The hottest trend in windows right now is black frames (the thinner the better) maximum glass and large lite patterns. Whether it’s a classic California style stucco house, or a more contemporary combination of brick and siding, architects, designers and homeowners are opting for dark frames to accentuate the windows and provide a stark contrast to the house color.
While dark colors look great, they also draw more heat and that can be problematic in Houston’s hot and humid climate. Choosing the right frame material can help homeowners avoid problems with the windows as a result of excessive heat on the frames, ensuring your new windows function well and provide you with many years of service.
Many vinyl window manufacturers are now offering their products with painted black exteriors, but plastics can have difficulty with warping and bowing in hot environments – particularly if the windows are large and exposed to direct sunlight. Despite its drawbacks, vinyl is typically the most affordable option, and they offer great efficiency while requiring very little maintenance. If vinyl is your preferred window material, your safest option is to look for premium manufacturers who use maximum amounts of Titanium Dioxide in their PVC compounds to help prevent UV breakdown. Remember, if a vinyl window has narrower frames than the average, it’s going to be flimsier, and more susceptible to warping. While it may look nicer with more glass and less visible frame, it won’t hold up well in our harsh summer environment.
Thermally-broken aluminum windows are a good choice for dark colors because it is impervious to warping and bowing – no matter how much sun hits the window. Aluminum windows offer narrower frames than traditional vinyl windows, and are incredibly strong and rigid. While vinyl windows have become dominant in the replacement window market nationwide, aluminum windows are currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity due to their durability and dark color options.
Composite windows are slowly growing in popularity in the Houston market as well, due to their variety of color options and improved stability and performance over vinyl windows. While composite windows are more stable than vinyl, they do have thicker frames, which reduces the glass space and visibility. In addition, composite windows are typically 25 – 50% more expensive than both vinyl and aluminum.
Steel windows, fiberglass windows, and aluminum clad wood windows are three other options for dark frames, but these are generally quite expensive when compared to vinyl windows, aluminum windows or composite windows.