Rosie Romero special for the Arizona Daily Star
Question: What is the new trend in window appearance?
Answer: The new trend in Arizona? Black windows.
Depending on the material used, such as vinyl, wood or fiberglass, windows are usually available in several colors, the most common being white, almond, clay, bronze or the normal assortment of colors of wood stain. However, black frames are entering the market in a big way, now available in almost all frame materials.
Every manufacturer is rushing to deliver a product of this color, with different methods of achieving it. Fiberglass, wood, and aluminum-clad wood are all available with black exteriors and a black or white interior. However, for America’s most popular product, vinyl windows, it is not yet possible to infuse the vinyl with black during the extrusion process, which is the normal method of mixing the color into the product.
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Instead, some offer factory painted exterior frames to meet the demand of the black window trend.
One manufacturer also offers a capstock frame, which includes a black acrylic layer extruded over the vinyl. While it’s less prone to scratching than a painted finish, the capstock and painted options only include a 10-year limited warranty from that manufacturer, instead of the standard lifetime warranty it normally offers.
This type of shorter limited warranty is a compromise that comes with selecting a black vinyl window from almost any manufacturer.
Q: Do black window frames cost more than other colors?
A: It is very likely.
“Since this is an extra step in the manufacturing of painted and capstock windows, there is usually a 20-40% markup to cover these costs,” says Sal Sucato, owner of DunRite Windows & Doors, a Rosie on the House certified partner. “They use a special paint that has been tested in hot climates like Arizona and includes a warranty against peeling and blistering.”
Q: Do you have any suggestions for purchasing black windows?
A: Yes. Be sure to purchase black windows from a reputable window brand, such as Pella, as not all vinyl windows are created equal. You usually get what you pay for. Since black absorbs heat from the outside of the house, instead of reflecting it like lighter colors, the strength and durability of the window must be able to handle and disperse that heat. Otherwise, problems such as warping and sagging of the frames may occur. The black paint or capstock should also include an additive that reflects heat, to prevent the black paint from bubbling, blistering or peeling. Finally, if the window is vinyl and made with a mix of virgin and recycled vinyl, homeowners should be aware that the softer mix is more prone to problems than a 100% virgin vinyl window.
Read the warranty carefully before making a purchase, as it is usually a shorter length of coverage than that offered on infused vinyl products. It’s important to read the fine print of the specific product line you’re considering, not just the manufacturer as a whole, as coverage depends on the types of materials used in the window.
Q: Is it a bad idea to paint my window frames black?
Sucato suggests homeowners not paint their existing windows black without talking to the manufacturer. This can void the warranty, block energy efficiency and lead to a maintenance nightmare of having to repaint every year. Additionally, homeowners often end up blocking window weep holes, which are essential for drainage and preventing water damage, or paint hardware and tracks in a way that makes the window difficult to open. and close.
If factory painted, black paint is sprayed on the frame and sills before the glass and hardware are added, bypassing common problems. The paint also includes special additives that prevent problems related to weather and climate. Aftermarket paints don’t always perform the same even though they’re formulated for vinyl, especially when it comes to dark colors.
If a painted vinyl product isn’t what you’re looking for in a black window, vinyl windows might not be the right choice. You might consider considering other materials, such as aluminum, aluminum-clad wood, or fiberglass.
An expert in the Arizona home construction and renovation industry since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning radio show “Rosie on the House,” heard locally from 10 to 11 a.m. on KNST (790-AM) in Tucson and 8-11 am on KGVY (1080-AM) and (100.7-FM) in Green Valley.