Choosing the Best Materials for New Windows


When your project calls for new or replacement windows in a home, often the customer is focused on style or budget. If the old windows caused problems, they may be more concerned with quality. As the designer, builder, or remodeler in a position to advise the client, some deeper knowledge of window materials will help you guide them to the best choices. And, of course, your local Marvin dealer is always ready to help.

The first thing to establish is that there is far more to the decision than what looks good or is on sale. Windows are a real investment. They increase the value of the home, 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 Atlanta Weather

Atlanta gets hot summers, warm springs, mild winters, and more than its fair share of rain year-round. 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 Atlanta Homes

Low E Glass with a Low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient

dining room windows

The type of glass should be the first consideration in this southern climate. In the Atlanta area, where temperatures average 80° to 90° four months out of the year, the window glass has to let in the sunshine without creating a hothouse. You want glass with a Low E coating to block the sun’s radiation and reflect heat. Double paned glass protects even better.

The 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 .25.

Aluminum Clad Pine Frames with Thermal Breaks

Along with our warm summery weather here, we also get some form of precipitation, mostly rain, over 100 days per year. And then there’s the humidity, which averages over 50% all year, with half the year averaging over 70%, so the window frame material is the other big consideration. You can’t have your window frames swelling up in our heat and humidity.

Marvin’s wood scientists have found pine to be the all-around best material. Pine is the least expensive wood and is structurally strong but not overly rigid. Pine is the best option for humid weather as it resists rotting and pests, and is not prone to expanding. It takes paint or stain like a pro. Clients on a budget will appreciate the affordability with zero sacrifice to quality, style, or performance.

thermal break

You may have some Atlanta clients pining for other woods like Honduran mahogany or white oak. While Marvin does make windows in the popular hardwoods, we strongly recommend against it for the Atlanta area. White oak is especially prone to expanding and shrinking, and takes longer to dry. Both hardwoods are more expensive, and of course beautiful, but they will not perform as well or last as long in humid climates. 

Aluminum clad over pine is ideal in Atlanta. While pine does a tremendous job on its own, the added protection of aluminum on the exterior will greatly increase the longevity of the windows and improve insulation. Our aluminum window frames are built with a thermal break, which is an insulating material built into the pockets of the frame, creating an insulating buffer between the weather and the interior home.

Fiberglass Window Frames

Another great option for Atlanta weather is fiberglass. You can’t beat the strength and durability, and a Marvin fiberglass window has a finished look that resembles painted wood. There’s a reason boats and bridges are made of fiberglass – the material stands up to weather, weight, and extreme forces, and still requires very little maintenance!

Atlanta heat and humidity means nothing to fiberglass. This material expands and contracts at the same rate as glass, so it’s an ideal window frame material. On top of all that, fiberglass is excellent for energy efficiency. 

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.

Contact us today for your free consultation.