New Construction Windows vs. Retrofit Replacement Windows

Know Your Options: New Construction Windows vs. Retrofit Replacement Windows


For homeowners looking to upgrade their windows one of the most frequently asked questions we hear is what are the differences between new construction and retrofit replacement windows. We’ll give you all the information you need when it comes to the differences between these two window types so that you’ll be able to make an informed decision on your home’s new windows.


New Construction Windows


As its name implies, new construction windows are used when contractors are building a brand new home, addition or replacing the entire frame of a home’s existing windows. The reason these windows are used during the construction process is because the wood frame of the home is exposed, rather than covered by walls and siding like a fully built home is.

The major distinguishing feature of new construction windows is the addition of a nail fin, also known as a nail flange, which goes around the edges of the window frame. This extra fin is there so that the window frame can be attached directly to studs of the home during the construction process which makes it easier for the contractors. The nail fin in meant to be covered by a home’s exterior siding, brick or stucco so it will never be seen unless you remove that exterior.


Because new construction windows are designed to be attached directly to a home’s frame, that means if your home is already built then a portion of your walls or siding must be removed in order to install them. This could be necessary if your current window frame has degraded or lost its ability to adequately seal your home from outside air.

New construction windows would also be an ideal option if you want to change the size or shape of your existing windows, which would require your home’s frame to be modified as well. In addition, new construction windows make more sense to use if you are in the process of building a new home, adding an addition onto it or replacing the siding on your home and would like new windows at the same time. This option may make sense if you are removing your home’s siding or stucco as part of a larger renovation as well.

New construction windows come in the same sizes, shapes and materials as retrofit windows which means you have the same wide range of options to choose from.


Retrofit Replacement Windows


As opposed to new construction windows, retrofit replacement windows are designed to be installed within your home’s existing frame. This means they take far less time and effort, which in turn makes them ideal for homeowners simply looking to upgrade their old windows to newer models. This process is also called a “frame-in-frame replacement” or they are known as a “pocket window”.

Retrofit replacement windows are designed to be installed within your home’s existing frame, which allows for a quick and easy installation. Your contractor will simply take the measurements of your existing window frames, deliver your chosen replacements, remove the old ones and then install your new windows.

When your new retrofit windows are installed, only your home’s old window hardware, sash and covers will be removed and replaced with the newer window model. In addition, because your home’s existing trim and exterior are not removed then the process of installing your windows will be quicker and will usually cost less than a new construction window installation.

If you are happy with the current size and shape of your home’s existing windows, then retrofit replacement windows would be an ideal option to increase your energy-efficiency or upgrade your window style.

How to Decide Which Window Type is Best for Your Home


Each type of window has its own benefits for various circumstances. Put simply, if your window frames are in poor condition and need to be replaced, then new construction windows would be necessary. They would also be necessary if you’d like to add new windows to your home, change the shape or size of your existing windows or if you are replacing your home’s siding. An entirely new window can also provide more visible glass than a retrofit replacement.

New construction windows are an ideal option if your home’s window frames are in poor condition and need to be removed and replaced with newer materials. If your frames need to be replaced anyway, then it’s the perfect time for new construction windows. Because new construction windows are installed in a new frame, you could also enjoy more glass which means a larger view from your new windows.

As long as your current window frames are sound and in good condition, then retrofit replacement windows may be a good option. Replacement windows are a faster process than new construction windows, which typically means a lower cost. However, you won’t be able to change the size or shape of your windows using this option, which means you must be satisfied with your current window placement in order to utilize retrofit replacement windows.

Retrofit replacement windows eliminate the requirement to remove your home’s siding or exterior material during installation. This means the installation process is faster, which also means it typically costs less to complete. There is very little construction work needed to install these windows and it keeps your home’s interior and exterior intact. If you simply want more modern windows installed and are happy with your frames, then retrofit replacement windows would be a good choice.


Both Window Types Have Their Advantages


Whether you want to completely remodel your home or simply want new windows installed and don’t need new frames, Socal Budget Windows can help you complete the upgrade while staying within your budget. Each window type has its own advantages with different installation methods that can benefit the homeowner. Let our experienced contractors guide you through the process of choosing new windows and ensure that you receive the best possible experience at the lowest rates available.

SoCal Budget Windows can help you choose which window types are best to beautify and provide maximum energy efficiency for your home. Contact us today for a free in-home estimate!