How Do You Decide If You Should Replace or Retrofit a Window?

Window Replacements Why pay for something not needed? Replacing windows is expensive and time consuming. There are specific reasons that require a total replacement window or when a retrofit window is best. That is why it is important to know exactly what is needed, and why.

Replacement windows, also known as new construction windows, are just that, replacement of the entire window, including the frame. Retrofitted windows remove only the window and leave the framing that is attached to the house itself. To determine which is the best option, a close examination of each window is necessary.

Are Window Damaged?

Check out at all sashes, casings, stiles, stools, aprons and the glass for any rotting material, broken or damage parts and whether the window has any cracks. Look for leaks, particularly beginning at the top, which will damage the window, its frame, and possibly the interior parts of the house surrounding the window. The wood or drywall may rot or decay.

Are Windows Safe and Energy Efficient?

Can the windows be easily locked or unlocked? Are they painted shut? Preventing an intruder from entering through a window is not the only thing to consider in window safety. A window that is easy to open for any family member to be able to exit from in case of an emergency.
Check windows for loss of air. Preventing air from escaping can save the homeowner money for years to come. But simple caulking and re-striping may not solve the problem. However. Lee Wallender, writing for Home Renovations says that replacing “ new windows will not pay for themselves in energy savings.” Single-pane windows are also less energy efficient than windows manufactured in recent years.

Which Option to Choose?

After a close examination of the windows, what is the best option, replacement or retrofit? Price-wise, retrofit is the best option. It is less labor intensive and takes less time. Only the window is replaced, leaving the frame intact. However, the view from the window may be decreased. If the view is important, a retrofit is not be the best option. Also, some of the wood surrounding the window may have to be removed or the stucco chipped. Retrofitting may also have to meet new building codes that were not in place when the house was first built, according to Consumer Reports.

For windows that are extensively damaged and involve interior parts of the house or needs to be re-sized, then a replacement is the only option. If the historical or architectural integrity is important, then a replacement is the best option. The homeowner can decide which option is the best after a close examination of the window. Attractive windows add value to a house. Well-maintained windows in will save the homeowner money in by reducing energy loss. Regardless of replacement or retrofit, windows will need to be replaced at some time.

Related Resource: Fiberglass Windows