Retrofit windows are a more affordable way to replace existing single pane or old double pane windows than what’s known as “new construction.” New construction involves putting a brand new frame of any size and building the siding and support around it. This opens the door for creating windows of new sizes, or obtaining the built-in look that many people prefer for their properties.
But it can be expensive, because there is a lot more construction work. To help save money, many people choose retrofit windows, also known as “replacement windows.” Replacement windows are as much as 25 to 30% less expensive. Interestingly, the windows themselves are actually more expensive, but the total labor and materials costs are significantly more affordable which helps save the homeowner money. That is why most homes these days use retrofit, especially when replacing all the windows.
Most of the time, the choice between retrofit and new construction is related to budget and personal preference. But there are situations where retrofit windows are not considered ideal for the project. For example:
- Existing Window is Leaking Air – Retrofit windows fit into an existing frame. But if the frame is already leaking air, then this new window is unlikely to make any difference. A new frame would be needed to stop leaks, which requires new construction.
- Retrofit Can Shrink the Window – Because retrofit windows are built into the frame, they have a tendency to reduce the total glass surface area. On large windows, that reduction is not always a problem, as it may not be noticeable. But on small windows, reducing the total surface area can make the window appear too tiny.
- Retrofit Sliding Glass Doors Create a Step – Sliding glass doors may not technically be considered “windows” but they are often purchased with windows and from window companies, often using the same installation methods. However, when you retrofit a sliding glass door, the bottom of the door is often higher than it was previously. This creates a “step” that people have to watch for in order not to trip over door.
- Can’t Resize – When you’re faced with a situation where you absolutely need to resize a window, that is not possible with retrofit. New construction is the only option in those cases, whether you’re making the window smaller or larger.
- Siding or Paint Challenges – New construction requires new siding or new paint. While this increases the cost, most of the time this is a minor part of the project. But there are situations where the siding or paint is more difficult to replace, and homeowners want to avoid creating any new problems. Keep in mind that Christian Construction is also a painting and siding company, so we can help provide feedback about siding or paint related issues – and solve them.
These are some of the issues that can affect retrofit windows, and why new construction may not just be a preference, but a necessity for the project. But retrofit is also more affordable, looks great, provides outstanding energy efficiency, and can be installed in less time.
At Christian Construction, we are happy to talk to you about these different options and find the choice that makes the most sense for your needs. We can help you decide whether retrofit or new construction is the best choice, and provide you with a very competitive quote for our services.