It may still be the case that many people think that UPVC Windows only come in “cheap white plastic”, when actually this could not be further from the truth.
With the demands & tastes of homeowners becoming more sophisticated manufacturers have spent a lot of time & trouble developing a substantial range of colours & finishes for their latest products.
Not only do you have a choice of colour, you can also select different finishes, from “gloss”, satin or even woodgrain effect.
The availability of such a wide range can be very advantageous, especially in homes that need to have aesthetically (visually) sympathetic windows and doors – cottages, houses of character, listed building etc.
Other than using coloured vinyl to actually manufacture the window, broadly speaking there are 2 popular methods used for colouring UPVC for use in replacement windows:
Spraying, as you would probably assume, is a painted finish. Usually applied using air-powered paint spray guns to the UPVC and can include lacquers as well as paints – you could think of the window frame being painted the same way as a custom car maker would spray your car bumpers.
This allows for a huge range of colour choice with at least 1 company (http://www.kolorseal.co.uk/ColouredUPVCWindows/RALColourChart.html ) showing more than 400 different shades in their portfolio. They also point out that their spray paints form bonds at the molecular level and don’t just “stick to the surface” like a regular paint.
A more realistic number of popular colours readily available would probably be between 12 to 15.
Foiling is a completely different process, more like lamination (an extra layer) and involves chemically bonding the finish to the UPVC Windows, “fusing” the colour permanently onto the material itself.
One extra option you have with foiled colours is that they can be manufactured to have a wood-grain effect that recreates the appearance and texture of wood.
The price of a coloured UPVC Window is going to be higher than that of a standard white version and you could probably expect to pay a premium of between 10% & 20% of the cost to add a colour finish.
It may also be that the more obscure colour you require the higher the cost, or the opposite in that the more popular the less expensive.
Each supplier will be able to give a number of reasons as to why you should choose their product, but in real terms both systems offer very similar benefits & guarantees.
Foiling does offer wood-grain effect as an option and RAL or spray colours tend to have a wider choice of shades.
But these small differences, in the writers’ opinion, don’t offer enough on their own to sway the argument in favour of one or the other – it could come down to personal preferences or even the type of deal the supplier offers at the time of purchase.