And I thought picking a window was tough. Picking exterior colors is the hard part!
One of the key reasons we went with Soft-Lite was the better interior faux-wood match and the fact that they would custom-match the exterior vinyl color. So no problem right, we can pick any exterior color we want?
It turns out the dumb aluminum wrapping on the brickmold is the pain in the bottom. It only comes in 250 color choices, which sounds like a lot, until you realize that's the same number of colors your PC had in 1990, and you know how realistic those graphics looked.
There's a dozen browns (in the red to black range), and about 3-5 options that aren't terrible, and a couple that kinda match what we'd already chosen for the exterior color. But they don't match quite close enough. Nothing clashes worse than two colors that are kinda close to each other.
The other big issue is the reflectivity/texture. At least the ring of aluminum rectangles we got with the colors on them are very shiny paint, and also textured. The color and brightness changes dramatically depending on direct lighting and angle. It looks a completely different color in the shade versus direct sunlight, and completely different at one angle versus the other. This makes me very worried about how it will match up with the window and trim in real life. Even if we did a perfect color match between all three, will the shininess and angular/light variations of the aluminum ring around the window make it always appear to glow or be a different color than everything else?
And is the aluminum wrap typically textured or is a flat?
Is it possible/recommended to just paint the aluminum wrap in post to get a better match? I've been told the factory finish will last forever (though it will "fade" over time), but if you paint it you'll need to repaint in 10 years because it will chip off. Is that true?
Is there an alternative? The PVC from azek only comes in white. I get so much mixed answers on painting vinyl. Of course the paint store says you can paint anything. The windows guys tell you it'll void the warranty. And the contractors say painted PVC will fade and chip in 5 years. I don't know the truth. I almost wish we could just have wood. But I really want the benefit of maintenance free. Some of our existing wood brickmold is rotting, and the woodpeckers get to it. But that was just one part of the house where a tree was rubbing against it, and we've since trimmed the tree back considerably.
We have the same issue with our gutters. They were aluminum, picked a "close enough" color to the existing trim and that actually worked out rather well. But since we'll be changing the trim color, we'll need to paint those gutters. I'll pay someone else to do it, but just wondered if they're going to start chipping in a few years. If it would be cheaper or better to just replace the gutters with a better matching new color.
While I'm at it I'll ask one more question. Do you think the "Grids" in the window are best to match the exterior window/trim/brickmold color, or is like a neutral beige? The grids seem to stand out a bit more in a lighter color, and blend in a bit more with matching (darker brown). The biggest pain of these new windows is the in-between the glass grids. I don't know who thought up that idea, but it means if we ever wanted to change the exterior color, we'd have to get new windows since you can't paint the grids inside the glass.
Apparently so I've been told by window sellers, the entire southern half of the US just uses white windows inside and out. It's some northern states thing to have wood windows and colors and things like that. I personally think white vinyl inside and out looks cheap and nasty. All the interior trim in the house is oak. And all the exterior trim on the house is painted. white wouldn't match anything and would stand out like a sore thumb. If you had white painted interior trim like a nice colonial or victorian it would probably look good. Or if you just had vinyl/alum siding it probably wouldn't matter what color the windows were.