Affordable & Low-Maintenance Dark Windows

Sponsored by Ply Gem Windows

Learning Objectives:

  1. Examine window aesthetics and trends for dark windows in new and existing residential projects.
  2. Compare and contrast the manufacturing process, advantages and disadvantages, and ease of dark-color application to various window materials.
  3. Analyze the challenges and standards relating to heat buildup.
  4. Summarize the elements architects need to look for to ensure quality, durability, performance, and customer satisfaction when specifying dark windows.


1 AIA LU/Elective
AAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
AAPEI 1 Structured Learning Hour
MAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA.
This course can be self-reported to the NSAA
NWTAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
OAA 1 Learning Hour
SAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the AIBC, as per their CE Guidelines.
This course is approved as a Structured Course
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
Approved for structured learning
Approved for Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA
Course may qualify for Learning Hours with NWTAA
Course eligible for OAA Learning Hours
This course is approved as a core course
This course can be self-reported for Learning Units to the Architectural Institute of British Columbia
This test is no longer available for credit

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When specifying window frame colors, white or neutral have long been the go-to choice and standard. Recently, however, a trend for darker colors to match or contrast exterior cladding colors has been on the rise, in part to make windows a focal point or feature of an architectural style for new construction and renovations. In the past, darker window frames were limited to painted wood, aluminum, aluminum-clad, or composite material frames due to the higher price point. Affordable, low-maintenance materials such as vinyl were limited to white and tan because of the colors’ low reflectivity and resistance to heat buildup from sun exposure. However, advances in vinyl pigments and new, thermal-resistant paints now provide architects with a wider array of dark-colored window material options that are more affordable. This course will explore the basic aesthetics and trends of dark colors and provide a detailed discussion of choosing available dark window styles.



Ply Gem Windows Ply Gem (NYSE: PGEM) is a leading North American manufacturer of building products, headquartered in Cary, N.C. With a focus on functionality, performance and aesthetic design, Ply Gem delivers window and patio door solutions to help architects plan and execute tailor-made residential and commercial projects, from entry level to luxury. Ply Gem is a partner in your business, offering products with superior craftsmanship, innovation, energy efficiency and beauty, plus the tools to help generate leads and cultivate loyal customer relationships. In addition to windows and patio doors, Ply Gem produces a comprehensive product portfolio, including siding and accessories, engineered roofing, designer accents, cellular PVC trim and mouldings, vinyl fencing and railing, stone veneer and gutterware.


Originally published in December 2018