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Marvin Essential vs. Renewal By Andersen Windows: Which is better for you?

October 29th, 2021 | 16 min. read

Marvin Essential vs. Renewal By Andersen Windows: Which is better for you?

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Investing in any home improvement project can be scary when you're a long-term homeowner. Remodeling your home can put a dent in your pockets, so you know you don’t want to spend extra time and money on something that won’t last. 

Finding the right replacement window can be challenging if you want to replace your windows because they’re becoming old and worn or are just looking to change things up. 

Because you know you’re looking for something more stylistic than just a standard window, you find Marvin and Renewal by Andersen. Both manufacturers offer windows that are made of engineered materials to provide superior strength with a classic look. 

You’ve heard that clad windows are a great solution for homes in harsh climates, so both of these windows seem like a viable option for you. 

But how can you differentiate between them and determine which is best for you? 

Southwest Exteriors has been a window replacement contractor in San Antonio for over 30 years. We offer windows from several manufacturers to provide every homeowner the right, high-quality window. 

After serving San Antonio for so many years, we’ve become very familiar with our colleagues in the industry. While we offer Marvin windows, we know they are not the right solution for everyone. 

We want to provide an honest, unbiased comparison of the Marvin Ultimate windows to Renewal by Andersen windows so that you can learn about their key differences and features to determine which window is the better solution for you. 

This article will put the Marvin Essential window and Renewal by Andersen window head to head in terms of their material, durability, customization, efficiency, and warranty. 

After reading, you will know the features of each type of window and understand their differences. This way, you can decide which window may be right for you. 


About Marvin 

Marvin is a window and door manufacturer that started as a lumber and cedar company in 1912. They are made in Warroad, Minnesota, and have three major window collections: Signature, Elevate, and Essential. 

Marvin’s major values are commitment to design, efficiency, and sustainability. Their style is sleek and contemporary yet classic for an elegant aesthetic.


About Renewal by Andersen

Renewal by Andersen (RBA) is a window and door manufacturer from the Andersen Corporation that has operated for over 110 years. Their first store opened in Minnesota in 1995, and they now have over 100 operating stores nationwide. 

RBA strives to create new and different solutions for homeowners’ window and door replacement needs and design their products to fit your specific needs. 


Is Marvin better than Renewal by Andersen?

That's like asking if a truck is better than an SUV. The answer is that it depends. 

Renewal By Andersen is a replacement window company. They do not work with architects or builders to outfit new construction homes. Instead, they exclusively target homeowners that want brand-name windows - specifically, Andersen windows.

Why would they do that? Because the margins are better in home improvement than in new construction. If that answer seems too simplistic, you may be surprised to learn that Renewal by Andersen is the world's most valuable window franchise, valued at over 1 billion dollars. 


Marvin, on the other hand, is typically specified by an architect or requested by a homeowner building a new home. Why? Because Marvin products are in a class of their own. They can be highly customized, built in a broad range of shapes and sizes, and have frame profiles that allow architects to draw inspiration from various architectural styles. 

In addition, Marvin has multiple product lines that fully complement an architect or homeowner's vision for what's possible. RBA, on the other hand, has severe limitations and cannot be highly personalized like Marvin. 


If we were building a home or replacing windows, we would choose Marvin. However, we know that not everyone shares our opinion, and that's okay. Keep reading to learn more and read our apples-to-apples comparison across specifications. 


Marvin Essential vs. Renewal by Andersen: What are the windows made of, and how durable are they? 

When looking for replacement windows, what they are made of is one of the most important things to consider for your project. 

The climate you live in, what you want the windows to look like, and how long you want them to last are all things you must consider when looking at the material of a window. These all makeup how durable a window is. 

Maintenance is also a factor to consider for your new windows. All wood windows, for example, require a significant amount of upkeep to maintain the wood’s integrity and make it last. Fiberglass windows require little maintenance when installed with a high-quality finish. 

Here we will outline what the Marvin Ultimate window and RBA windows are made of, how durable they are, and what type of maintenance is required for the window. 


What are Marvin Essential windows made of? 

The Marvin Essential windows are made of pultruded fiberglass. This type of fiberglass is a mixture of resin with fibers that make up fiberglass to make the frame stronger. 

How durable is the Marvin Essential fiberglass window?

