Published: Dec. 17, 2020
One of the hottest new trends in home replacement windows are black window frames. They can give a sophisticated, modern look to a home, regardless of its style.
But can we order black vinyl windows, which historically have only been available in white, almond or clay colors? And do black vinyl windows cost more?
We did a quick interview this morning with Sal Sucato, owner of DunRite Windows & Doors to get the scoop, and here’s what he had to say.
Black vinyl is coming soon
While multiple manufacturers are racing to produce black window frames for their vinyl products, he shared, it’s not something currently available on the market quite yet.
However, homeowners have been asking for it, so some manufacturers now offer an alternative: painting the exterior frame black.
Manufacturers have been working on a specialty paint that works well with vinyl windows and doors, and for homeowners willing to pay an upcharge of 20-40% for black vinyl windows, only the exterior of the frame can be painted during the manufacturing process.
“I especially like the Anlin product for black vinyl windows,” says Sucato. “They have a great product with very few problems, fantastic customer service and quality control, and just offer a quality product across the board. Their solution for vinyl windows with black exteriors and white, tan or adobe interiors are my preferred product from what’s available on the market today. It’s a solid choice that homeowners are happy with.”
Whatever you do, don’t go with a low quality black vinyl product, and don’t plan on painting vinyl windows black after the installation is done.
Homeowners should never, ever paint vinyl windows
Painting vinyl windows is typically frowned upon by manufacturers, since most homeowners end up blocking drain (weep) holes, painting hardware shut or causing trouble with how a window opens or shuts. It voids the warranty. Paint also does not typically adhere well to vinyl, creating a peeling, flaky mess, and primer could possibly melt vinyl.
Homeowners should be aware that the color of the windows they choose during the purchase process is the color they’ll remain for the life of that window. It’s important to pick a color they’ll be satisfied with long-term, even if the exterior paint or roof colors change.
However, painting vinyl is a different story when it’s done at the factory.
Painting is done before glass and hardware are added to the frame, bypassing common issues, and the paint contains specialty heat additives that prevent it from peeling when the vinyl is impacted by hot weather conditions.
Will that window eventually need to be repainted black? Anlin offers the same solar reflective pigment technology used by the Military’s stealth program. It reflects infrared heat away from the surface to reduce heat conduction, and has a lifetime warranty finish. This option hasn’t been available long enough for us to see how their painted frames wear over time, and what happens when the windows require fresh paint. That being said, we trust any product from Anlin, so we’re not concerned about this. They sell great products that they stand behind and have thoroughly tested.
To be sure, however, ask these questions and be sure to evaluate the warranty of any product you are considering. It’s important you are satisfied with the answers before making a purchase.
Here’s why black vinyl windows cost more
Black vinyl windows do cost more than vinyl windows in standard colors, because it adds an extra step to the manufacturing process. Instead of relying on vinyl pellets with color already blended in, the product must be pulled out of the production line and shuffled over to be painted.
For some manufacturers, it’s a third-party provider, so they’re shipping the frames off to be painted, then waiting for them to be returned before manufacturing can be completed.
Either way, the upcharge for choosing black frames is here to stay until manufacturers launch black as a color additive blended right into the vinyl, which is how the other color options are made. Will the price for black vinyl windows then be the same as other color choices? Perhaps, but we won’t know until the manufacturers figure this out themselves.
For some homes, black vinyl windows are not a smart option
When you compare the various types of window materials—wood, aluminum, vinyl and proprietary compounds created by some manufacturers–Vinyl is the softest material choice. Choosing a dark color on a soft material can be problematic in Arizona’s hot climate. Using a high quality product matters.
There are some situations when use of a dark vinyl is discouraged, adds Sucato. If a home is painted white with a white roof reflecting heat right back on a dark window, even the best quality of painted product can be trouble waiting to happen. In those cases, DunRite typically suggests another window material, such as Andersen Window’s Fibrex product, which is a combination of vinyl, fiberglass and wood fiber.
Pella fiberglass is also another strong option.
For those who strongly prefer a black vinyl window, or those concerned with how a painted vinyl window lasts over the life of the window, there is one other alternative: waiting until they come onto the market. It shouldn’t be long, since manufacturers are competing to be first to market on an all-black vinyl window product.
We’re hoping product will start becoming available in 2021. We’ll see!
Questions about the type of window best suited to your home and budget? Schedule an in-home appointment. It’s a no-pressure, no obligation way to get information that’s relevant to your specific situation. We can’t do that over the phone.