Choosing Colour for Aluminium Windows and Doors

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Nick Dardalis

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The process of choosing colour for Aluminium Windows and doors in an important part of the buying process. Whether it is a homeowner making the choice or if the choice is part of a commercial specification.

Windows and doors are marketed as having over 150 and even 200 colours available. In fact, there can be several thousand.

In this article, we look at the colour processes used in residential and commercial aluminium windows and doors.

Colour standards used in polyester powder coating.

traditional door in aluminium.
The creation of coloured aluminium extrusions involves set standards going back nearly 100 years.

Most people are familiar with the RAL referencing used for polyester powder coating. RAL derives its name from the 1920’s when Reichs-Ausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung (Reich Committee for Delivery and Quality Assurance) was founded in Germany.

The first RAL colour chart only consisted of 40 colours and was referred to as RAL840. Today RAL is operated by the German RAL Institute.

As well as RAL the other colour standards used are:

  • Syntha Pulvin. A quality range of powder coatings for over 40 years.
  • BS4800. The range of colours under British Standard Colour
  • NCS. A colour model with no mixing, using the three pairs of primary colours.
  • Pantone. Originating in printing, a system for colour matching accurate colours.
  • BS 381C.A further range of colours under British Standard Colour.

Of all of these RAL is one of the most commonly used.

How are RAL colour shades defined?

this origin door in ral 5002 could be a blue from over 100 other combinations and references.
This Origin door in RAL 5002 could be a blue from over 100 other combinations and references.

It is reported that over 2000 shades are possible under the RAL colour scheme although nearer 200 are commonly used. RAL falls into several subcategories such as RAL Classic, RAL Effect, RAL Digital and others. However, it is RAL Classic that is the most used in powder coating of architectural aluminium extrusions.

Each RAL CLASSIC shade has a code comprising of four numbers with a satin, matt or gloss designation. With so many colours available those in the industry have quickly learned the approximately colour each code is likely to be the first digit.

RAL Classic shade codes:

  • RAL 1XXX Yellow 40 colours
  • RAL 2XXX Orange 14 colours
  • RAL 3XXX Red 34 colours
  • RAL 4XXX Purple 12 colours
  • RAL 5XXX Blue 25 colours
  • RAL 6XXX Green 36 colours
  • RAL 7XXX Grey 38 colours
  • RAL 8XXX Brown 20 colour
  • RAL 9XXX Black and white 14 colours

Where are the other colour references used?

Despite the popularity of RAL colours, the other colour references are used.

Pantone shades while primarily employed in textiles and printing can be referred to when an exact colour match to company branding may be required.

British Standard colours are also used for construction. If you have Brown Monarch aluminium windows and doors in the home, these are powder coated under the BS 08 B29 Van Dyke Brown reference.

NCS colours are rarely used owing to how hard they can be to other industries to colour match. These typically use longer codes denoting the primary colour groups used as well as shade or saturation.

When aluminium promotes ‘virtually any colour’, it means it.

The powder coating process is over 40 years old and has evolved into dual colours, metallic colours and even very specialist finishes with extended guarantees. It can even match more consumer focused colours such as Farrow and Ball paints.

If the customer wants a unique colour, it is possible, it is achievable, but most colours outside of the standard ranges will come with hefty minimum order charges and individual set up costs.