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Replacement Windows Vs New Construction Windows: How You Should Choose? | Oahu, HI

Replacement Windows Vs New Construction Windows: How You Should Choose? | Oahu, HI

When shopping for new windows, there are a lot of things you need to consider. Yet, there is one factor that stands out among the others. The question of replacement versus new construction windows has left many homeowners confused and sometimes in a financial predicament. Using the wrong window can lead to expensive repairs and huge energy loss. According to the Department of Energy, 30% of home heating and cooling energy use is lost through inefficient windows.

Below you will learn about the major difference between the two types of windows and the pros and cons of each. You’ll also find information to help you choose the right option for your home.

What Is the Difference?

Generally, new construction windows are used when a new home is built. They are also used in home additions and remodeling. Replacement, or retrofit, windows are placed into an existing window. The two types of windows have a similar appearance, but the main difference lies in their installation.

New construction windows have a nailing flange or fin that allows them to be nailed directly to a house’s frame. Replacement windows do not have that fin and fit into an existing frame. A contractor simply removes the old window and drops in the new one.

Comparing the Pros and Cons

Choosing between replacement or construction windows comes down to your specific needs. You will find a comparison based on some factors you’ll need to consider.


When installing new construction windows, a contractor must expose the frame and insulation and remove the trim. They may also have cut back on the siding if the opening is not large enough. After the window is installed, there will be cleanup and finishing, making the installation much longer.

Replacement windows, however, do not require all that disruption. Installation is pretty straightforward and can be done in a minimum amount of time.

How to choose: If you need a new window as fast as possible, you should opt for a retrofit.


There is no big difference in costs between the two windows. It all depends on the quality you are looking for. Some say new construction windows are cheaper because they are usually manufactured in bulk. Replacement windows could cost more as they sometimes have to be custom-made to fit into an existing frame. The real difference lies in the installation costs. Installing new construction windows costs significantly more.

How to choose: Replacement windows are good if you are on a budget.

Design Options

Because replacement windows are put into an already existing window, you can’t make big style changes. These windows are unsuitable if you want larger ones, are doing a remodel, or want to improve your home’s aesthetics. But they work well with traditional homes or where you want to leave the house’s exterior intact.

With new construction windows, you have much more options available. You can make the window taller or wider and fit your new home design. Nevertheless, the installation can affect the exterior, and you may need to do a more extensive renovation to ensure the window blends smoothly into the rest of the home.

How to choose: This depends on what you want to achieve.


As said before, new windows are primarily used to build a new house and remodel. There are times, however, when a new construction window should be used instead of a retrofit window. New construction windows allow for a secure fit if the old window is in bad condition or the wall needs to be repaired.

Replacement windows shouldn’t be used in remodels or where there is extensive damage. Instead, use them instead of an existing window if the wall has to remain intact.

How to choose: You will need to hire a window expert who can help you determine if there is any serious damage. Based on that, you will then be able to choose the right windows.


You should hire a reputable company to ensure that the windows are installed correctly and will last as long as possible. Still, obtaining replacement windows that fit nicely is not always possible. The technician will have to make adjustments to ensure they are airtight. It won’t last as long if the window is installed in an old, worn-out frame.

How to choose: New construction windows are the winner here.


No matter which window you’ll eventually choose, it would help if you bought energy-efficient models with ENERGY STAR and NFRC labels.

Energy loss through windows is caused by leaks and gaps around them and poor insulation. Because replacement windows are put into an existing frame, you won’t be able to fix those issues.

So, even if you buy a window with an excellent rating, if those leaks aren’t sealed, you won’t realize any actual energy savings. On the other hand, new construction windows allow the technician to fill those gaps, improve the insulation and ensure a tight fit.

How to choose: New construction windows are the only real solution if you are dealing with seriously leaky windows.

Searching for a Window Company? Look for Sunburst Windows

Here at Sunburst Windows, we place great value on providing our customers with only the best products and services. We install windows from top-rated brands and offer great warranties. If you are looking for energy-efficient doors and windows, call us today.

Final Thoughts

How you answer the replacement question versus new construction will depend on your situation. Replacement windows are a good choice if you need to replace one damaged window, are on a budget, and do not want to make big changes to your home.

You will most likely need new construction windows for your remodeling project, house addition, and where there is extensive damage. If you are still unsure of what is best for you, get the help of a trusted window consultant at Sunburst Windows

See our recent blog on this topic here.

Photo By denisik11 at istock


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