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Do Black Windows Fade?

One of the hottest trends in home design are black windows. White is still by far the most popular color we install but black is catching up fast. In fact, they’re so in style that over half the homes we’ve built in the last 5 years have used them. But black windows are nothing new. They started some time in the 19th century and architects have been using them to make a statement in high-end modern construction for decades. As with all elements of design, you should go with what you love regardless of the trend. Most clients are using black windows for the first time and always ask the same question. Do black windows fade? And the answer in yes. Black windows do tend to fade over time due to UV damage. Black fiberglass, Aluminum and UPVC windows all fade in different ways and at different rates.

Choosing black windows over white or wood is a big decision. Although you may love the style that comes with black windows, your probably worried about how long they’ll last before fading, warping or other damage occurs because of such a dark color. As everyone probably knows, dark colors tend to absorb more heat which can damage them. So the really important questions are, do black windows last and are they worth it?

If you’re contemplating black windows for your next home build or remodel, you might be asking the same questions too. Ahead we’ll answer them.

Why Do Black Windows Fade?

Black windows have been making a statement for decades. In the past black windows were used primarily on high-end modern homes, but these days we’re seeing them installed in just about every style. Black windows can take your home’s exterior style to a whole new level. But there’s a drawback.

Black windows do fade over time mainly due to UV sun damage.

Black windows are made from different materials. Generally they’re either fiberglass, aluminum, UPVC or painted. Each finish fades at a different rate. Finish refers to the paint material that the window manufacturer used to color the window.

The quality of the windows makes a big difference in terms of fading. The better the window the less and slower it will fade. This is because high end manufacturers use coloring that resists fading and often bake the color into the material rather than simply painting it on.

Sun exposure is the leading cause of fading. The windows that are constantly being exposed to strong sun will fade a lot faster than black windows in the shade.

Heat is another factor. Some materials, like metal, will absorb more heat which can cause paint to chip and fade easier. For this reason I prefer UPVC, fiberglass or painted wood over aluminum.

If you paint your windows black, make sure to use a fade resistant black paint that has some UV sun protection. You can also add an additional layer of sealant with even more UV protection. Black absorbs a lot of sun and can use all the help it can get.

Black Window Materials And Fading

  • UPVC (Ultra Plastered Polyvinyl Chloride): A commonly used material for window and door frame construction. The material is more resistant to fire, weather, warping and discoloration due to UV damage. However, black UPVC windows can still fade. The finish can become dull after ten to fifteen years of continuous UV light exposure. Although a faded UPVC windowdoesn’t look that bad, when you compare to a brand new UPVC unit the difference is noticeable.

Window manufacturing technologies have improved over time. Modern UPVC windows and doors are now highly resistant to fading. Instead of applying color to the surface like they used to. manufacturers now bond the color right to the UPVC material. This  makes the color much more durable and fade resistant.

If you’re thinking of replacing a black UPVC window because of fading, you may not have to. UPVC can be spray painted instead. Just make sure you use paints that are resistant to UV light and approved for use on UPVC.

  • Fiberglass: Black fiberglass windows are very popular. They come in two types, gel coated and painted. While both finishes fade, gel-coated fiberglass windows can resist fading for 10-20 years. Paint typically fades in 5-10.

Climate and temperature contribute to how fast fiberglass windows fade. Also the quality of the paint or gel coating makes a big difference. High quality windows resist fading much better than cheap ones.

  • Aluminum: Metal aluminum windows are painted black after manufacturing. We typically see them fade in 5-10 years.

As with fiberglass, fading depends a lot on the quality of the window.

  • Paint: Painted black windows typically fade in 5-10 years.

What To Do When Black Windows Fade?

Any material with pigment in it will fade over time. No matter how good the quality is or how deep the color, eventually the sun will lighten the color. This is mainly because UV rays damage the pigment found in the coloring. Even when coloring is all the way through the material the surface will still fade.

Because all black windows eventually fade, you need a strategy to deal with it. Fading will happen long before the window needs replacing. In some cases you may have the windows another 20 years after they’ve started fading. So what can you do?

The simple answer is paint. Any window can be painted black. I prefer to spray paint my windows rather than brush them because the coat is smoother and more even. If you spray the windows right, the finish will be as good as the factory.

  • Make sure the paint you use has UV protection built in. This new paint coat will fade too, but with UV protections it will take longer.
  • Buy paint that’s specific to the window frame material. You don’t want to use a wood paint on metal or fiberglass.
  • For even more protection use a sealer. The sun damage will have to eat through the sealer before it gets to the paint. This can buy you another year or so.
  • Make sure to tape and mask the glass before you paint.

I also recommend buying a high quality black window that doesn’t look as bad when faded. Cheaper windows that only have surface level paint look terrible when they start to fade. But high quality black windows use better coloring that’s in some cases solid. They fade a lot slower and don’t look as bad when they do.

Do Black Windows Warp?

Warping is more common when your windows are painted black. The frame of the window can distort due to heat absorption. Since black absorbs more heat than white, warping is more of a problem.

Warping is more common with wood windows, but it can happen with other materials too. The heat absorbed by the wood causes it to expand and deform. This deformation actually changes the window frames shape. It looks bad but also effects the window’s performance. In some cases badly warped windows can become very hard to open and close.