Made for Marvin Essential windows, this fiberglass is made to withstand harsh climates with varying temperatures. This means the window will not bend, bow, or crack like vinyl when it constantly encounters hot and cold weather. 

Fiberglass windows are one of the best for places with extreme weather, like Texas. Fiberglass frames are also highly resistant to denting and scratching. 

All of this combined makes fiberglass windows extremely durable and very low maintenance. 

What kind of maintenance is required for a Marvin fiberglass window? 

With this type of window, very little maintenance is required to keep it looking brand new. These windows are also resistant to chipping, scratching, and fading, so you won’t have to worry about them even years after installation. 

To keep your windows looking good as new, you may need to clean the frame with a multipurpose cleaner that does not include harsh or damaging chemicals. 

If you’re looking for a window that will stand against the sun, rain, snow, and hail, then the Marvin Essential window may be the right one. This window is a very durable option for homes in harsh climates with constantly changing weather. 


What are Renewal by Andersen windows made of? 

RBA windows are made of Fibrex composite, a combination of wood fibers and vinyl. This is a unique blend of materials specific to RBA. 

How durable are Renewal by Andersen Fibrex windows?

Although vinyl windows have a bad reputation, RBA Fibrex windows are made to bend and bow very little. The composite blend with wood makes the windows almost as strong as wood without the added maintenance. 

Because the windows are flexible and will bend slightly with temperature changes, they are made with a narrower frame to eliminate the threat of breaking the window glass. 

These windows are also heat resistant up to 150℉ and are made not to rot, decay, or mold within the lifespan of the windows. 

What kind of maintenance is required for an RBA Fibrex window? 

Fibrex windows are made of a specific color that does not require any painting on top. This means that no maintenance is needed for the appearance of the window frame. 

All-wood windows are susceptible to rotting and termite infestation if not properly cared for. Because these composite windows are warranted not to rot or decay, there is no worry for the exterior of the frame. 

If you’re looking for a window that resembles the look of wood and has the durability of wood but does not require all the added maintenance, then the Renewal by Andersen window might be the right one for you. 

Consider how long you will be in your home, what window material types work best in your climate, and overall what you want your windows to look like when analyzing the material of a replacement window. 

How do these windows stack up based on materials and durability?

Overall, both windows are made to be highly durable, strong, and a long-lasting solution for your window replacement. 


Marvin Essential vs. Renewal by Andersen: What can you customize on the windows?

While the material and durability of a window are some of the most essential qualities to consider, the look and feel of your new windows are just as important. 

Your home showcases who you are and your style. The material of a window will give your windows a specific look, but you also want to be able to choose the colors, finishes, grid patterns, and lock styles you want. 

Here we will look at what you can customize on the Marvin Essential and Renewal by Andersen window to understand better whether either can give you the look you want. 

Window shape and style 

The Marvin Essential window collection offers seven different window types and the option for a custom shape. 

Renewal by Andersen windows is available in six different window types and specialty-shaped windows. The difference is that Marvin offers a round top as a separate window from custom shapes. However, RBA allows for this shape as well. So, both collections offer the same window types and shapes.

The words Marvin and Renewal by Andersen with an image of different window shapes below both titles.

Window finish and color

Exterior frame

The exterior of the Marvin Essential frame is available in six different colors ranging from light to dark and even forest green. 

The option for custom color is unavailable, so if you want to customize the color of the window, you will have to paint it yourself, which comes with risks to the quality and longevity of the finish. 

Renewal by Andersen offers nine exterior colors in light and dark earthy tones. 

The words Marvin and Renewal by Andersen with different colors for frames below.

Interior frame

The interior frame of the Marvin Essential window is available in bronze, ebony, and stone white. Bronze and ebony colors are only available if you choose bronze or ebony exterior. 

This limits your interior color options. If you choose an exterior color, not bronze or ebony, your only option is a standard white.

The interior of the RBA window is available in nine different colors and wood finishes. However, some interior colors are only available with specific exterior colors. 

The words Marvin and Renewal by Andersen with different colors for frames below.

Hardware type and finish

For the window hardware on Marvin Essential windows, there are only three different lock styles for casement, glider, and double and single-hung windows. 

Your hardware has six finish options, but the matte black color is only available with an ebony interior frame. 

There are also three different lock styles for RBA windows casement, double-hung, and sliding windows. They have 10 different hardware finish options

The words Marvin and Renewal by Andersen with different colors for window hardware below.

