New Construction Windows vs. Replacement Windows

If your house needs new windows, you may wonder what type of windows are best for your home and your budget. And all of the information out there can be confusing and overwhelming. Generally, windows for your home will either be new construction windows or replacement windows. But, what’s the difference between new construction and replacement windows? Here’s everything you need to know about these window choices, the pros and cons of each and how to choose the right kind for your home.

What Are New Construction Windows?

New construction windows are, for the most part, exactly what they sound like. Also called full-frame replacement windows, they’re meant to be used during construction of a new home and are installed directly to the framing of the house before any trim or siding is added.

Pros of New Construction Windows

  • Standardized sizing: One of the main benefits of new construction windows is that they come in various standard sizes, making it easier to find the right size without worrying about custom sizes.
  • Readily available: Because of their standardized sizes, new construction windows are easier to find and are often available in large home centers and other construction suppliers.
  • Easy to install: New construction windows are fairly easy to install themselves for the do-it-yourselfer. However, there is some extra work involved in the surrounding areas with this type of window.
  • Cost-effective for new construction: If you’re building a new home, these windows are the most cost-effective choice. And although you may think it’s a cheaper option as a replacement window, there is a much higher installation cost to be factored in.
  • Weather-tight: New construction windows offer excellent protection against the elements with correct installation.
  • Don’t restrict the view: Replacement windows are placed inside the existing window frame, and therefore the size of the glass is slightly smaller. New construction windows completely replace the old window, so the size of the glass can be the same.

Cons of New Construction Windows

  • More work to install: New construction windows take more effort to install in an existing house. This is because the entire frame from the old window needs to be removed and work to the surrounding drywall, trim, siding and more will be necessary. Most new construction windows come with a nail fin around the edges that secures the window to the studs of the house’s frame. In new construction, the nail fins are then hidden inside the walls. In an existing home, you’d have to expose the studs to use the nail fin properly.
  • More expensive to install: Because the area around the window needs to be stripped down and then replaced around the window, the installation can cost more overall than replacement windows.

What Are Replacement Windows?

Replacement windows are also referred to as retrofit windows or insert replacement windows and are also very similar to what the name sounds like. These windows are used as replacements for windows in existing homes and fit into the pre-existing window opening. An installer measures for replacement windows and custom orders them to these exact measurements.

Pros of Replacement Windows

  • Easier to fit into existing window openings: Replacement windows are made to fit into existing openings, so extra work isn’t necessary to open up and repair trim work, drywall and siding. Since they don’t have nail fins, these types of windows are easier to install. Lack of nail fins is one of the best benefits of replacement windows.
  • Faster installation: Because these windows fit into existing window frames and require less repair work around them, you can expect a much faster overall installation time.
  • Most cost-effective for existing homes: Even if the windows themselves seem more expensive than new construction windows, the overall cost with installation is usually much lower for existing homes.
  • High quality: These completely customized windows provide superior weather protection and energy efficiency compared to standardized options.

Cons of Replacement Windows

  • Harder to find: Replacement windows are typically custom made for each window, so it’s harder for a do-it-yourselfer to find easily. Generally, these windows are custom ordered and not often available ready-made at a store.
  • Hard to install yourself: Because of the exact measurements necessary and custom nature of these windows, they are not always easy for homeowners to install. However, with a professional installer, they are quick and easy.
  • Slightly smaller view: Since replacement windows fit into the existing window frames, the glass will be slightly smaller than the original window, reducing the view slightly.

Should You Buy Replacement Windows or New Construction Windows?

Which type of window is best depends on your situation. In general, if you are building a new home, you’ll want to use new construction windows for the best results. You may also want to use this type of window in a major remodeling project or if you are adding on to your home. New construction windows are also a good choice if the existing window frames in an older house are damaged or the walls and siding surrounding the window need to be replaced also.

However, if you have an existing home and the window frames are in relatively good condition, it’s best to get replacement windows. In this case, they will be easier to install and a lower cost overall. Installing new construction windows in old houses usually takes more work and is more expensive. The advantages of replacement windows in existing homes far outweigh the cons, and they are often the better choice.

Contact Wize Home Direct for Your Replacement Window Needs

When your home needs new windows, leave it up to the experts. No matter what type of window is right for your home project, window replacement is not for the beginner DIY enthusiast. Wize Home Direct can guide you every step of the way in choosing the right type of windows and installing them for you, so there’s zero hassle for you. We pride ourselves on being your one-stop shop for home improvement, as well as a trustworthy, reliable and affordable source for all of your home improvement needs, including replacement windows. Contact us today to see how we can help you with replacement windows for your home.

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