New Construction Windows vs. Retrofit Windows

Ashley Christensen
February 27, 2023

Everyone loves their windows and all the natural light they allow in until they no longer are clear and allow for you to have a clear view outside. When your windows are no longer serving their purpose, you might begin to look into cheap window replacement to rectify the issue as soon as possible. When looking into replacing your windows, you may discover the term “retrofit” windows and not understand what exactly retrofit windows are and if they are a viable or even a cheap window replacement option for you. 

What are Retrofit Windows? 

A retrofit window, also known as a replacement window, is the process of installing new, energy-efficient, insulated glass into an existing window frame. During this process, the surrounding framing, drywall, siding, or trim are not disturbed. The one downside to retrofit windows is that they must fit into an existing hole, whereas new construction windows can be ordered in any size.

One of the biggest advantages of retrofitting windows over new construction windows is that the installation process is straightforward. To ensure that retrofit windows fit, they have a component around their perimeter that allows them to fit over the existing window frame. Even if the existing frame has warped over time, or is not flush with the wall, the installation process will require less work compared to the installation of new construction windows. 

When to Use Retrofit Windows

Aside from the fact that retrofit windows are quick and easy to install into an existing opening, there are more reasons why they are often the better window replacement option. 

  • Existing Window Frames in Good Condition: If the existing window frames are in good condition, and you have no plans to change the size, a retrofit window is a good option. Going the route of retrofit windows rather than new construction windows will not only save you time but is a cheap window replacement option that won’t break the bank. 
  • Low-Cost Energy Efficiency Improvements: an easy, and affordable way to improve your home's energy efficiency without having to undertake a large construction project. This is especially true for windows that may be drafty, leaking, or rattle; instead of labor-intensive alternatives, consider a retrofit window to solve the problem instead. 
  • Quick, Non-Invasive: Another instance in which a retrofit window makes the most sense, is when homeowners are looking for a cheap window replacement option that is quick and easy to achieve. 

When to Use New Construction Windows

There will be instances where a retrofit window is not an option, and you’ll need to invest in a new construction window. Some of these situations include:

  • Remodeling, Renovation, and New Home Projects: in the event of a major home remodel or renovation, where new rooms are being added to a home, you’ll have no choice but to invest in new construction windows, as there are no existing ones to replace. Likewise, when a home is first built, they require new construction windows, hence the name. 
  • Installing Larger or Different-Shaped Windows: Another instance that will require new construction windows is in the event that homeowners want to enlarge an existing window to provide more natural lighting. In this instance, a new construction window will be required, as a retrofit will no longer fit within the hole. 
  • Damaged Window Frames: If the framing surrounding your window has been exposed to water or insects and has been damaged, you might not have a choice but to replace your window with a new construction window. Additionally, if the wood has significant warping due to excess moisture and temperature changes, you won’t be able to go with a cheap window replacement option, instead, you’ll have to invest in a new construction window. 

Whether you are in the market for new construction windows, or a cheap window replacement with the cheaper option of retrofit windows, Gordon’s Glass does it all! Not sure what option is right for you, or will fit within your budget, schedule your free in-home estimate today! 

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