Grilles and grids 

Grilles are the dividers on windows or grids that make a pattern or squares. 

Typically, you can have grilles between the glass, which are grids between the window panes, simulated divided lites, where the grilles are on the exterior of the glass, or true divided lite, where the grids are true individual pieces of glass. 

For the Marvin Essential window, the only option for grilles is grilles between the glass. There are a variety of standard grid patterns to choose from to create various rectangular patterns and simple designs. 

RBA windows have four different grid patterns for your windows, and they can come as either fully divided lites, grilles-between-the-glass, or exterior grilles. 

How do these windows compare on design customizations?

Overall, both windows offer many customization options for your replacement windows. Renewal by Andersen does offer more finish options in the interior and exterior frame and hardware finishes, but this is not to discount the Marvin Essential window. 

One may have the exact color or grid pattern you want, whereas the other doesn’t, and this might be a significant differentiator for you. This is why you must envision what you want your windows to look like and know what you are looking for to choose the one that is right for you. 


Marvin Essential vs. Renewal by Andersen: How energy efficient are the windows? 

Windows protect a large portion of your home. They keep air from moving in and out, water leaking inside, and excess sun heat from warming your home. 

While the look and feel of a window may be the first thing you focus on, it is crucial to look at the window's energy efficiency. 

The glass and frame are two significant components that determine energy efficiency. The frame material helps with insulating your home and the window. The window's glass allows sun heat, UV rays, and infrared rays through the window. 

When determining energy efficiency, you can measure the U-factor, solar heat gain coefficient, infrared percentage, and UV percentage. 

U-factor measures how well a window can insulate and how much heat comes through the window. Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) measures the amount of solar heat that transfers through a window. UV and infrared percentage measures the percentage of UV and infrared rays penetrating the window.

How energy efficient is the Marvin Essential window? 

The pultruded fiberglass of the Marvin Essential window is one of the best insulating materials for a window. They are non-conductive and will not trap heat through the window and into your home. 

All Marvin windows are made to meet ENERGY STAR ratings. This means that the windows are put through various tests to meet maximum energy efficiency. 

Marvin also offers four different Low-E glass glazings to increase your window's energy efficiency. 

The Marvin Essential window has 4% UV, 0% infrared, 0.27 SHGC, and an air infiltration rating of 0.25.

How energy efficient is the Renewal by Andersen Fibrex window? 

RBA Fibrex windows are made to insulate your home and keep air from moving in and out freely. They are also made with a Low-E4 glass that also aids insulation and keeps excess UV rays from coming into your home. 

RBA windows are also ENERGY STAR certified, meaning they are qualified as some of the top-performing windows in energy efficiency. 

RBA windows have a 0.26 U-Factor, 0.23 SHGC, and 0.00 air infiltration rating. 

How do these windows compare in energy efficiency?

Overall, both Marvin and Renewal by Andersen windows are ENERGY STAR certified and highly energy-efficient windows. While the RBA windows have better energy ratings, Marvin offers more glazings for the window glass to improve energy efficiency. 

Both frames are made to insulate your home and create a protective seal from exterior elements. 


Marvin Essential vs. Renewal by Andersen: Who has a better warranty? 

The warranty on your new windows determines how long a manufacturer will cover you if anything breaks or malfunctions in the window. 

Now, each window has a lifetime, inclusions, and exclusions. It is essential to understand them all to determine if a warranty is worth the window. You don’t want to pay upwards of $2,000 for a window only to be covered for five years, right? 

Here we will outline the specifics of the Marvin Essential warranty and Renewal by Andersen warranty so you know what is included, excluded and how long the warranty is good for. 

All about Marvin Essential warranty

Marvin offers a fully transferable limited warranty. The coverage begins on the date of installation. 

Under this warranty, Marvin will repair or replace the product or component of the window or provide a refund. The route that is taken to resolve the issue is up to Marvin. Removal, installation, finishing, refinishing, and disposal costs and services are not included. 

What is included in Marvin’s window warranty?

All components include coverage against manufacturing defects. This means that any problems that arise because the product was not manufactured properly are covered under warranty for 20 years. 

Damage to non-glass components, like hardware, is covered for 10 years. 

What is excluded in Marvin’s window warranty?

