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Marvin Essential Window Review: Best window for durability and simple design (Article)

October 25th, 2021 | 10 min. read

Marvin Essential Window Review: Best window for durability and simple design (Article)

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The inside of a living room with large windows on one wall, a fireplace and TV to the left, and a couch with two matching round chairs across from it with a matching patterned ottoman.

After living in your home for quite some time, you begin to grow tired of looking out the same old and worn windows. 

You aren’t sure if you will be living in the same home for the rest of your life, but you know you’ll be there for a good while. So when looking for replacement windows, you know you need something high-quality and long-lasting. 

You aren’t looking for the most elaborate and regal-styled window, but rather something more sleek, modern, and simple. 

While diligently researching high-quality, durable, and minimally-designed windows, you come across the Marvin Essential window collection. Mavin is one of the bigger names in the window replacement industry, 

If their reputation is so good, they must have great windows, right? 

Before making any decision, you want to learn more. How do Marvin windows really perform? What are all the features? What kind of things can I customize?

Southwest Exteriors has been a window replacement contractor in San Antonio for over 30 years. We carry replacement windows from several different manufacturers to offer you a wide variety of options to fit all your needs. 

We offer windows from the Marvin Essential collection because of their durability and classic design. However, we want to provide an unbiased, honest review of this collection to help you make the right decision for your project. 

This article will review the Marvin Essential window collection’s material, durability, design capabilities, energy efficiency, and warranty. 

After reading, you will know all about the Marvin Essential window and can determine if it is the right window 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 collections of windows: 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.

What are Marvin Essential windows made of? 

The material of a window is one of the most important qualities to look at when searching for replacement windows. The material of the window frame will determine the durability of the window and how long it’s going to last. 

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 than regular fiberglass. 

How durable is the Marvin Essential fiberglass window? How long will it last?

Pultruded fiberglass, made for Marvin Essential windows, 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 these components combined makes fiberglass windows extremely durable and very low-maintenance. 

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 for you. This window is a very durable option for homes that live in harsh climates with constantly changing weather and will last. 

What can I customize on the Marvin Essential window?

After reviewing the material and durability of the Marvin Essential window, the next thing you want to know is what the window can look like. 

Because replacement windows are such a high investment, you want to know what you can customize to make your windows unique to you. Even if you aren’t looking for the craziest and fanciest designs, knowing your options is important. 

Window type options

The Marvin Essential window comes in seven different standard window types and shapes, from double-hung to casement, as well as a variety of specialty shapes for picture windows. 

8 different window shapes with a bone color frame.

Exterior frame colors

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


Custom colors are not available, so if you are looking to customize the color of the window, this window is not the one for you. 

7 squares, one larger than the others, with different color options for the exterior frame. The colors range from bronze, black, beige colors, and a green.

Interior frame colors

Theinterior 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 as well. 

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

Four squares, one larger than the other, with interior frame color options like bronze, black, and white.

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. 

There are six finish options for your hardware, but the matte black color is only available with an ebony interior frame. 

7 squares, one larger than the others, with different colors on them for hardware finishes.

Grids and grilles 

The final design element to review for your windows is the grid patterns and grille options. The 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. 

Overall, the Marvin Essential window provides standard and simplified customization options. If you are someone who finds it hard to make decisions and get overwhelmed by too many options, then this window might be perfect for you. 

However, if you are looking for an elaborate window that allows unlimited customization for every element of the window, then this window is not for you. 

How easy is it to operate Marvin Essential windows?

After choosing what type of windows you want and how you want them to look, you want to know that they are going to be easy to use and function the way you want. 

Because of the craftsmanship of Marvin windows, there is no worry when it comes to operating your windows. In each window, there is a balance system that keeps the window in place when you open and close it. This balance system is crucial to how the window moves, how well it was made, and how long it will last. 

Whether you want a double-hung window on your second story for easy exterior cleaning or a simple slider window above your kitchen sink, Marvin windows are made for high-quality functionality and easy use. 

How energy efficient are Marvin Essential Windows?

When looking for replacement windows, you not only want them to fit your style and look good, but you want to know that they are going to protect your home as well. 

When talking about energy efficiency, technical measurements are taken to measure how much UV light is penetrating through the glass and how much heat is coming through. We will define those terms here. 

