When it comes to modifying the windows in your home, you essentially have two choices: full window replacement or retrofitting your existing windows. As with anything, each option comes with pros and cons, and the right option for someone else’s home might not be the right choice for your home. Before you start approaching window companies for consultations and quotes, it’s first a good idea to educate yourself on the options you have available to you and during this article we’re going to help that process by explaining the difference between a full window replacement and a retrofit.
Full Window Replacement and Retrofits: What’s the Difference?
Let’s start by explaining what each option involves. A full window replacement is exactly that. The old window in its entirety is removed and disposed of, including the frames, before the replacement is then installed. The key difference between this option and a retrofit is that during a retrofit, the window frame isn’t removed; it’s left where it is and the new windows are installed onto that frame.
But Which is the Best Option?
As we’ve already touched upon, the answer to this question will depend upon your specific circumstances. Nevertheless, it is very useful to compare the pros and cons between the two options, which are as follows:
Full Window Replacement
- Customised Appearance – Window frames obviously have a significant impact upon the windows as a whole, so because they’re also replaced during a full window replacement, you have more control over the cosmetic impact the project has on your property.
- Greater Energy Efficiency – The condition of the frames and the material they’re constructed from (many older window frames are made from wood) can have a big impact upon air leakage rates and energy efficiency. A full window replacement is therefore likely to offer greater savings in the long run than a retrofit.
- Quicker Installation – A full window replacement is much more labour intensive as the frames are firmly embedded into your property’s core structure. With a retrofit, as the frames aren’t touched, window companies can complete the task much quicker, which is much more convenient for you as the homeowner.
- Lower Cost – The one big advantage a retrofit has over a full replacement is that it’s often considerably cheaper. This is because not only are fewer materials required, but, as we just pointed out, as a process it’s a lot less labour intensive. But we would also advise you to take the long term financial implications into account too – ongoing energy costs will typically be higher with a retrofit.
- No Damage to Property – As you can imagine, when removing the window frames, it’s almost impossible to not damage the surrounding area slightly (the surrounding siding and trim usually has to be repaired after the installation is completed), but this isn’t an issue with a retrofit. There’s no damage done to the surrounding area whatsoever, which is why it’s quicker and cheaper.
Still not sure which option is right for your home? Give Superior Home Improvements a call. We’ve been proudly serving the communities of Toronto, Richmond Hill, Markham and Durham for over 30 years and would be delighted to assist you with anything window related.