Replacement Windows vs. New Construction Windows

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When it comes to upgrading your home's windows, navigating the options can feel like venturing into a maze of choices. When making decisions, one of the most important choices is whether to choose replacement windows or new construction windows. Both options aim to improve energy efficiency, aesthetics, and functionality, but they are designed for specific scenarios and needs.

Replacement windows are designed specifically to fit into existing window openings without disturbing the surrounding frame or trim. Contractors typically install new construction windows in new buildings or during major renovations. This is done when the old window frames are completely removed.

Choosing the right windows is crucial when building a new home or improving your current one. This decision can greatly impact the appearance and energy efficiency of your home. Selecting windows that are both aesthetically pleasing and energy-efficient is key.

Make sure to carefully consider your options before making a final decision. Not only do windows play a vital role in the overall aesthetics of your home, but they also have a significant impact on insulation, natural light intake, and even soundproofing.

Understanding the differences between replacement and new construction windows is crucial. This will help you make an informed choice that aligns with your specific needs and goals. Making the right choice between the two types of windows is essential for achieving the desired outcome. Let's compare these two types of windows and talk about what to think about when choosing.

What are “new construction” windows?

When we think of new construction, we think of a new building. Contractors install new construction windows directly onto the framing of a new home or addition. They are mounted by fins that are integrated into the vinyl frame of the window. Tape seals the fin, then attaches the final structure facade on top.


What are “replacement windows”?

When installing replacement windows, workers remove the old windows and install the new ones to fit within the same space. Typically referred to as “block” or “retrofit” frames, replacement windows do not use a fin.replacement windows

Why would you ever consider using “new construction” windows for an existing property?

New windows for construction are easier to install and can fit various sizes because of the built-in fin. There are several instances where “new construction” windows should be considered instead of replacement windows. There are several instances where “new construction” windows should be considered instead of replacement windows.

If you are performing other work on an opening, and the house framing will be exposed, it is always preferable to go with a fin.  If an addition offsets the symmetry of the home, it may be necessary to remove the frames around the existing windows and go with new construction so that it matches the addition.

Likewise, if you’re changing the exterior, say from stucco to another aesthetic, a change in the framing of the window may be required to get the look you wish to achieve.  Finally, new construction may be considered when there is damage to the existing stud and that will be accessed for repairs anyway.

Replacing old windows with new ones can be challenging because the facade needs to be removed to access the fin. This process is not normally possible without destroying the façade. As a result, repairing or replacing the façade will be necessary, significantly increasing the cost of the work. It may be difficult to match the existing weathered façade perfectly.

Which option is more affordable?

If you want to update the windows in your home without spending too much money, replacement windows are a good choice. You can install them in the same opening as the old windows without causing any damage to the structure. However, if one is using replacement windows, installation is absolutely critical. The way the window is set and sealed is the only barrier to the elements all around the perimeter of the window without a fin.

Many franchise-type window replacement companies are buying from a chart of standard size window increments since they don’t manufacture their own window as LAS does, and because custom-sized windows can be more than double the cost in certain instances; those companies may choose to go with a non-ideal size for an opening to increase profit.  This means that there may be additional space around the window. This can make the window less energy efficient. It can also make it more difficult to install correctly.

Why LAS?

At LAS, our experienced staff will meet with you at your home to take careful measurements. Then, the replacement windows you select will be custom manufactured within 1/8” of the specifications needed to leave the exact space needed to properly perform our winteq sealing system including insulation foam and self-leveling caulk which remains flexible throughout its lifetime to settle along with the structure.

LAS ensures the highest quality installation of windows by using only the best products to seal them. This not only guarantees the performance of the install but also extends the longevity of the windows. This method results in the best possible fit for maximized energy efficiency when using replacement windows. LAS also manufactures new construction windows if a project calls for them.

The LAS crew will install your windows with the proper finishing after they manufacture them. This ensures that your replacement windows not only fit perfectly but look great too!

Finally, LAS warrants our products as well as our work. That’s part of the LAS difference, we stand behind our product and our certified installation masters. You can learn more about the InstallationMasters™ Certification Program here.

See our Window Gallery for ideas on replacement windows for your home and check out our LAS WeatherGard Vinyl Windows to view all of the exceptional features of LAS windows.

Originally published  Feb 24, 2015.

Posted in: Blog Home Improvement

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