Replacement vs New Construction Windows: Which is Best For Your Home

Choosing the type of windows to use for your home is a big decision. There are a lot of factors to consider like price, energy efficiency, availability and the size of the windows that you need. There are two basic types of windows that you can choose from: replacement vs new construction windows.

replacement vs new construction windows

Below, we’ll go over what you need to know about each type of window.

Replacement Windows

Replacement windows are also sometimes called retrofit windows. Replacement windows are a good fit for home renovations or when you’re replacing just one or two windows. A replacement window is made to measure so that it fits your particular home.

The replacement window slides into the existing window frame. Then it is bolted or screwed into the frame so that it’s secure. Replacement windows usually are a little more expensive than new construction windows because they’re custom made to measure.

Even though the initial price of replacement windows might be higher than the cost of new construction windows, that doesn’t mean that new construction windows are always cheaper.

Replacement windows that can be installed without having to strip a wall down to the studs will be cheaper than new construction windows in the long run for most homeowners.

The Benefits of Replacement Windows

replacement windows vs new construction

The higher initial cost of replacement windows is offset by the many benefits of using replacement windows in a home renovation project. Those benefits include:

Easier Installation

When new construction windows are installed the wall must be stripped to the studs so that the new windows can be bolted into the studs. Then the wall has to be rebuilt around the framing. This means that siding will need to be replaced as well.

For homes that have expensive siding or have masonry walls the cost to strip the wall down to the studs to replace the window can be prohibitive. Replacement windows can be easily fitted into an existing window space and securely fastened.

Faster Installation

Because replacement windows are made to fit an existing space it takes a lot less time to install them in a home.

So if you want to increase the energy efficiency of your windows to lower your heating and cooling costs or you just need to replace your existing windows, it’ll be faster and cheaper to install replacement windows rather than new construction windows.

Less Expensive

Figuring out the cost of replacement windows vs. new construction windows can be confusing for homeowners. When you consider long term costs, replacement windows usually cost less than new construction windows.

There’s a high initial price for replacement windows because they’re cut to fit a specific existing frame. Since the wall doesn’t need to be stripped to the studs in order to put in the window, the installation will be faster.

That saves money when it comes to the installation fees and contractor fees for new framing, painting, and residing or repairing the outside wall. Also, having new energy efficient windows will lower your heating and cooling costs which will save you money in the long run.

When You Should Use Replacement Windows

There are some renovation and home improvement situations when it’s better to use new construction windows. However, when you’re doing a home renovation and replacing the windows in an existing home, you’re better off using replacement windows instead of new construction windows.

As a general of thumb, if you’re doing any home renovation that doesn’t include stripping the existing siding or stripping walls, then replacement windows are the best choice.

Replacement windows are also a better choice than new construction windows for homes that were constructed before 1970. That’s because older homes may have custom window sizes that don’t conform to the uniform window sizes that builders use today.

New Construction Windows

new construction windows

New construction windows, which are also sometimes called full frame windows, are designed to be put into new homes or additions as they’re being built. They’re not really designed to fit into existing window frames or existing window spaces.

New construction windows come in a wide range of standard sizes. They’re designed to be bolted onto the studs of a wall, which is why they are only really appropriate for homes or additions to homes that are in the process of being built. New construction windows also can be installed when a home is being resided as long as the walls are stripped down to the studs.

New construction windows are less expensive than replacement windows because they can be mass produced to fit standard sizing instead of having to be individually cut for a unique space.

Even though the initial cost of the window is cheaper than retrofit windows, the actual price of new construction windows can be higher than replacement windows.

If a contractor has to strip the walls down to the studs or remove siding and then replace it the cost for labor and materials can double the price of the actual new construction window.

The Benefits Of New Construction Windows

There are benefits to using new construction windows.  If you are building a new home or building an addition to your existing home and the house is already stripped to the studs, or if the framing has just been finished, below are the benefits of using new construction windows.

Easy To Install And Very Secure

When the walls aren’t yet finished or are stripped, new construction windows are easy to install and will be very secure. New construction windows are usually made with an aluminum lip or fin around the window that’s used to make sure the window is secure.

That extra layer helps keep the air out and provide a tighter seal for the window.

Cheaper Up-Front Cost

If you take the labor and other materials out of the cost equation because the home that the windows are going in is already stripped down, or is new construction then the cost of new construction windows is cheaper than the cost of replacement windows.,

So, if you’re looking for ways to trim the budget on a new construction home or on an addition, using standard size new construction windows can save you money.

Easy To Find

Replacement windows need to be cut very precisely by a company that has a lot of experience. But new construction windows are a little easier to come by. Any large home retailer will have several sizes of new construction windows.

Window and door companies will have a full range of new construction windows available to purchase for new construction homes or additions.

So What’s The Right Choice?

When it comes to replacement vs. new construction windows, the deciding factor should be what type of home upgrade you’re doing.

If you’re building a new home or adding on a full addition to your home, then new construction windows are probably the best choice. For home remodels or upgrades, replacement windows are the best choice.

When you need replacement windows, the only name you need to know is Feldco. We’ve been serving Chicago for over 40 years and have helped over 350,000 homeowners. Get a free quote online for your new replacement windows from the Midwest’s best.

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