Replacement Windows vs. New Construction Windows

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Replacement Windows vs. New Construction Windows

Now that you have decided to replace your windows, you must choose whether to use new construction windows or retrofit windows, commonly known as replacement windows. A look at both types of windows can help you choose the window that will best fit your needs.

Using a new construction window requires considerable more work than using a replacement window but may offer some advantages based on your needs. To install a new construction window, the entire frame must be removed. The removal process can damage some of the exterior trim and siding or stucco, which must be repaired and replaced once the new window has been installed.

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Replacement Windows vs. New Construction Windows

To install a new construction window, nails or screws are placed in nail fins, which are flat on the frame and must be rotated out once the window is in place. On new construction homes, the exposed framing studs allow easy access to the fins for the placement of the window. After attaching the window, the exterior materials can then be added.

You can use new construction windows to replace old windows by exposing the wood studs. To do so, the exterior trim, siding, or stucco must be removed to allow the window to be installed as described above. Of course, more work and materials will be needed, but, by doing so, your window contractor may be able to see any structural damage prior to installation, your windows will be protected by the weather barrier, and your home will look as though the windows were installed when the home was built.

Retrofit/Replacement Windows

The popular choice today is home replacement windows made to cut the costs and labor involved in replacing windows. The original window frame remains when using replacement windows, allowing for a cost and time efficient installation.

Two types of home replacement windows are common: The flush fin option, which may also be referred to a Z-bar or flange, has a flush fin trim that allows the original frame to remain. This is often used when stucco homes have aluminum windows and prevents siding from sustaining much damage.

The second type of replacement window is the insert or block frame. This type of window resembles a new construction window without the nail fin and is used to replace wood windows in homes with siding or brick exteriors.

Advantages of New Construction Windows

�� Greater protection from leaks

�� Customizable look

Disadvantages of New Construction Windows

�� Can damage exterior siding and trim, requiring costly repairs

�� Increased costs and installation time

Advantages of Replacement Windows

�� No exterior damage

�� Lower costs and quick installation

Disadvantages of Replacement Windows

�� Potential for less glass area due to wider frames

�� Must be careful to choose windows that do not look cheap

�� Leaking potential if improperly installed

Replacement windows require less work and time than new construction windows, but it is important to ensure a proper window installation. Make sure your installation goes smoothly by keeping in mind the following:

�� Ensure that you (or your contractor) purchase the correct window size. Windows that are too large can be damaged by the expanding and contracting of the house.

�� The window must be level; otherwise, the weather stripping may fail and the sash may not close well.

�� Avoid frame contortion and sagging by ensuring that the frame is properly supported.

�� Use proper attachments and ensure that they are installed correctly.

�� Do not over insulate the replacement window, as too much insulation can cause sagging of the sill and frame contortion.

�� Properly install adequate flashing to avoid leaks.

�� Make sure an appropriate caulk is used to avoid leaks and corrosion.

�� Do not allow dissimilar metals to touch, as this can cause corrosion and deplete the effectiveness of your weather seal.

�� Be sure to treat any exposed wood that may come in contact with rain, wind, and snow.

By comparing the advantages and disadvantages of new construction windows and replacement windows, you can make an informed decision that will best meet you window replacement needs. Read more on comparing replacement windows.

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