Homeowners who are shopping for windows have a lot of decisions to make, but the first big choice is whether to opt for new construction windows or replacement windows. While the names of these two categories of windows may appear to indicate which type to choose, there are several cases where the decision is not as straightforward as homeowners might expect.
Here is a look at the main differences between replacement windows and their new construction counterparts.
The main distinction between replacement and new construction windows is their general type and purpose. New construction windows are designed to be installed in a home that has clear window openings to accommodate them, free from the restrictions imposed by existing siding or trim. They feature attachment fins, flanges or nailing on their exterior.
In contrast, replacement windows are designed to fit into a space that is currently occupied by a different replacement window or a new construction window. They do not come equipped with flanges or nailing fins and must instead use the existing ones that accommodated the previous windows. Replacement windows feature smooth sides to facilitate insertion.
A replacement window is the correct choice for structures that contain existing windows whose surroundings are in good condition. A new construction window may be the obvious choice when a new home is being built, but these windows are also needed in homes that are undergoing significant remodeling or when replacing windows whose structure is in poor condition.
For example, if the wall and frame around a window have deteriorated badly, the wall will have to be extensively rebuilt and new construction windows are the most appropriate choice. However, replacement windows are almost never suitable for new construction scenarios.
A broad range of new construction windows are easily accessible to consumers, with home improvement centers often carrying a good selection of new construction window sizes and types.
Replacement windows, however, can be challenging to obtain on your own. Many homeowners find that ordering them online is their best option. However, most homeowners obtain them through the window contractor who is carrying out the replacement work.
Although the DIY installation of new construction windows is considered fairly straightforward and not very complicated for those with experience in home projects, the peripheral work can be quite challenging. Many of the new construction windows that are sold in home improvement stores are used in sheds and other types of outbuildings that homeowners install themselves, while new construction windows in homes that are under construction are generally installed by experienced window contractors.
The precise requirements and confines of the existing space surrounding windows that need to be replaced mean that replacement windows are almost always installed by window replacement contractors.
Use Case Examples
Here is a closer look at some of these specific scenarios in which one type of window is a better choice over the other.
New Construction Windows
In general, any time a wall system is either undergoing original construction or a substantial renovation, a new construction window is the right choice. New homes, outbuildings and additions all require new construction windows when they are first being built.
New construction windows should also be installed in cases where the wall housing the window has been severely damaged and will require extensive repairs. When an extremely damaged window is being replaced, it is not unusual for the peripheral area to be in bad condition as well.
For example, the wall studs, interior drywall, window framing and exterior siding may have been damaged by rot or insects such as termites. Even when only the exterior window trim needs to be removed, a new construction window is the right choice. In these cases, because extensive carpentry work is needed, it makes more sense to install new construction windows. Moreover, they will offer better insulation than replacement windows in these cases, while their attached nailing fins mean they will provide a more weathertight seal than replacement varieties.
Any time a window is needed for a space with an existing wall that the homeowner does not wish to disturb too much, a replacement window is the best choice. A straightforward replacement of existing windows is the most standard use case for these windows. In fact, installing new construction windows in sturdy existing walls requires more work and has the potential to create more damage than using replacement windows. After all, siding elements, trim, walls and windows are connected, so changing one element has an effect on the others. Replacement windows are designed to slide horizontally into the existing space without needing to replace other elements.
Discuss Your Project with the Window Replacement Contractors at Adelphia Exteriors
Whether you are seeking windows that will stand the test of time for a new home or you need to replace outdated or damaged windows, the experienced contractors at Adelphia Exteriors can handle your project professionally and efficiently. Contact us today at (571) 322-8316 or fill out our online contact form to find out more about our Northern Virginia window installation and replacement services.