Part I: New Construction Windows

When considering replacing your windows, there are many decisions to make, but one of the first ones you’ll come across is the decision of whether to purchase what are often known as “New Construction Windows” also known as “Full Frame Replacement Windows” or “Replacement Windows” also known as “Insert Replacement Windows”.

While most customers will inevitably opt to and find a customer who specialises in window repair, there is also the option of using us to provide you with new windows.

Visit any home center window section and you’ll see hundreds of different windows in many different styles and configurations. The choices can be bewildering.

New Construction Windows

As the name implies, New Construction Windows are mainly manufactured for new homes and are best ordered before the house is even built and the window openings are framed.

Stock Sizes. New construction windows come in many “stock” sizes. This means you can find the window you want, in the style you want, with the options you want, in any standard size the manufacturer makes. Then, you build your home and you frame out the window opening for the size window you ordered.

Installation Considerations

Cutting siding for replacement window installationNew Construction Windows are best installed before the house siding is goes on. This is because New Construction Windows come with what’s known as a “nailing flange”. The windows are installed from outside the house and the flange keeps the window from falling into the house and is nailed on from the outside, through the sheathing and into the rough framing around the window. Then, in the best installations, an ice and water shield is applied over the nailing flange and onto the sheathing. The house wrap is then installed over the ice and water shield and nailing flange up to the window frame. Then, if the siding application calls for it, foam insulation is added to the house and finally, the siding is installed up to and around the window.

Removing the Old Window

removing old house windowIf you are installing New Construction Windows in a house that already has windows in it, the installer must remove the siding, then the insulation (if it exists), then remove any ice and water shield (if applicable) and cut back the house wrap, before he even gets to the window. Then, he’ll remove the nails that hold the existing window in place through the nailing flange, cut out any caulk or sealant and remove the existing window.

In preparation for installing your new window, the installer then adjust the window opening framing to return it to square and slide the new window in from the outside. Then, he will plumb and level the new window in the opening, nail it to the framing, install the ice and water shield, replace the house wrap, and replace or repair the old siding.

Sizing Your New Window

Since it is unlikely that you will find a New Construction Window in the exact size and shape of your existing window, you will likely have to adjust the existing opening to fit the stock size of the New Construction Window you ordered.

Enlarging the Window Opening

If the new window you purchased is larger than the window it is replacing, the installer will have to come inside and remove the existing window trim and cut out the old framing and wallboard, sheathing, etc. to make room for the new window. Then, he will have to re-frame the window opening to the correct size with new studs, sheathing and wallboard before installing the window.

Reducing the Window Opening

Alternatively, if you purchased a new window that is smaller in either or both of the dimensions than the existing window, the installer will have to add framing to the existing opening, making your window opening smaller, which will reduce the natural light and views into your home.

Then, after the window is installed from the outside, new house wrap or tar paper, insulation and sheathing will have to be replaced. Inside, new wallboard will have to be installed with all the taping, spackling, sanding and painting that requires, before finally installing new trim on the inside and then staining, painting and/or wallpapering to match the existing finishes.

Siding Considerations

One of the issues with removing and reinstalling siding, particularly if you have to replace or add to it, is getting the color to match. If you have vinyl siding, it will likely have faded somewhat since it was installed and new vinyl siding may not match perfectly. If you have wood trim, the solution is somewhat simpler, but often requires painting of the whole house to get an exact paint match. If you have stone or stucco siding, the matching issues are compounded.

Next Up … Part II: Insert Replacement Windows

For the reasons mentioned above, the preferred method of replacing the windows in your home is often Replacement Windows, also known as Insert Replacement Windows, which we will discuss in our next post.

To learn more about how Renewal by Andersen of Long Island can help advise you on your window replacement options, give us a call at 1-877-313-9052.  We’ll be happy to help!