As Canadians, we always wonder just how “bad” the winter will be. Will we see lots of snow? Exceptional cold? Freeze-thaw cycles?
Regardless of what the weather does, one thing we northerners know for sure is that will be dark. And from now until spring we will be craving as much sunlight as we can get.
This is a season when we want light to stream in through our windows and doors, to flood the house with brightness and visual warmth. Quality windows are a big part of making that happen, says Ken Kussen of Great North Windows & Doors.
“Every window will let in the light,” he says. “But the best windows just let in more of it, because they have narrower frames and more glass.”
Ken and his sons Brad and Jeff own Great North Windows & Doors. Together they have decades of experience in the industry. While trends come and go, they note that architectural design has been consistently moving toward more and more glass. Whether it’s the “wall of windows” effect or something a bit more traditionally inspired, newer homes almost always feature much more glass than they did a generation ago. Which means the choice of windows and doors is even more important than ever.
“Higher quality windows and doors, like those made by Marvin, feature much narrower frames,” says Jeff. So, the emphasis is on the glass – or rather, on the view outside and the welcome light that streams in. All while meeting the latest Energy Star specifications.
Research and development
“Marvin is a billion-dollar company with a massive research and development budget,” says Brad. “And they’re constantly working to ensure their products are the best available.” Marvin pioneered fibreglass windows over 20 years ago. Since then, they have developed ever stronger and sleeker mounting systems that allow narrower frames and wider openings.
“Whenever architects look at the Marvin specs, they are blown away,” Brad says. “The right windows and doors let them design homes that the light can flow through, rather than having to limit their vision because the windows won’t support it.”
Another feature designers and homeowners alike love is the ability to mix and match between lines.
Marvin has five different collections of windows, Ken explains, at an array of price points. But all of them have the same visual profiles.
Why does that matter? Because it allows builders to use top-of-the-line windows in the most visible parts of the home and less expensive windows in places like the guest bedrooms or the boathouse, without the difference being immediately obvious.
“When you look at the home, all you’ll see is that all the windows and doors have the same visual profile,” Ken says. “You won’t see that the windows in one part of the house are fibreglass and in another part are metal.”
Marvin’s Ultimate Collection features warm wood interiors and is arguably the finest aluminum clad window in the industry. Ultimate windows are certified for the highest durability, and the collection offers the largest sizes and extensive product options.
The Elevate Collection features a fiberglass exterior with warm wood interiors, complementing the Ultimate Collection but at a more cost-effective price point with more streamlined options.
Marvin’s Modern Collection is one of the best engineered windows on the planet, featuring high density fibreglass construction with stunning clean aluminum interior covers. “All-aluminum windows are too cold inside and are prone to condensation and frost in the winter,” Brad explains. “Fibreglass is a natural insulator, so Marvin patented their own warm frame designs to lead the industry.”
The Essential Collection complements the Modern Collection, with all-fibreglass construction and sharp design features but at a more cost-effective price point with more streamlined options.
The matching lines also extend to doors as well, which is another important design feature. “You can have a wall of windows that includes doors, without breaking up the visual impact of the design,” Jeff says.
“Whether you have multi-slider doors, a single patio door, hung doors – it doesn’t matter. The lines can all be the same.”
Here, too, sleekness matters. One of the more impressive features is the flush sill that is available for sliding and multi-slide patio doors. “The sill sits flush with the floor, so you don’t need to step up and over it to travel from one room to another. It’s perfect for doorways that lead into a screen porch, for example. And for anyone with mobility concerns, it’s a game changer – you can drive a wheelchair or a walker right over it without any issues at all.”
And yes, size also counts. “We can install swinging doors that are 12 feet high,” says Ken. “That’s an impressive door! But you can still open and close it with your fingertips.”
Whether you’re designing a year-round home or a seasonal getaway, natural light is a vital part of the design. “A home is a living space – it changes throughout the day and through the seasons as the light levels change outside,” says Ken. “The right windows and doors just help ensure that happens – smoothly, naturally, comfortably.”
TEXT A. WAGNER-CHAZALON