New Construction Windows vs. Replacement Windows

Monday, August 26th, 2013 by Danny Peterson

Are you looking to replace the windows in your home? If so, it is important to weigh the advantages of new construction windows vs. replacement windows. These two types of windows differ in important ways, and understanding these variations is imperative.

What is a New Construction Window?

Before weighing the advantages of new construction windows vs. replacement windows, it is helpful to get some definitions out of the way. New construction windows are so named because they are primarily used on homes that are just being constructed. These windows—which are sometimes called “full frame” windows—are generally best ordered before the house is even built, and before the window frames are installed. What’s important to note about new construction windows is that they come in stock, standard sizes, determined by the manufacturer. The idea is that you find the window style you like, order a size that seems right for your home, and then the window frames are built around that size of window.

Installing New Construction Windows

While it is far from impossible to install new construction windows on an existing home, new construction windows are best installed before the siding of the house goes on. The reason for this is because these windows come with a “nailing flange,” which means the windows are installed from the outside and the flange keeps the windows from falling into the house; the flange is nailed onto the outside of the home, ice and water shields are applied, and the insulation and siding are then applied to the home. All told, then, installing new construction windows is often a fairly major undertaking, as the installer likely has to remove some of the siding from the home, possibly resize the window opening, and more.

The Benefits of Replacement Windows

By contrast, replacement windows—which are sometimes called retrofit windows—were developed as a less intrusive, less labor-intensive, and frankly less expensive alternative. When it comes to the relative pros and cons of new construction windows vs. replacement windows, then, the latter has some definite advantages.

What to Look for in New Windows

Generally speaking, replacement windows are going to be easier to install, and more cost-effective to boot. With that said, regardless of which kind of window you choose, it is important to ensure that you are getting a quality product. Some specific things to look for:

  • An Energy Star certification, noting energy-efficiency. This is usually going to be found on replacement windows, and not necessarily on new construction.  It is also important to consider the ER – or Energy Rating.
  • The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is an independent organization that rates and ranks window products; their recommendation is meaningful.
  • Metal reinforced lock components should always fit together well.
  • All components should have matching colors.

Preparing for a Window Installation

A final consideration is that your choice of installer is just as important as your choice of window. It is critical for homeowners in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. to choose an installation company that offers exemplary workmanship and value. Integrity Home Pro is a company that more than fits the bill. To learn more about our professional home window installation services, or to learn the details of new construction windows vs. replacement windows, contact Integrity Home Pro at your earliest convenience!