How Qualicoat ensures better coloured aluminium windows

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Nick Dardalis

Coloured aluminium windows are widely available, and there are about 200 colours in each brand of colour powders. QUALICOAT is one of the longest established standards for powder-coated coloured aluminium windows, and you’ll find most aluminium windows are coloured to the internationally recognised Qualicoat Standard. Whether your windows and doors have a RAL colour, BS colour or use a Syntha Pulvin reference, QUALICOAT affects the suppliers of your new windows and doors much higher up the supply chain. However, it is worth knowing a little about this standard, what it means for your window colours and the peace of mind it gives you when buying new aluminium windows.

Why QUALICOAT matters when buying new coloured aluminium windows.

When investing in new coloured aluminium windows for your home, applying the colour to these is a sophisticated process carried out by professionals. But the process starts long before your windows are installed.

  1. Aluminium Extrusion – Creating the aluminium extrusion for the window frames. 
  2. Pretreatment – Preparing the extruded profiles for the coating process. 
  3. Coating – Applying the desired colour to the profiles. 
  4. Curing – Heating and solidifying the coated profiles for a durable finish. 
  5. Inspection – Checking the quality and colour consistency of the finished profiles. 
  6. Delivery to Window Factory – Transporting the finished profiles to the window factory. 
  7. Window Assembly & Installation at End User’s Location – Assembling and installing windows.

QUALICOAT is at the forefront of setting the standard for quality coating, and the good news is most quality aluminium system companies use the Qualicoat Standard. Some outsource their window profile painting to established coating companies, and many around the UK are set up to paint aluminium and other metals professionally. Other larger system companies have invested in their own paint plants, having even more control of the process from the initial aluminium extrusion to painting and delivery to the window and door manufacturers.

What does QUALICOAT do?

QUALICOAT is a global quality label organization that sets and maintains rigorous standards for the coating of aluminium used for architectural purposes. Architectural purposes also cover the windows and doors you want for your home. Since its establishment in 1986, it has been at the forefront of technological advances, ensuring a consistently high quality coating technology. QUALICOAT provides specifications followed worldwide by powder coaters, powder manufacturers, and pretreatment suppliers, creating a benchmark in the industry for top-tier aluminium coating.

Furthermore, QUALICOAT is instrumental in fostering innovation and sustainable practices in the coating industry. Its members continuously collaborate in research work groups to address issues, devise new methodologies, and enhance the existing specification incrementally. QUALICOAT ensures the coating processes used by its members are environmentally friendly and meet high-performance standards. This contributes to the longevity and resilience of the finished products, improving their service life and overall sustainability.

Why does QUALICOAT offer your new windows and doors?

When you buy your aluminium windows, you expect a uniform and attractive colour finish, free from defects and imperfections. At the same time, powder-coated coloured aluminium windows provide easy cleaning and low-maintenance windows.

coloured aluminium windows coated to the qualicoat standard

Giving you this high-quality finish is a network of professionals with sophisticated factories, processes, inspection systems and expertise. These powder coating companies are also routinely inspected to ensure their businesses comply with the QUALICOAT standard, the most recent being Qualicoat 3.0.

Before you see your new windows, QUALICOAT routinely updates their globally-followed standards based on rigorous testing and research by a collaborative team of professionals, including the companies that manufacture the powder and licensed powder coaters. These companies are experts in colouring aluminium window and door profiles. As long as you carry out regular cleaning and maintenance of the colour finish, you are rewarded with windows having resilient exterior and interior surfaces. No window and door is fit and forget; you must routinely clean them.

As an example of the checks and balances applied before you get your new windows, QUALICOAT consistently tests their members’ coated aluminium samples to guarantee uniform quality. This inspection process has also revealed that the quality of the recycled aluminium used significantly impacts the coated aluminium’s durability vs non-recycled aluminium extrusions. Because aluminium is widely known for its environmental credentials, QUALICOAT was instrumental in helping those that use recycled aluminium also get the same high quality coating of a new aluminium extrusion.

How the coating of coloured aluminium windows has changed.

Before you can get an exceptional finish on powder-coated coloured aluminium windows, a sophisticated cleaning and pretreatment process of the metal takes place before it is coated. Without proper cleaning, you won’t get uniform colour coverage and potentially bubbling and fading colours in the future. QUALICOAT has been instrumental in innovating the pretreatment process, gradually moving away from the once-dominant chromate pretreatment systems, which are expected to be phased out across many European industries by September 2024. Instead, they’ve turned to chrome-free pretreatment systems that perform as well and are far more environmentally friendly.

Additionally, QUALICOAT has also changed its standards to cover the quality of the aluminium itself at the extrusion/production level before it’s coated. This gives the end user even greater peace of mind of a quality aluminium window or door.

High quality coloured aluminium windows every time

Because the high standards applied to powder coating windows and doors happen long before you see your new windows, it is hard for any homeowner to know whether their windows are coated to the QUALICOAT standard.

However, if your windows come from a reputable systems company either with their own paint plant or if they outsource to a professional finishing company, quite likely you are getting coloured aluminium windows to this standard. You can also check with the window manufacturer and installer. When you also choose a quality brand, this standard is also likely, again giving you the highest quality colour finish.

Looking to buy new windows and doors? Every year the Aluminium Trade Supply Website helps thousands of homeowners for free, putting them in touch with the best windows and doors from the right suppliers. Contact us for help and advice with your property project.