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Fabricators’ Choice

Finishing for Fenestration  

windows with wood finish

Above: Photo courtesy of Weather Shield

Windows, doors and other fenestration products can provide natural light, fresh air, outdoor views and connections to our surrounding community. They are among the only building products seen on both the exterior and interior. Their shape, size and exterior color may need to blend with a neighborhood’s aesthetic guidelines, enhance a particular architectural style or display a unique self-expression. Homeowners want to personalize their interiors to match their decorating preferences, and often assume this includes their windows and doors.

Color choice

For aluminum-framed windows and doors, manufacturers and fabricators can offer homeowners color choices in anodize or paint. Depending on the finishing service provider, different colors can be selected for the exterior and interior surfaces. Specified and applied properly, both paint and anodize finishing can provide durable, high performance for a long-lasting appearance with minimal maintenance.

Painted finishes can provide a nearly unlimited color range. Specialty coatings can include micas and metallics for extra shimmer and sparkle, and textured wood grain or terracotta finishes. Because anodized finishes are integral to the aluminum, they are available in metallic tones ranging from clear and champagne to extra-dark bronze and black. To achieve the desired finish color, use the assigned paint code provided by either the coatings system manufacturer or the finishing applicator.

Style choice

Fenestration products’ color and shape define a home’s architectural style. Modern minimalist and contemporary styles feature large openings with crisp corners, clean lines and narrow frames typically finished in stark white, black or silver. Traditional architectural styles may showcase earthy browns, forest greens, deep blues or wood-look finishes on tall muntin-gridded openings, narrow eyebrow windows or arched entrances.

For best results on curved shapes, form the metal and then paint or anodize it. Some finishing service providers may provide a single-source solution for stretch forming and finishing, ensuring a full warranty without worry.

Spec choice

The highest-performance finishes on aluminum fenestration are specified to meet AAMA 611 for anodize and AAMA 2605 for architectural paint coatings. Both industry standards are published by the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance. If the interior framing is out of reach, such as on a clerestory window, a lower-performance finish may be considered. For example, wood-look finishes on room-side framing may be specified to meet AAMA 2604.

Sustainability choices

Environmentally responsible finishers can support and extend sustainability goals. The volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, associated with solvents used with liquid paint coatings can be carefully captured and safely destroyed during the quality-controlled application process.

Anodize contains no VOCs and is inert, non-combustible and poses no health risks. Anodized aluminum is also recognized for its sustainable advantages, including Declare Label as Living Building Challenge Red List Free. 


Tammy Schroeder Linetec

Tammy Schroeder

Tammy Schroeder, LEED Green Associate, is the director of marketing at Linetec, Tubelite and Alumicor brands. With more than 20 years of experience in the finishing industry, she serves as an industry educator on high-quality, high-performance architectural finishing and services. She can be reached at