Most vinyl windows are sold as white inside and out, however, substantial market opportunities exist for colors and decorative finishes, both inside and out. Because many window fabricators have national sales programs, it is important to consider weatherability and heat buildup in the color conversation.
Typical techniques for achieving color along with pros and cons:
Solid Vinyl is achieved by pigmenting the compound to achieve a desired color. Extrusion of solid color vinyl is not difficult and colored vinyl is easily separated for recycling. Window fabrication of solid color vinyl requires no additional steps, except for the necessity to ventilate and reinforce dark colored profiles. Minor scratches during fabrication and installation are generally accepted and not a cause for repair as with painted surfaces. Light colors, such as earth tones, generally perform well, however, as the colors get increasingly darker, it is more difficult to keep compound cost and heat buildup low while still achieving excellent weathering.
Capstocked Vinyl - Although PVC can be capped with PVC, it is usually capped with more weatherable compounds such as Acrylics, ASA, PMMA etc. The primary benefit is improved weathering. The capping compounds cost much more than PVC and extrusion requires two extruders. If the cap covers the entire exposed surface then cost savings may be realized in the substrate. Weld cleaning will generally require touch up. Shallow scratches in the cap need not be repaired.
Laminated Vinyl consist of laminates that are hot glued to the profiles after extrusion. Laminates are attractive and durable. Tooling needs to be relieved to accommodate the thickness of the laminates. Weld clean touch up is required. Lamination of horizontal and vertical sliders can be challenging and labor intensive when considering parting lines and screen tracks. Learn more about VEKA's Pinnacle® Color Program.
Paint can be applied to profiles or finished windows. As paint is a very thin coating it is susceptible to scratches during fabrication and installation. Protective film is recommended. Touch up after weld cleaning is necessary. Paints can be formulated to have excellent weathering and low heat buildup. Application of paint is usually very labor intensive.
Hotstamping is applied to profiles by applying heat and pressure to a foil that transfers the hotstamp to the profiles. Hotstamped profiles should have protective film applied to reduce scratching and will require touch up after weld cleaning. Hotstamps can be formulated to have excellent weathering and low heat buildup.
Aluminum Cladding can be applied to finished windows to achieve superior coating performance. This may also improve structural performance with only minimal negative effect on thermal performance. There will be tolerance issues, additional cost for painted metal and additional labor for fabrication and assembly. Some care will be required to minimize paint scratching.
SUMMARY - There are many successful paths to colorization of vinyl. It is important to match the needs of the customer with the proper path.