Replacement Windows vs New Construction Windows

Whether you’re moving, updating, or building the home of your dreams, picture perfect windows are closer than you think. But when it comes to windows, how do you choose between replacement and new construction?

replacement vs construction windows

We’ll break down how the two compare so you can shop with confidence.

How Windows are Installed

Replacement windows are retrofitted into your old window space. So as you’d expect, replacement is quicker than construction. Like new construction windows they come in standard sizes, but you can also get custom-sized replacement windows.

Construction involves the entire anatomy of the window and its supporting structure. We might think a window is only the glass; however, a window includes the frame, moldings, and jambs. In contrast, there’s a difference between full frame replacement and pocket replacement. 

New construction windows aren’t ready for your house straight off the shelf. They get nailed into the wall with what’s known as a nail fin. This is a thin metal border that extends the window frame so there’s something to grab onto the wall. 

It sounds quick and dirty, but you won’t be able to hammer out this project yourself. This installation is only possible because the studs are exposed. And you’re not going to take out the wall just to get to the studs, especially if there’s brick or stonework to undo. Bottom line, trying to fit a standard-size window onto your existing opening can be a major headache.

If You’re Building a New Home or Addition

If you find yourself in the exciting position of building your own space from scratch, you’re going to be constructing the windows too. This is because there’s no rough opening to retrofit the window into. 

If The Studs or Wall are Damaged

Mold and rot can make the construction that supports your window too damaged for you to nail the new one in. Such damage might be the reason you’re in the market for a new window. 

In this case, you’re already doing reconstruction so it’s not worth to replace your windows. This also goes for if you’re replacing the wall or siding.

How Do Windows Compare in Cost?

Replacing your windows is hands-down less expensive than building new ones. This may come as a surprise: on the shelf, new construction windows look cheaper. But when judging the cost of a new construction window, you have to include the construction of the window opening and supporting wall. This can raise the cost by 50 to 100 percent. 

Moreover, you’ll see more value out of the investment because of their quality materials. You might be someone who’s constantly in the process of improving their household and make things more efficient. You want everything up-to-date and performing well because you know that otherwise, you’re throwing money away. 

Maybe the prospect of weather-proofing and greenifying your house seems too big to even start. When you have certified, energy efficient replacement windows, a huge part is already covered.

Which Window is More Durable?

New construction windows are builder grade, meaning they’re made to be the most efficient choice for builders – not homeowners. And when you don’t start a project with the highest quality product, you’re just putting off future replacement.

The primary reason for window failure is that the frame itself warps and distorts from rain, humidity, and changes in temperature. This pulls the frame away from the glass and lets moisture inside. Vinyl windows are made to outlast the seasons. Plus, they’re impervious to the problems of wood and aluminum. Just be sure to look for a distributor that’s certified. 

Which Window has More Curb Appeal?

windows with high curb appeal

The nail fins on a new construction window can be an eyesore. That tell-tale border, dotted with drilled holes, looks more suited for a factory than a house.

New construction also limits you to what’s at the store. When you go with vinyl replacement windows, you have many colors and styles available to you. There’s a level of craftsmanship in replacement windows missing from most new construction windows on the market.

You don’t have to move to get the home of your dreams. And you can skip the long, drawn-out renovation. Quickly transform your exterior with our time-tested vinyl windows.

Replacement vs Construction Windows: Clear Choice

Don’t make things harder than they have to be. If you’re doing your windows as part of a larger home improvement project, or simply making your house move-in ready, there’s no need to add another construction project on top of it.

Replacement windows are the clear choice over new construction. For what it’s worth, replacement windows will fulfill every category that you’re looking for in brand new windows. As a final point, replacement windows have a higher curb appeal, higher durability, and cost-effective than traditional construction windows. 

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Window Resource started with one goal in mind - to help people become up-to-date on all things windows. Windows play a major role in your home's looks, value and energy efficiency so it's important to make the right decision when getting new ones installed. We'll cover just about every topic there is so you can make the best decision. Still don't see what you're looking for? Contact us and we'll answer any questions you may have.