Getting new windows has an 85% return on investment.
It’s one of the top ten ways you can improve your home for both value and comfort. If you want to lower your monthly energy bills and update the look of your home, windows are a great place to start.
You may have already heard the terms new construction window and retrofit window. These are the two common ways that new windows get installed in your home. The similarities end there, and if you have wondered what makes them different, read on.
New Construction Windows
Windows classified as new construction windows are replacement windows that licensed contractors can install. What sets new construction windows apart is the amount of work that goes into them.
New construction windows completely replace the old windows. Even the frames of your old windows get removed. The outside siding is often cut back, and the new window frame installed. If you have a homemade from brick, stone, or stucco, then remember that they may have to remove some in order to put in new windows.
Retrofitting a window will involve replacing the glass. The window frame inside the stucco itself stays then a new glass and energy-efficient window is installed. The process is known as retrofitting because you are taking a new window and placing it into an older frame. The process can be completed without stucco, drywall or paint damage.
In some instances, the frame may have to be repaired and can cause some difficulty if it is not plumb to the wall. This process is an excellent choice for those who don’t wish to remove the window frames, or who don’t need to.
Advantages of a New Construction Window
By their very definition, these windows are brand new. If you have substantial damage to your window frames that would require expensive repair, this may be a good option for you. Areas that have high moisture, mold, and rot can sometimes benefit from new frames.
Another advantage of new construction windows, they are uniform and will fit flush to the house. This is because the window frames are secured to the frame of the home. Once space is prepared, and the old material is removed, work can begin.
Advantages of a Retrofit Window
A retrofit window is quick and easy to install. If no substantial repairs are needed to the window frame, this kind of replacement can save you money. The process of retrofitting windows does save the window frame. If you live in an older home, this can be key to retaining the value of your home.
With a window retrofit, you won’t have to repair any damage to the outside of your home. There will be no change to the placement and size of the window. Any original materials will not have to be reconditioned or replaced either.
Disadvantages of New Construction Windows
If you are having new construction windows installed, your home will change. The contractor is going to have to remove a section of the exterior wall of the house. This is because the new frame will have to be placed in the wall.
Once this is done, you will have to repair or replace the siding, or other building material that was disturbed during the installation. This can add to the cost of what is already an expensive proposition. Repairing and replacing siding can cost between $600 to $1,200.
New construction windows can also change the look of your home. They will look modern, and if that doesn’t fit with the exterior of your home, it may be jarring. This is more pronounced in older homes, but it can also be very obvious if a house has a more rustic theme.
Disadvantages to Retrofit Windows
A retrofit window will have one major disadvantage. It relies on the older window frame for the process to go fast. If the window frame is not flush or has settled, it can make the installation more difficult. Even with these difficulties, it’s unlikely that it will cost as much as a new construction window.
If you wish to change the shape and size of your windows, a retrofit would not be appropriate for you. In that case, you’d need to have the entire frame replaced. This isn’t what happens in a retrofit operation, so only those who want to retain their original frames should consider it.
Benefits to Your Home
Whichever way you choose to go, the process will improve both the value and look of your home. While the frame may be the same, a new retrofit window will look nice. If you switch from single-pane to double-pane windows, you can expect to save money on energy with both.
Having windows replaced and repaired will benefit your home either way. The core of the question comes down to what you need and what you want. Both options are viable, but if you don’t want to spend a lot and like your current window configuration, a retrofit would be appropriate.
If you want to change the look of your house completely and are comfortable spending the money to do so, a new construction window might be better for you. You should also consider the area you live in, and if you are in an HOA, you might have to consider the bylaws.
Retrofit Window vs. New Construction Window
Any form of updating to your windows is a positive step to take. The value of a retrofit window is in the cost-saving and time-saving aspects of it. New construction windows cost more and take more time to install.
Both forms of window replacement will supply the same benefits once work has been completed. Remember that you won’t be able to fully recoup your improvement investment on windows alone.