What are the most popular colours for windows and doors?

Which colours are tipped to trend this year and next, and what should installers be adding to their offer? Jody Vincent, national sales manager at Emplas, looks at some hard facts.

Discussion about colour trends tends to be a little wishy washy: statements about ‘why you need to be adding a particular colour to your offer’, without facts and figures to underpin them.

That’s because it’s hard to make a prediction about end-user behaviour. It’s the product of a wide variety of variables, such as the relationship between individual taste and companies’ marketing communications.

So, let’s look at the facts.

The latest figures published in the English House Condition Survey show that of 23.2 million properties studied, 85% of homes in England had full double glazing, up from 71% of homes in 2008.

A quick calculation suggests that 13.5 million properties have windows and doors that are a decade or more old, and most probably white or rosewood.

The second and even third time replacement market is critical. That’s something we all know but when you look at the figures that underpin that analysis, you get a feeling for the true size and scale of the market.

Roll that out to include Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland and its even bigger.

In fact, Palmer suggests that by the end of this year the figure will be nearly 95%.

As recently as 10 years ago there simply wasn’t the penetration of colour that we see today. There are huge numbers of early replacements, which have now been installed for more than a decade.

Incremental energy gains and enhanced security are part of the pitch into that market but it’s new colour and finish choice, alongside design options that include flush casements, which provide the platform for engagement.

There is also a distinction between early PVCU finishes, dominated by woodgrains and a new colour offer, which gives the end user a far wider choice of finish, including solid colours and pastel shades.

This shift is apparent in the new research that underpins Emplas’ new colour offer.

The study by Renolit reveals that solid colour accounted for 72% of the market for foiled products in 2019 compared to only 28% for woodgrains.

There should be little surprise to see that anthracite grey accounted for 32% of all coloured PVCU sold, almost double that of the nearest finish. Rosewood (17%), was the best-selling woodgrain, with golden oak the next most popular at 8%.

Other greys were, however, gaining ground. Slate grey, anthracite smooth, and agate grey, collectively, accounted for 8% of colours sold.

It’s the growth figures that underpin demand for solid colours, however, that is so enlightening: anthracite grey was up 18% year on year, while anthracite smooth was up 32% and agate grey 33%.

Pebble grey, part of Emplas’s new colour offer and available from stock, jumped 30% in volume last year. Black ulti-matt spiked by 44%, Balmoral by 59%, and monument oak and oak super matt by 87% and 100% respectively.

Emplas relaunched its colour offer in line with that from Profile 22 in June, adding 13 new foil options and colour pathways, which means that it now has 30 different options available.

The new colour offer from Profile 22 reflects a lot of research and what we’re seeing in the market, which is a shift towards solid colours and far more subtle finishes, particularly variants on grey and pastel type colours like claystone and sage smooth.

The figures from Renolit show the potential opportunity. What will define volumes, however, will be how effectively those colours are offered to homeowners.