In this post you will learn ...
- The difference between replacement windows and new construction windows
- Various options you have when it comes to removing your old windows and the installation of your new windows
What is the difference between a replacement window and a new construction window?
In short, nothing. A replacement window and what people often refer to as a “new construction” window are one and the same and are both new windows. The difference is in how the window is installed and those options vary by the type of window being replaced.
When replacing existing wood windows, you have two options:
- Full frame replacement — removal of entire frame and sash back to the original studs
- Insert — removal of sash components only (existing frame remains)
Both options have advantages and disadvantages. Some things to consider are:
- Size of window/glass area — With a window insert, the opening is smaller because the new window is inserted into the existing frame. Replacing the entire frame provides the largest opening possible, thus maximizing the glass area.
- Rabbeted jamb vs. a flat jamb — A frame with a rabbeted jamb must be replaced because the “steps” are carved from a single piece of wood (see figure A). A new window may be inserted into a frame with a flat jamb, but some glass area will be lost.
- New interior trim vs. existing interior trim — Interior window trim is not part of the window. If the window frame is replaced, the interior trim must be removed and cannot be reinstalled without damage and excess nail holes. Therefore, if you have custom interior wood trim which you prefer NOT to be replaced, the window should be installed as an insert.
- Budget —Replacing the entire frame is more costly because it is more labor intensive plus added materials such as new interior trim.
- Existing interior window treatments — If the window treatments have an outside mount, either installation method is fine. With an inside mount, replacing the frame could be an issue because the new dimensions could be slightly different.
When it comes to replacing vinyl or metal windows, there is only one choice — the entire frame and sash are removed and a new window fills the void. Yes, there are different ways to trim the interior and exterior, but in most cases the entire metal or vinyl frame and sash is removed.
So how do you decide which method is best for your windows?
A visit from a window professional can help explain the pros and cons as they relate to your home and provide you with an accurate quote. Call Stanek Windows by Great Day Improvements at 800-230-8301 to schedule a free, no-obligation, in-home consultation.
Existing wood window with a rabbeted jamb, interior trim removed.
Existing wood window (frame and sash) removed back to studs.
New interior oak trim is assembled on job site to ensure perfect cuts and miters.
New window installed with new interior returns and casings (trim just needs to be stained to match woodgrain color of new window).
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