UV percentage 

This measures the percentage of UV rays that penetrate through the window. The lower the UV percentage, the more UV rays come through, making your house warmer. UV rays are classified into three categories: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. 

According to the International Ultraviolet Association, “normal glass (as used in windows) is transparent to UV radiation to a wavelength of about 330 nanometers (nm) (UV-A),” allowing almost 100% of UV-A rays through the window. Below 330 nm will block UV-B and UV-C rays, which are more harmful.

The Marvin Essential window has 4% UV, meaning that only 4% of UV rays will penetrate through your window. 

Infrared Percentage

This is the percentage of infrared rays that penetrate through a window. Britannica defines infrared rays to be the “portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that extends from the long wavelength, or red, end of the visible-light range to the microwave range.” 

These light rays are invisible to the eye but produce heat just like any other ray on the electromagnetic spectrum. 

The Marvin Essential window has 0% infrared.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

This measures the amount of solar heat that comes through a window, ranging from 0 – 1. The U.S. Department of Energy’s consumer resource, Energy Saver, says the lower the SHGC, the less heat from the sun comes through a window, helping your home to stay cool during a hot summer (and fall and spring if you’re in Texas).

With a low SHGC, you will also not get as much heat radiating from your windows as you would with normal glass.

The Marvin Ultimate window has 0.27 SHGC.

Air Infiltration Rating

This measures “how many cubic feet of air passes through a window per minute in relation to the size of the window,” according to a blog post by window manufacturer Marvin. They recommend for a window to have numbers lower than 0.30 cubic feet per meter (cfm)/ft2.

Just like heat rays passing through a window, the air infiltration rating has to do with insulation. The better your window is insulated, the less air will come and go as it pleases into your home.

The Marvin Essential window has an air infiltration rating of 0.25.

All of these measurements combined ultimately determine how energy efficient a window will be.

When customizing your window, there are options to add extra coatings to the glass or extra panes of glass which would increase the energy efficiency and insulation of your home. 

Do Marvin Ultimate Windows have a good warranty?

Warranty is one of the key ingredients to the value of your new windows. You want to know that if something goes wrong or breaks, your window will have coverage. 

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

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. 

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

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. 


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

  • Improper installation

  • Lack of maintenance

  • Acts of God

  • Improper moisture management

  • Thermal energy deficiency 

  • Condensation

  • Corrosion 

Overall, Marvin’s limited warranty on window frames stands among others. Most window manufacturers have a 20-year warranty on frame components and 10-year coverage for glass. This makes Marvin a heavy competitor against the rest. 

Our verdict: The Marvin Essential window is the best window for durability and sleek, simple design

After reviewing the Marvin Essential window in its material, durability, design capabilities, energy efficiency, and warranty, you now understand all the key features of the window and can determine if it is the window you are looking for. 

The Marvin Essential window is extremely durable and made to last in harsh climates. It offers many design options for a sleek and modern look. However, it is not the most customizable window. 

If you are looking for a fiberglass window that will last as long as you live in your home and aren’t concerned about needing every detail customized, then this window might be right for you.

If you want a more elaborate window to showcase your unique design, then this window might not be the best option for you. However, Marvin offers multiple collections of windows, like the Marvin Ultimate collection, which may be more what you are looking for. 

Finding the right window for you

When looking for replacement windows, you must consider your wants, needs, and goals for your project. How important is energy efficiency to you? What type of design customizations are you looking for? How much are you looking to spend? 

All of these questions are crucial to outline while looking for windows and finding the right one for you. 

At Southwest Exteriors, we offer the highest quality window types backed by a high-quality installation and service. We offer and install Marvin Essential windows because they are one of the best fiberglass windows on the market and are perfect for San Antonio homes. 

When you schedule a consultation with us, our main goal is to help guide you to the right window for you. We never pressure one product on you, andif we aren’t the contractor for you, we recognize that and want to help you to the right one. 

As you’re researching replacement windows and looking into which window may be right for you, you’re probably wondering how much a window replacement project even costs. Understanding the cost of your project is crucial before moving forward so that you can have realistic expectations in your product, installation, and warranty. 

Check out this article and video about how much a window replacement costs and what factors influence the total cost.