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Are Black Windows More Expensive?

Black windows are one of the hottest trends in home design. We’re using them in our new home builds and renovations more and more each year. In fact, over the past 5 years over 50% of the homes we’ve worked on have used them. They add drama and contrast to a home’s interior and exterior design and really catch the eye. Black windows really catch your attention when just about every other house in the neighborhood is using white. But are there any drawbacks? Are black windows more expensive?

Yes, black windows are more expensive than white ones. This due to a few factors. The color adds additional cost because black fades over time when exposed to UV sunlight. This means special additives are included with the color to give it some protection and prevent fading. Volume is an issue too. White and wood windows cost less because they make up the majority of windows sold each year. And then there’s quality. Black windows absorb more heat than white. Heat cause expansion which can make a window frame warp. To stop this from happening black frames are built extra strong. There are plenty of low quality white vinyl windows sold but that’s not true of black. They’re generally considered a higher end window option.

Ahead we’ll look in depth at why black windows are more expensive than white and wood.

Why Are Black Windows More Expensive?

When shopping for new windows you’ll notice that black windows tend to be more expensive than white when comparing similar quality units. This can add a lot to the build or remodel cost of a large home. In some cases we’ve built homes with black windows that cost over $100,000.

Typically the black option adds about 15%-30% to the cost of the window or door. Installation is exactly the same. The exact price difference varies by manufacturer and window.

This can also make the home using black windows more expensive too. But it doesn’t always. In some cases premium quality windows have a good ROI. Black windows can be used as a selling point. They’re pretty much standard on Modern style homes or the super trendy Modern Farmhouse or Transitional home. But if your building or remodeling a home that doesn’t really need black frames, you may not see a return. I don’t the added cost is warranted for every home.

So why exactly are black windows more expensive than white ones? And are they worth the money?

The Color Black

The base color for windows is either bare wood or white. The vast majority of windows sold in American are made in one of these two finishes. Black is gaining in popularity each year but is still considered a specialty window. Black windows are not stock and need to be special ordered.

Adding additional pigment to the finish causes a few problems that are all more expensive.

  • Black doesn’t reflect UV rays, it absorbs them. This means black windows get hotter than white or wood which can cause warping. To compensate for this, reflective elements are added to the finish to increase it’s UV protection. This isn’t needed with white or wood.
  • Fading is also a big problem with black. UV protection is also needed to help retain a black windows color.
  • Another issue with heat is warping. To deal with this, manufacturers make black window frames extra strong to resist expansive forces caused by heat.

As with any product, when more time and money goes into producing it, the more it will cost.

Volume

The amount of white and wood frame windows manufacturers make and sell each year compared to black isn’t even close. And with huge volume comes lower prices. Even though we’re installing more and more black windows each year, the total isn’t even close.

Drive down just about any suburban street and you’ll probably find 100+ homes with white or wood window frames compared to black.

Black windows are still considered a specialty product that isn’t generally kept in stock. Go to any Home Depot or Lowes and what you’ll find are lots of white windows and doors. Retailers keep in stock what sells and it’s still overwhelmingly white.

Quality

When you consider why black windows are more expensive than white ones you also need to keep in mind the quality. Black windows are generally considered a high end product.

Cheap white vinyl windows are easy to come by but black isn’t. This is mainly due to the fact that black windows get very hot. To resist warping a black window needs to include UV protection and a strong frame. As the window heats up it will try to expand which warps the window. A strong frame is needed to resist these forces.

Fading is also a big problem with black. No one wants a beautiful black window that terribly fades after a few years. And dark colors tend to fade much faster and more noticeably than white. To solve this problem, black windows include lots of UV protection which costs money. But you really do need it. Without UV protection the windows will badly fade and become sun damaged. They may chip, peel, crack or warp.

  • Some black windows simply have a black veneer that’s added on after the window is made.
  • Others have a black dye added to the raw window material as it’s being formed.
  • A less durable option includes painting a white or wood window black.

No matter which type of black window you buy, make sure it’s of high quality and the finish has UV protection. Also make sure the warranty covers excess fading. All black windows will fade a little bit over time but if it happens too quickly or too much the window may be covered.

