New Construction Windows & Replacement Windows Comparison

Wondering what differentiates new construction and replacement windows from each other? Essentially, a new construction window, one installed during the building of a new home, is designed to be installed during the build-out. New construction windows are placed in the wall after the sheathing, but before exterior siding, brick or shingles. The construction crew builds out the “rough opening” for the specified window during the framing of the building and then the windows are fit into that opening and shimmed to fit in place. By necessity, these openings are “rough”.

Replacement windows, on the other hand, use the opening left by the existing window and then are manufactured to exact specifications to fit that opening. Renewal by Andersen of Long Island replacement windows are custom-built to precisely fit the opening left when existing windows are removed.

If you placed a new construction window beside a replacement window of equal size and shape the only noticeable difference would be a narrow flange surrounding the new construction window called a nail flange or nail fin. This trim is used to secure the window to the building envelope in preparation for the exterior finishing wall.

There are other differences, although they aren’t easily seen when just looking at the two window units standing side-by-side.

Replacement Windows vs New Construction Windows

Some people believe that new construction windows tend to be cheaper because manufacturers consider the cost to contractors who may buy hundreds or thousands of windows over the course of a year. Cheaper isn’t necessarily a good thing for homeowners. Remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” High-quality replacement windows that are custom-built to perform beautifully for decades will naturally cost a little more than a low-budget window designed to seal the home for sale.

Beyond the price, there are some other similarities and differences.

#1. Unlike new construction windows that are built to standard sizes and shapes, and positioned anywhere on the wall during a ground-up project, replacement windows are designed to replace existing home windows without excessive construction costs.

#2. Replacement windows and new construction windows come is many styles. You can find casement windows, sliding windows, fixed windows, geometric shaped windows, awnings, hoppers, double-hung windows and dozens of other styles on the market.

#3. Most new construction windows come in wood or vinyl frames. Modern, Energy Star certified replacement windows may be made with composites, such as Fibrex, aluminum clad, vinyl, metal or wood. We recommend Fibrex because it has the strength and durability of wood, and is lightweight like vinyl, and also very low maintenance – the best of both materials, plus some extras, joined together to create long-lasting beauty and performance in a single profile.

Which Window is Best for Your Long Island Home?

Unless you plan to install your own windows (not recommended for the average homeowner) or want to relocate or add new windows to your home, buying replacement windows from a trusted local brand is probably a better idea than buying new construction windows off-the-shelf. For one thing, a brand that provides installation (rather than having to hire your own contractor who has no connection to the manufacturer) eliminates the hassles of vetting contractors, getting references and worst case scenario, having to track down the contractor if something goes wrong and needs repair. It is worth noting that a poor installation can cost homeowners thousands of dollars. Exercise caution should you decide to high a private contractor.

Like most major investments, learning as much as you can about installing replacement windows vs new construction windows, is a wise choice before making a purchase. Not every new construction window is cheap and flimsy, and not every replacement window is high-quality.

We invite you to learn more about Renewal by Andersen of Long Island replacement windows today. To get started, simply fill in the short form on this page or dial 1-877-313-9025 to schedule a private, in-home consultation.


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  • The Difference Between Replacement and New Construction Windows!
  • The Different Kinds of Frame Materials and What That Means to Your Windows’ Performance and Longevity!
  • How the Right Glass Can Save You Money on Your Heating & Cooling Bills!
  • The Critical Role Proper Installation Plays in the Performance, Durability and Warranty of Your New Replacement Windows!
  • What Features and Options are Important to You and What Role They Play in Your Ultimate Satisfaction Today, and for as Long As You Live in Your Home!
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