Replacement Windows Vs New Construction Windows

Residential window, replacement window vs. new window – Nothing beats new windows – small differences, same big benefits
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Whether you are building a new home or boosting your curb appeal with some long-awaited home improvement projects, we invite you to explore your options by browsing through our new construction windows and replacement windows sections. We know this is an important decision for you and your home, so Milgard is here to help every step of the way. If you're not sure where to start, our free window selection guide provides the important information you need to make an informed decision.

Understanding Your Window Options:

First, it's important to determine the difference between replacement windows and new construction windows in order to know which will work best for your home.

New construction windows are used when a brand new home or a new addition to a home is being built. Since the studs of the home are exposed the window can be installed directly on to the frame by use of a nail fin frame, which means it is nailed into the framing of the home. Milgard custom designs each window to your homes exact specifications, which means your architect or contractor can be very creative in the sizing and shape of your windows.

New construction windows can also be used for a home remodel project, this requires your contractor to remove the exterior materials around the window in order to expose the studs of the home to install the window. As you can see using a new construction window for a remodel project is possible but is a more involved process for your contractor to ensure the exact match of exterior materials. New construction windows are a good option if you think the studs and frame of the window should be replaced because of damage, or if you are planning on replacing the exterior of your home such as new siding or stucco.

Alternatively, replacement windows are an excellent option for a quick home improvement project when there are budget or time constraints. Replacement windows (also referred to as retrofit windows) have been developed so a contractor does not have to remove the exterior materials of the home in order to install the window; they are measured to fit in an existing window opening and will only replace the actual window itself. This saves time and labor costs with all the benefits of new windows.

There are two main types of replacement windows:

Flush Fin (also called Z-bar)

Typically used in California and other markets where aluminum windows are in place and the exterior is stucco or masonry. These windows have a large exterior flange that is designed to conceal the existing window's frame.

Block Frame

Mainly found in markets where wood windows are in place and the exterior is siding or brick. The original wood perimeter frame is left in place and must be in good condition.

When you decide what type of window is best for your home, your contractor will want to ensure that there's been no damage to the studs, and that there is proper insulation in place.

What to Consider For New Construction and Replacement/Retrofit Windows

Energy Performance Ratings

NFRC Label

For either new construction or retrofit windows, be sure to look for certain features that differentiate between high and low-quality windows. Some key elements to look for include:

  • The NFRC Label: National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a non-profit organization that administers the only independent rating and labeling system for the energy performance of windows, doors, skylights and attachment products.
  • Metal lock components that fit together well—stainless steel is recommended because it's highly durable and doesn't rust.
  • Matching colors on all components to enhance aesthetics.
  • Heat-welded joints, as opposed to the window sash and frame being mechanically fastened and held together by screws, brackets and caulk.

Both retrofit windows and new construction windows have specific advantages designed for different installation methods. If you're planning a window replacement or new construction project, let Milgard help you create your dream home. Explore your new construction window options or click here to learn more about retrofit and replacement windows.

We welcome you to experience the quality Milgard difference for years to come. And, thank you in advance for inviting us into your home!


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