Black Windows Are Custom

Customized windows are a great way to style your home, but they come at a price. Typical white or wood windows are generally kept in stock and ready to install. Go to any Home Depot or Lowes and you’ll find lots of stock sizes and styles. And if they don;t have what you want they can be ordered and ready in a few weeks. This isn’t typically the case with black.

This is because most homeowners buy white or wood windows. The vast majority of windows installed today are still white. Black is a special order item which means less volume and more cost.

Due to lower demand for the product, there are also fewer manufacturers producing black windows. I use Pella, Andersen, Kolbe, Marvin or Jeld-Wen. They’re all fantastic window manufacturers with good warranties that make a high quality black window. But they’re expensive. Lower end window manufacturers generally don’t offer black.

While these window manufacturers all offer black, some Modern homes required completely custom windows built on site. These black windows are made from custom window frames called mullions. They’re the same basic windows you see on store fronts or huge buildings. The windows on the side of a sky scraper are built using mullions. They’re 100% custom, black and very expensive.

High End Style

For years, black windows have primarily been used in high end custom homes and the style tended to be Modern. Although black was used in a few other styles like Victorians for example.

These days, black windows are still used on almost all Modern homes but things have expanded. The Modern Farmhouse and Transitional homes that are so in style at the moment use black windows in almost all of their designs. It’s a beautiful look that creates a stark contrast between the black windows and surrounding light finishes.

Because of advances in manufacturing and an increased demand, many products are cheaper than they once were. The cost of black windows has come down as more manufacturers make them and more homeowners buy them. It’s a cycle that I think will continue because people really do seem to like them. And the window quality is very good. I still wouldn’t recommend them for every house, but if you’re willing to design an entire home around them, they’re a fantastic choice.

Many clients like that black windows are more expensive because it adds an additional selling point to the house. In a tough real estate market that can be a big benefit. I’ve never seen anyone list white frame windows as a feature, but black windows are listed like this all the time. They’re high end, expensive and of good quality which are all things some buyers appreciate.

Painting white or wood windows black doesn’t necessarily give you these additional selling points. On looks you could score some points but window quality isn’t increase with a coat of paint.

Finish Won’t Fade

All black windows fade. But that’s true of any exterior color. UV light damages and lightens pigment over time. It doesn’t matter if it’s wood,paint, siding, metal, plastic or windows, all exterior products eventually fade.

The darker the color the more fading will occur and the more noticeable it will be. And there’s isn’t anything darker than black.

The good news is that window manufacturers have gotten much better at creating black finishes that fade much slower and not as much. Advances in manufacturing and UV protection have greatly improved black window performance. Modern black windows are much better than they used to be so fading isn’t as big a problem. Although some does eventually occur.

Another big improvement manufacturers have made is how the fading looks. In some cases it’s so subtly you can hardly notice it unless you see the faded window right next to a brand new one. This is an enormous benefit because the windows still look great even though they’re gradually fading.

Another great improvement is with after market paints. Many paint manufacturers sell exterior black paints for use on window frames. Simply tape and mask the window and spray on a new coat of black paint. Your windows will look like new again for many years. Just keep in mind that the new paint job will eventually fade too.

What Makes Black Windows Black?

Windows can be made to look black by a variety of methods.

  • Some are manufactured to be black by adding the color directly into the material before the window frames are formed. This gives the frame a black color all the way through the frame.
  • Black veneer can be added to the outside of the window as it’s being made while leaving the inside white or wood. This is sometimes called a baked on finish.
  • White or wood windows can be painted black after the window is manufactured. This is typically called a spray on finish.

Painted black windows tend to be the cheapest. It’s less complicated and cheaper to paint a window after it’s complete than it is to manufacture it that way.

Window frames that are black all the way through are expensive. This is because the material can only be used to make black products. The other methods use white or wood with a coating which is cheaper. However, just because a window frame has a solid color it doesn’t mean they don’t fade. They just tend to fade a little less and slower.

Veneer is the medium priced black. The black coating is baked on at the factory as the windows are being manufactured. This is more than just a simple paint job and you can see the difference in the finished product. But these windows fade too.

