Judith Sutton ABR CRS IDS PMN ASP IAHSP SRES GREEN
Judy@JudithSutton.com 908 803-0472
BLACK STEEL WINDOWS AND DOORS, Oh My!
Here are some functional & aesthetic factors to consider when choosing the right windows for your home
I agree with possibly considering this type of window for new houses. And I think black or dark windows are a classic but within certain constraints. I recommend the Old House Guy blog for an intensive deep-dive primer on traditional windows and historic architecture. The beauty of old windows is that with proper care they can last centuries and can be any color you want! When committed to black windows, there's a lot to consider.
A little history lesson here:
In the past, black or dark colors were softened by painting just the sash and pairing a dark sash with other rather dark colors on the trim, and often the black had a hint of another color in it, like green or brown. In Victorian times, the windows were wood, and if tastes changed, as they did around 1900, from dark trim, to light trim, then the tones could be adjusted to your liking. By about 1920, metal casement windows started to get popular, and they usually had dark frames. Even after the switch to lighter trim, darker sash colors were the norm until around WWII.
After WWII, mill-finished aluminum and light wood tones, and bright white paint came on the scene. By that point, a lot of old houses were painted over with white to make them less fussy, and it was easy to match off-the-shelf. House colors tended to be neutral or pastel until the 1970s, when the painted ladies started to bring color back, at least for Victorian houses. By the 1980s when the quality of wood windows had dropped and vinyl gained popularity, and dark brown wood tones fell out of style, the norm became white sash, often paired with white trim.
In the past 15 years or so, trim has become more robust again, at least on quality traditional style homes, in part due to composites and changing tastes and the Craftsman and Farmhouse Revival. The palette has shifted from earthy to grey and whites and light-filled interiors, so dark sashes have come back in style. However, attention needs to be taken to ensure proportion and details work well together and weather the test of time.
The problem with mass-produced low-maintenance modern windows is that you cannot change the color easily, and if you do, you risk easily damaged or peeling paint or visible weatherstripping within a few years. Modern black windows lack the subtlety and depth of old windows and often look rather flat. I think they work well with modern architecture, masonry structures, and perhaps very well-done traditional architecture. Then there is always the issue of what to do with window coverings on the inside. This simple, industrial looks best un-draped- with either fabric, blinds, or printed coverings. Leaving one's windows bare does take some thought and calculation.
Anodized dark brown aluminum windows may be a choice as well that is somewhat less stark. Due to the thermal properties of vinyl to expand and contract with the temperature, it is probably best to stick to white.
For the most flexibility, think about getting wood or fiberglass windows, then you can paint or finish the inside in any color you want. Remember- trends are thought to last 10 years, then what do we do about all that black? They are truly beautiful and trendy now- but in time, they may not be! Feel free to reach out to me to discuss your options! I'm here to help!
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