Light colored windows reflect more UV rays which means they don’t get as hot. Black windows hardly reflect any light at all so they can get very hot.

Black absorbs more UV rays than light colors. This causes heat to build which makes them more susceptible to warping.

Non-wood window frames are typically stronger than wood, but they can still warp if enough heat builds up. Luckily most factory built black windows take heat into account by making the frames extra strong. They’re able to resist UV rays and deformation. But if you paint a light colored window black, the frame may not be strong enough to withstand the heat.

Painting windows black makes them absorb more heat. If you live somewhere that gets a lot of sun and want black windows, I’d recommend buying them black from the factory.

If you paint your windows black, make sure to buy a paint designed for exterior use with UV protection. Modern paints come with reflective substances built in so even black can reflect some light.

If your really worried about warping then go with black fiberglass. It doesn’t warp or rust. Fiberglass can absorb extreme heat which makes it a great window material for really hot locations.

Do Black Windows Last?

A house with black windows can make a big impact. But are there drawbacks. Do black windows last?

The answer is yes they do. All of the factory made black windows by companies like Andersen, Pella, Marvin, and Jeld-Wen have been of very high quality. However, how long the window lasts depends on its material, finish and location.

Black vinyl windows are more affordable and don’t require much maintenance. But they tend to fade easier and overheat which can cause cracking. Overheating can compromise the structural integrity of the frames and glass. I wouldn’t recommend black vinyl in locations that are really hot.

Overheating can also cause the frame to curve outward and bulge on the outside.

The best way to prevent severe overheating is to use UPVC, wood or fiberglass frames. These materials deal with heat much better than vinyl.

UPVC is coated with a material that looks great and resists damage. But it can fade quickly. Make sure to buy black UPVC windows from a top manufacturer that warranties the window.

Black fiberglass windows are durable and will not fade quickly.They’re a great all around black window.

Wood is tricky. If you use the right paint a painted black wood window will hold up really well. However, if you use cheap paint the color will fade and the window could warp.

If you’ve decided to use black windows on your house, I’d recommend fiberglass or a high quality UPVC.

Are Black Windows Worth It?

Overall I would have to say yes. Black windows are very trendy but also a classic look. They’ve been used for centuries on high end modern homes and are now more accepted on just about any house. Over half the houses we’ve built over the past five years have used them and with zero complaints.

In terms of ROI, I’d say black windows are really good. They have a strong curb appeal and create a nice contrast. The house will definitely stand out among the neighbors since most existing homes are using white. And the cost is comparable to other similar quality windows.

Black windows tend to be high quality. Most cheap windows only come in white. Because black tends to absorb more heat they need to be built strong to resist warping.

To really get the most out of black windows I’d recommend using them as part of an overall design. Don’t just install them in any house without giving the design some thought. For Modern homes they’re pretty much a standard. The Modern Farmhouse almost always uses black. We’re even using them in more traditionally styled homes with brick and stone. And they look great with grey siding and white trim.

Black windows are often considered an upgrade to white and a selling point. I’ve never seen anyone advertise white window frames but many homes sold these days are using black windows as a special feature.

Even though black windows are a lot more popular than they used to be, they’re still very rare. I think they’re worth it and will continue to install them on many of our homes.

Black Window Gallery

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

modern home with thin black frame windows

Modern home with thin black frame windows.

Beautiful living room with floor to ceiling black windows.

Beautiful living room with floor to ceiling black windows.

Modern kitchen with black windows and gliding doors.

Modern kitchen with black windows and gliding doors.

Poolside view of a Modern home with black windows and gray wood siding.

Poolside view of a Modern home with black windows and gray wood siding.

Beautiful modern living room featuring black windows.

Beautiful modern living room featuring black windows.

Stunning custom home with black windows, stone & gray siding.

Stunning custom home with black windows, stone & gray siding.

Living room with black wood windows.

Living room with black wood windows.

Transitional home with black windows & herringbone wood floors.

Transitional home with black windows & herringbone wood floors.

Beautiful kitchen with white countertops & black windows.

Beautiful kitchen with white countertops & black windows.

Transitional white home with black windows, covered porch and metal roof.

Transitional white home with black windows, covered porch and metal roof.

Summary: Do Black Windows Fade?

One of the hottest trends in home design are black windows. White is still by far the most popular color we install but black is catching up fast. In fact, they’re so in style that over half the homes we’ve built in the last 5 years have used them. But black windows are nothing new. They started some time in the 19th century and architects have been using them to make a statement in high-end modern construction for decades. As with all elements of design, you should go with what you love regardless of the trend. Most clients are using black windows for the first time and always ask the same question. Do black windows fade? And the answer in yes. Black windows do tend to fade over time due to UV damage. Black fiberglass, Aluminum and UPVC windows all fade in different ways and at different rates.

Choosing black windows over white or wood is a big decision. Although you may love the style that comes with black windows, your probably worried about how long they’ll last before fading, warping or other damage occurs because of such a dark color. As everyone probably knows, dark colors tend to absorb more heat which can damage them. So the really important questions are, do black windows last and are they worth it?

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

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