What is the difference between a replacement window and a new construction window? Not much and a lot at the same time. Confused? Yep, most people are. The easiest and most basic way we describe the difference to someone is this. A new construction window is typically used when you are building a home or addition from the ground up, whereas a replacement window is used when you already have a building with existing windows and those windows will be replaced with new ones.
A nailing fin is used on new construction windows and is attached to the perimeter of the window frame and extends approximately 1 ¾” to 2” off of the frame. The fin is designed to be nailed to the exterior sheathing of a framed building thus holding the window in place and is typically done from outside the building. Water barrier products such as tape may then be applied over the fin creating a shield against water penetration to the exterior frame of the window. Finally, the exterior material is put over the fin and tape, such as insulation boards, vinyl siding, stucco, wood or any other exterior finish being used. The window can then be finished from the inside.
Replacement windows won’t have the nailing fin. During a replacement installation the fin cannot be used (unless you intend on ripping off the exterior of the building completely), therefore, during replacement installations the window is mounted inside the existing window frame and then sealed or waterproofed to the exterior of the frame. Most replacement installs can be done from inside the home eliminating the need for ladders or scaffolding. It’s a fast and effective method of replacing a window without damaging the exterior of the home or incurring costly modifications to the home.
The windows themselves may be identical in material, color, features, designs, options, energy performance and so on. The install method is really what makes the difference.
Let us be the ones to install your new windows. Call us at 201-858-1511 to discuss your options!