What’s the difference between replacement windows and new construction windows? Why would you ever use new construction windows to replace currently existing windows in your home? Whether you are building a new home or simply updating your current home to increase curb appeal, making the right decision on windows is a big deal.
What are “new construction” windows? When we think of new construction, we think of a new building. New construction windows are installed 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. This fin is typically then sealed with sealing tape and then the final façade of the structure is attached over the top of all of this.
What are “replacement windows”? With replacement windows, the old windows are removed and the new windows are installed to fit within the same space. Typically referred to as “block” or “retrofit” frames, replacement windows do not use a fin.
Why would you ever consider using “new construction” windows for an existing property? New construction windows are more fool-proof to install, and one size can fit multiple sized openings because of the integrated fin. 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. The challenges of using new construction windows to replace existing windows are the façade must be removed to gain access to the fin. This process is not normally possible without destroying the façade. Therefore, façade repair or replacement will be necessary which will greatly increase the cost of the work, and you may never be able to match existing weathered façade and have it match.
Which option is more affordable? Replacement windows would be the more affordable option in an existing home, as the old windows are removed and new windows are installed into the same opening without disturbing 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 you could end up with extra space around the perimeter of window, which equates into loss of energy efficiency and increases the difficulty and importance of the installation.
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. Since the same company installing the window, in LAS’ case, is warranting the window; we use only the highest quality products to seal our windows, to ensure the install performs as intended for as long as possible. 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.
Once your windows are manufactured, the LAS crew will install your windows with the proper finishing. 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.
Originally published Feb 24, 2015.