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Window Replacement Plan, Part 2: New Construction Windows vs Replacement Windows


on June 3, 2020


What’s in a name? It’s the age-old question that reminds us that what we call something can influence the way we think about it. For example, homeowners looking to replace their windows with Pella products can easily get hung up on the difference between “new construction” windows and “replacement” windows.

In this installment of our Window Replacement Plan series (you can check out Part 1 here), we break down the major differences between these two types of windows and  walk through different scenarios to give homeowners a better idea of how to install them.

Understanding the jargon

New construction windows are installed as part of new construction projects and are usually designed differently from replacement windows. Because they’re built to be properly installed directly into a new construction space, these windows typically include a nail flange (or nail fin) that attaches to the new construction where a window frame does not currently exist. While new construction windows can be installed in a remodel project, the project would most likely necessitate a lot more work in removing existing materials to expose the studs. That is where replacement windows come in.

Replacement windows, as the name implies, are meant to replace existing windows in previously-framed spaces. Also known as retrofit windows, these windows are built to allow contractors to add the window without having to tear the existing walls down to the studs or remove any other exterior materials.

Instead, replacement windows are created to fit in a unique,  accurately-measured opening and use the existing frame. Only the window itself is replaced. Pella replacement windows can provide the assets of new windows while potentially saving time and money on installation labor for homeowners.

The right window for the right job

Understanding the difference between new construction and replacement windows and making sure those windows match other materials used in your project is critical to your project’s success. Meeting with a qualified window installation professional, such as the ones at your local Pella showroom, can help you address any other questions.

Use these reminders to help determine which type of window is the proper fit for each type of build:

  • New construction windows: Recommended for any project that needs new window framing or tearing the wall down to the studs. This might be a new home build, a new addition to your home or a major remodel.
  • Replacement windows: Recommended for any project where the window frame is not being replaced or is in good condition. If the walls are not being taken down, a replacement window is the right choice for your window needs.
  • Either type of window: Depending on the window frame’s condition, you might be able to use a replacement instead of installing a new construction window. Make sure the window you purchase offers a balance of the features you want at an expense you are comfortable with.

Whether you’re installing or replacing one window or 15, your investment should last for years. Weigh your options and make sure they suit your home project’s needs and goals.

For more information, contact one of the professionals at your local Pella showroom for a free in-home consultation.

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