Everything to Know About Windows Installation Options in Calgary

On August 16, 2019 by Himanshu Shah

Interior

Windows Installation in Calgary

Your guide to understanding the difference between full-frame replacement and retrofit replacement windows

Are your windows outdated, leaking, inefficient, or worn down from years of use? If so you may be on the fast track to needing new windows Calgary to improve the look and performance of your home.

When it comes to buying and installing new windows, Calgary homeowners have a broad range of options to choose from, with decisions needing to be made about budget, size, shape, colour, and style.

One lesser-discussed aspect of window installation is full-frame replacement vs retrofit replacement windows, leaving many homeowners confused about these options and which may be best for their unique situation, needs and budget.

This guide, prepared by our friends at Window Mart, is meant to help shed light on these two commonly misunderstood installation installations. Choosing the right option can mean the difference between a highly functional, energy-efficient and reliable installation, and one that performs poorly or needs replacement over time.

What is A Retrofit Window Replacement?

A retrofit is also known as an “insert” window replacement. This is the cheaper of the two options we’ll discuss in this guide, making them an often ideal solution for those homeowners on a budget. This style also is sought after by those who wish to maintain and preserve both the interior and exterior look and feel of their home.

Once the old window has been removed, the process for a retrofit window installation involves new window units being installed (inserted) into an already existing frame. Because the installation takes advantage of an already pre-built frame, it is less labour intensive, faster, and requires less material. All of which makes it more affordable.

However, this type of installation does not take into account the condition of the existing frame, casings, brick moulds, jam extensions and other aspects of the opening. Because of this, a retrofit installation is less ideal for older homes or those that may have any underlying cracks, rot or damage around or to the frame itself.

Benefits:

  • Cost-effective and cheaper than alternatives
  • Less invasive
  • Maintains existing interior and exterior trim and moulding
  • Fast installations

Cons:

  • Only a good fit if the existing frames are in good condition
  • Does not upgrade other elements of the frame or casings
  • Preserves current design

What is a Full Frame Replacement?

A full-frame replacement, also sometimes referred to as a complete window replacement involves the removal of existing windows right down to the studs, with a new frame and window being installed in its place. According to Consumer Reports, those frames which are worn, rotted or may have sustained damage such as warping are the best fit for a full-frame replacement.

This option is the costlier installation and requires the replacement and updating of the window frame itself, jamb extensions, casings and hardware. With the original frame torn down to the studs or brick, the rough opening is re-framed out to fit the new replacement window perfectly.

This type of installation generally lasts longer, given that both the window and underlying and associated materials are all replaced with new components.

Benefits:

  • More options with regards to style and designs
  • Inspection of underlying materials for water damage and rot
  • Replacement of frame, casings and more
  • New frame made to match up perfectly with the new window
  • Improved energy efficiency and insulation
  • Generally lasts longer than retrofit installations

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • More intrusive
  • Requires the removal and updating of window trim inside and outside the home

Which Option is Best for Calgary Residents?

The option best suitable for your particular circumstance will depend on several factors. We suggest you ask yourself the following questions and rate each in terms of importance to you and your family:

  1. Do I want to change the style or type of window or replace the existing window with a similar type/model?
  1. Is superior insulation and energy efficiency important, or are you having any issues with drafts or temperature control?
  1. Is affordability, or budget, more important than superior build quality?
  1. Do you wish to reuse your existing moulding and trim or are you open to replacing them?
  1. Is there a chance that the underlying frame and casings may be worn, rotted or damaged?

The answers to these questions will help point you in the direction of the right option for your home. However, the team at Window Mart always suggests consulting with a qualified windows specialist who can best advise you on the options most suitable for your particular needs.

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