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Replacement Windows, Explained


on October 6, 2021

When it comes to searching for replacement windows, you may have a lot of questions. What brand should you choose? What is the best installation method? What materials should you use? What are the differences between new construction windows, replacement windows and retrofit windows? Finding the right replacement windows for your home, however, is made much easier when you understand what they are and what to look for.

Do You Need Replacement Windows? 

Replacement windows, as implied by their name, are designed to replace windows in a framed space that already exists. Whether you’re looking to boost your home’s curb appeal with brand new windows, or need to upgrade a faulty, broken window, homeowners get replacement windows for a wide range of reasons. 

While the average lifespan of your home’s windows varies, one thing is certain: Over time, your home will eventually need new windows. Telltale signs you need to replace your windows include:

  • Weather damage 
  • Fogging or condensation between the panes
  • Leaking seals that let outside air in, which can cause a hefty energy bill
  • Difficulty opening or closing them
  • Water stains around your window 
  • Visible damage such as a cracked pane or frame
  • You can hear a lot of outside noise 

Replacing your home’s windows offers many benefits beyond just fixing what’s faulty or broken. New windows can improve safety and security, increase your home’s resale value, and significantly boost curb appeal. In fact, many homeowners replace their windows to change or modernize their home’s style.

Light gray home featuring Pella windows with black trim and grilles

Differences In Replacement Windows

When looking for the best replacement windows for your home, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start your search. Your home is likely your biggest financial commitment, and replacing your windows is a significant investment. Overall, you will want to consider what type of window will work best for your goals, needs, budget and your unique space. 

Man installing replacement windows on home

Selecting an installer

Installation Methods for Replacement Windows

The installation method you choose will depend on your goals and budget. There are two main ways you can replace your windows: pocket and full-frame replacements

Also known as insert window installations or retrofit installations, pocket installations are the easiest window replacement method. This tactic is ideal when you want to replace the same type or size window in the existing frame and keep the original siding, trim, casing and frame. 

Full-frame window installations are similar to new construction windows in that you remove the entire window, frame and trim. Full-frame window replacements are more time- and labor-intensive since you have to remove old materials to make room for the new window and frame. However, full-frame replacements enable you to change your window’s size, shape and style, giving you much more design flexibility.

Replacement Window Materials

Replacement windows are made in a range of different materials, each of which has its own benefits, costs and capabilities. At Pella, we manufacture our replacement windows in three high-quality materials: wood, vinyl, and fiberglass.

Replacement Window Style

When it comes to replacement window style, look online for design inspiration, then bring your design ideas to a professional to see what you can do with your specific space and budget. 

From modern to traditional styles and everything in between, there’s an option for everyone. You can even find replacement windows that are designed with unique shapes or are highly specialized.

Other Replacement Window Features 

If you’re looking for ways to reduce your footprint and cut energy costs, energy-efficient replacement windows are the way to go. You can also create custom replacement windows and add unique features such as upgrading their handles and locks, incorporating a between-the-glass grille or blinds or adding a screen to keep unwanted pests and debris out while enjoying fresh air. Schedule a consultation with your local Pella branch to learn more about features and options available on your replacement windows.

How to Select the Right Replacement Windows

Window replacements can be an overwhelming venture, especially if you aren’t sure where to start. Between style, color, material, shape, type, price, brand, installation tactics, installers and more, it’s safe to say there is a lot to consider regarding replacement windows. And they can be quite the investment, so it’s important to think about them from a holistic perspective.

Pella is proud to be one of the best-rated window companies worldwide. We are dedicated to quality, excellence and innovation in all that we do. You can explore our showrooms throughout the US and Canada to see our products firsthand or save time and energy by talking to a window expert in-person or online, where a Pella professional will walk you through your window replacement options. 

Schedule a free consultation to find windows and doors for your home.