful products for us to use in our designs. I am glad they are around.
Breather Tube Technology Specified
SEALANT AROUND MARVIN WINDOWS and DOORS:
Marvin has an inner bead of butyl sealant, then another bead of silicone outboard of the butyl between the edges of the panes of glass in their insulated panes. They believe that this combination gives the best bond and uses the benefits of both types of sealants.
WHY WE DID THIS:
Touring manufacturing facilities is just one more way that we can come to understand the quality of the products we specify. While we have not done this for everything we specify and detail, it is one more way of getting closer to what we do and building quality into our projects for our clients to enjoy.
OTHER WINDOW and DOOR MANUFACTURERS
While we love Marvin’s quality, clients often have budgets that are tight and for those situations, we have other windows that we specify and consider as well.
Mountain Doors and Windows Designed by Mountain Home Architects
For those of you desiring something more in tune with our “Rustic Elegance” motifs, you might enjoy Rand Soellner Architect’s Historic Mansion Doors
These are in the Falcon Cliff Lodge and appear to be 150 years old (they are actually new). They are made of white pine, although some folks believe they are wormy chestnut. The secret is in our custom distressing & finishing. We also design a variety of sensational mountain-themed doors with old world craftsmen who will carve your doors out of solid slabs of Honduran mahogany (or other species) if you wish. We are here to help you realize your dreams and exceed your expectations!
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windows and doors
Mountain home architects