Exclusions in a warranty mean the warranty is void if any defects or issues happen from any of the following causes. Exclusions are: 

  • Improper installation

  • Lack of maintenance

  • Acts of God

  • Improper moisture management

  • Thermal energy deficiency 

  • Condensation

  • Corrosion 

All about Renewal by Andersen warranty

RBA offers a fully transferable, 20-year Fibrex windows and glass materials warranty. Locks, hinges, and other hardware are covered for ten years, and installation is covered for two years. 

Under this warranty, RBA will either install the appropriate replacement product or provide a factory-authorized repair to the product. 

What is included in Renewal by Andersen’s window warranty?

Glass parts are warranted from manufacturing, material, and workmanship defects, and it is also warranted not to develop any change in the appearance of the material due to a manufacturing defect or premature failure of the glass. 

Fibrex frames are warranted not to flake, rust, blister, peel, crack, pit, or corrode and be free from manufacturing defects for the warranty period. 

What is excluded from Renewal by Andersen’s window warranty? 

Limited glass warranty does not cover special order glazings, art glass, insulated art glass, impact-resistant glass, or glass that is not factory installed by Renewal by Andersen. 

The warranty is voided if product failure or damage occurs from: 

  • Product modifications

  • Failure of non-RBA hardware

  • Water infiltration due to manufacturing defects or workmanship

  • Foundational settling

  • Condensation

  • Improper maintenance

  • Acts of God

  • Accidents

  • Regular wear and tear

How do these windows compare based on their warranties?

Overall, both Marvin and Renewal by Andersen offer similar warranties for their windows. The biggest difference is that RBA offers a 2-year installation coverage where the installation and labor cost is not included in Marvin’s warranty. 

Some exclusions in RBA, like water infiltration, are not excluded from Marvin’s warranty. Both have very similar coverage. 

When analyzing the warranty of a window, you must consider how long you will be living in your home and what climate you live in. This will determine how much wear and tear will occur to your windows and if you will be covered down the road. 


Marvin Essential vs. Renewal by Andersen: Which window is better for me? 

After putting the Marvin Essential and Renewal by Andersen windows head to head in their material, durability, design, energy efficiency, and warranty, you can better understand and determine which window is best for you. 

Marvin Essential might be right for you if: 

  • You want an extremely durable fiberglass window

  • You want sleek windows inside and out 

  • You don’t want to be overwhelmed with design options

  • You want to customize your window for maximum energy efficiency

Renewal by Andersen windows might be right for you if:

  • You want a window that looks like wood without the added maintenance

  • You want a window made of engineered material for durability

  • You like to have a fair amount of options for customizations

  • You want an effortlessly energy efficient window 

Either window is not the right solution for everyone. When looking for the right replacement window for you, remember to consider your goals, wants, and needs for your project. 

Envision what you want your windows to look like, how you want them to function, and how long you want them to last. 

After considering what type of window you are looking for, you may be wondering how much a replacement window costs. Just like finding the right window for you, the cost of a window replacement is determined by many factors. 

This article and video will outline the top four factors determining a window replacement's cost. Then, you can have realistic expectations when entering your window replacement project and understand what will influence the cost the most. 


Is Marvin more expensive than Renewal by Andersen? 

Let's find out! Contact Renewal by Andersen for a window quote, and then contact us to get a bid on Marvin windows. We surmise that our Marvin estimate will be less than at least 20% across the board, but we are open to being put to the test. 


Who makes Integrity windows?

Integrity Windows is a windows and doors brand manufactured by Marvin Windows and Doors. Marvin Windows and Doors is a well-known company specializing in producing high-quality windows and doors for residential and commercial applications. Integrity Windows, a division of Marvin, is known for its durable and energy-efficient windows and doors, often made from Ultrex® fiberglass, a strong and low-maintenance material. Marvin's reputation for craftsmanship and Integrity's focus on performance has made them a respected choice in the window and door industry. 


Are you interested in the Marvin Essential window?

Southwest Exteriors offers Marvin windows from their Essential and Ultimate collection. We service San Antonio and surrounding areas and have been window replacement experts since 1989. 

If you think the Marvin Essential window might be the one for you and want to learn more, you can schedule a free, in-home consultation by filling out the form on our webpage. A representative will call you within five minutes to help schedule your appointment with one of our expert design consultants.