In each case, the windows will eventually fade and can be painted again. If you do repaint the windows, make sure to use a top quality paint designed for exterior use and with high UV protection. Ad make sure the paint is made to go over your window. Just any paint won’t be good enough and may peel, crack or bubble.

Are Black Windows A Fad?

No, I don’t think black windows are a fad. They’ve been used for centuries on high end homes and buildings. It’s just that we’re seeing a lot more of them as the style homes they’re used on expands.

As black windows become more common, manufacturers will make more of them which brings down cost. This can increase sales which may bring down costs even more. Because of these price decreases and how how much easier they are to get these days I think more and more people will be using them.

Over the last five years over half the homes we’ve worked on have installed black windows. And that’s not slowing down this year. Although I should mention that we tend to work on more expensive custom homes.

I haven’t seen black windows being used on mid to low end houses. But this may change as the prices continue to come down. Eventually a manufacturer will make a line of affordable black windows to compete with white vinyl and then I think we’ll see a lot more of them.

ROI

When you take the higher price of black windows into account, are they worth the money? Will you get more money at resale just by installing black windows.

I’ve never seen any evidence of this which is why I don’t recommend installing black windows on every home. If the black windows are part of an overall color scheme that fits the style of the home then yes, I do recommend them and I do think they’re worth the money. I’ve seen a lot of homes sell quickly because of black window. They make a big impression to buyers both inside and out. But they were always a part of the homes interior and exterior design.

Keep in mind that black windows have to be included in your interior design. It’s a stark color that will stand out in every room. White windows can often be made to fade back with some treatments but that’s not gonna happen with black. The black frames will always stand out so they need to be addressed.

Black windows tend to be of high quality which can be a good selling point. Some buyers care more about the quality of the home than others. You’ll need to decide if window quality effects the market your in or not.

If your simply adding a black window to get a higher selling price then I’d say no. The windows have to be used properly to get the best ROI. If your home is Modern, Modern Farmhouse, Transitional or some other style where they work and are expected then I’d use them. But if not then I’d go with something more traditional and save the money.

Gallery

Here’s a small gallery of some of my favorite black windows.

Transitional style home featuring white siding with black windows.

Transitional style home featuring white siding with black windows.

Interior cathedral ceiling with black frame windows & doors.

Interior cathedral ceiling with black frame windows & doors.

Living room with black windows and matching black stone fireplace surround.

Living room with black windows and matching black stone fireplace surround.

Gray cedar shake siding with white trim & black windows.

Gray cedar shake siding with white trim & black windows.

Modern black windows with cultured stone veneer.

Modern black windows with cultured stone veneer.

Beautiful design featuring light gray shake siding with white trim and black windows. Lots of Azek work.

Beautiful design featuring light gray shake siding with white trim and black windows. Lots of Azek work.

Modern white siding with black windows.

Modern white siding with black windows.

Living room with black windows, black fireplace surround and shiplap.

Living room with black windows, black fireplace surround and shiplap.

Sitting area with large black windows.

Sitting area with large black windows.

Kitchen sink view of the modern black windows and doors.

Kitchen sink view of the modern black windows and doors.

Summary: Are Black Windows More Expensive?

Black windows are one of the hottest trends in home design. We’re using them in our new home builds and renovations more and more each year. In fact, over the past 5 years over 50% of the homes we’ve worked on have used them. They add drama and contrast to a home’s interior and exterior design and really catch the eye. Black windows really catch your attention when just about every other house in the neighborhood is using white. But are there any drawbacks? Are black windows more expensive?

Yes, black windows are more expensive than white ones. This due to a few factors. The color adds additional cost because black fades over time when exposed to UV sunlight. This means special additives are included with the color to give it some protection and prevent fading. Volume is an issue too. White and wood windows cost less because they make up the majority of windows sold each year. And then there’s quality. Black windows absorb more heat than white. Heat cause expansion which can make a window frame warp. To stop this from happening black frames are built extra strong. There are plenty of low quality white vinyl windows sold but that’s not true of black. They’re generally considered a higher end window option.

If you have any questions or comments about black windows Email any time.

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